MCH recently welcomed seven students from UW-Milwaukee on to our campus as part of their introduction to aging course, “Aged to Perfection: Engaging Older Adults in Teaching Undergraduate Students.” Over the course of the spring semester, the students led five intentional, meaningful and loosely scripted discussions with their older adult partners as part of the class curriculum.
The goal of the project was for the students to understand the aging process in a more personal way as well as to create an intergenerational experience that would hopefully combat and dispel myths and stereotypes regarding older adults and the aging process.
Topics for the “guided autobiography” questions included bodily health, life transitions, career, family, and spiritual life and values.
Bob Regner, an MCH resident participant, appreciated his time with his student partner. “We enjoyed being with each other and really looked forward to it,” he said. “It reinforced her interest in the occupational therapy profession. She’s a natural!”
One student felt moved to write a letter of thanks to his older adult partner. “I learned so much from you,” he wrote. “I learned the importance of spirituality in someone’s life, the aging process, and a lot about coming of age. You have given me so much great advice and I am so thankful to have heard so many of your stories.”