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Additionally, students will complete a series of reflection papers which will be counted as one of the course’ major assignments. Students will also complete several short surveys to assess the impact of this project on their knowledge, values and skills.1

Project Goals and Desired Competencies

Students will increase their level of knowledge of older adults as a group, including awareness of the aging process, the wide range of functioning levels within the older adult population and policy issues related to older adults as a group.

Students will develop skills to establish rapport with older adults based on the individual functioning level of the older adult.

Students will choose activities for their older adult partners that are cognitively and socially appropriate for the older adult's physical/social/emotional status.

The ultimate outcomes are for students to feel knowledgeable and comfortable working with older adults as measured by choosing aging-focused field placements and eventually choosing to work with older adults as a career choice.

Project Requirements

1.

Complete the “pre-survey” on older adults.

2.

Design an Interactive Project.

Each student will design a project to complete with an individual older adult, a couple, a small group of older adults or a larger group – including the date of the anticipated first visit. While observations of older adults may be a part of the project, the goal is for the student to get to know and interact with their older adult partner(s) over a minimum of 3 one-hour interactions. The rationale for this is that as one gets to know people who are strangers or different from themselves, stereotypes and attitudes change in a positive direction.

o

The course instructor will provide feedback on project design and give final approval.

o

Students are expected to be creative2 in finding access to older adults, but community resources will be provided if needed.

Examples of interactions:

Conversations with an older adult

General life story – suggested questions:

o

What are some of the most significant accomplishments in your life?

1  This project is being funded by a grant from the Gero-Ed Center of the Council on Social Work Education. Data reported as part of the grant requirements will be reported without individual student identification. Students will complete surveys anonymously.

2  Think past your ideas about who constitutes the “older adult” group. For example, there are many professors at Loyola who are past 55 years old – even past 65 years old - who are active and very vibrant!

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