Community Service Learning Projects
During the academic year the Department of Geriatrics collaborates with the Division for Student Affairs to provide medical students with the opportunity to provide community services to senior independent living facilities in the Tallahassee area.
Students work together to provide patient education on the topic of the month. Presentation formats may include a slide show, Jeopardy game, skits, etc. Presentations are 15-20 minutes followed by a question and answer period. Examples of presentation topics include: gait assessment (Get up and Go), vision screening, fall prevention, Osteoporosis, and stoke.
Post presentation students work in the common areas of the facilities on activities that include:
- Blood pressure measurement
- Interview of patient experience with the condition (for example "living with diabetes"
- Screenings relevant to disease topic (ex. "Get-up and Go" assessment and home safety discussions at falls presentation)
Beyond providing a service to the community, the goal for the service learning projects for students is to:
- increase students' knowledge base and positive perceptions concerning the treatment of older adults
- create interactive social learning activities for students with older adults in the community
- increase student contact with older adults in non-medical settings
- provide positive examples of active aging and living independently
- enhance development of students' communication and examination skills
Department of Geriatrics Receives Service Award from the Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF)
The 2010 Rex Chapman Award was presented to the Department of Geriatrics for its service to Lake Ella Manor, a 73 unit apartment building which opened in Tallahassee, Florida in 1985.
The Department of Geriatrics spearheaded the medical school's volunteer work at Lake Ella Manor. The medical students' initial volunteer service started as a mentoring program with the residents serving as mentors for the students and developing intergenerational friendships. As a result, the student organizations asked to provide various social and educational programs at Lake Ella Manor. One of the most popular events among the seniors has been the annual picnic where they socialize with medical students and faculty as well as other seniors in the community. Students have also volunteered time for Bingo nights, monthly birthday parties for residents and patient education activities that include a variety of topics.
The student Geriatrics Interest Group (GIG) hosts an annual fall barbecue. This event is planned by about 10 students with support from 6 geriatrics department faculty and staff. It is attended by 80-100 first and second year students and 50-60 older adults. Senior attendees include residents from a low income independent living facility and the senior mentors program. Admission is free to seniors and expenses are covered by the Reynolds grant and departmental support.
Activities include intergenerational dining, games, and prizes for seniors. Students are offered an opportunity to submit a reflection paper describing insights gained from interacting with a senior person engaged in recreational activities. The reflection addresses what skills (psychological, social and physical abilities) relating to successful aging were observed and what student biases or misconceptions about older adults were identified.