Friday, November 1, 2019
My students are finding really interesting items to share with you. Here are a couple more of them.
Sara Boyko writes about an inter-generational approach to nursing homes
Nursing Home in China has a Kindergarten
(When the Young at Heart and Old Souls Cross Paths)
A nursing home in China made news recently due to some unconventional approaches to recreational activity. The nursing home boasts a kindergarten class where the children shoot ping pong balls at the nursing home employees while gray-haired onlookers enjoy some much-deserved comedic relief. There are two positive benefits to mixing the old souls with the young at heart: first, that exposure to the elderly by young children can help to break down stereotypes about what it means to be ‘old’; and second, that when elderly populations stop seeing themselves as a stereotype of an elderly person, it actually has positive health and cognitive benefits.
Everyone ages in different ways and at different rates. It is a very individualized journey for each person. When young children are exposed to the elderly who are in different stages of aging, it helps to reinforce this notion. However, while researching the topic of stereotypes of the elderly, I came across a startling article in the Journal of Geriatrics. When older adults start to see themselves fit into the stereotype of an elderly person, it actually makes them feel older. This, in turn, affects their health. For example, when an elderly person is exposed to a stereotype threat in an empirical setting, it has negative effects on their memory performance. The same has been shown for math performance.
On the flip side of that coin, viewing one’s self as young and vibrant can have the opposite effect. This is why mixing together kindergartners and the elderly can have such a strong and lasting impact for all people involved. Those nursing home residents can get a break from their routine of medications and small-talk, to a genuinely engaging afternoon pastime of watching children frolic about. The children will, in turn, no longer view the elderly as a homogeneous group of declining adults and eventually come to view these residents as individuals in various stages of development.
So what do you think? Should more nursing facilities mix age groups in this way?
Peyton Marshall alerts us to a new project regarding caregivers:
Kaiser Health News published an article called “Drumbeat Builds for a Peace Corps of Caregivers”. The need for caregivers is expected to grow substantially, as “those age 85 and up, who tend to have multiple chronic illness and difficulty performing daily tasks—are set to swell to 14.6 million in 2040, up from more than 6 million now.” While the job market for caregivers is expected to grow, the job of a caregiver is difficult and low paying, and the profession has a high turnover rate.
Therefore, four organizations—Oasis Institute, the Caregiver Action Network, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and the Altarum Institute—have partnered together to remedy the problem of shortage of caregivers and caregiving services. These organizations have created the Care Corps Project. The goal of the Care Corps Project is “to discover innovative, effective programs that offer services to diverse communities (geographic, racial and ethnic) and that can be replicated in multiple locations.” The Care Corps Project recently received an initial grant of 3.8 million dollars (total funding expected to be 19 million for a five-year period). While this initial grant is small in comparison to the need, it is the step in the right direction, which hopefully will spur more investment in the Care Corps.
The Care Corps project (this Fall) will be looking for organizations to submit proposals “to serve ‘non-medical’ needs of older adults and younger adults with disabilities.” The goal is that the proposals will provide details such as the specific service the organization wants to offer, the number of volunteers, and its sustainability and transferability to other regions. Then, in the spring, organizations, whose proposals were selected, will receive a grant to implement their proposal. Therefore, this program can have the potential to increase quality of life for elders throughout the country. If your organization has an innovative solution for caregiving, it is time to start writing your proposal.