Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2019

Older Adults

Learning Never Stops: Developing a Speakers Bureau for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities

Student Interns:
Benjamin Cote, Drexel University College of Medicine
Karen Xiao, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Vincent Zarro, MD, PhD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Lori Walsh, Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE)

Community Site: 
The Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the well-being, rights and autonomy of older adults by educating seniors, advocating for their rights and needs, and taking the necessary action to make change. The organization serves to promote equal access to justice and works to address issues on both individual and systemic levels. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Healthcare; Educational Advancement/Literacy; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Preparedness.

Project: 
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked primarily in the LTC Ombudsman Program at CARIE to develop a series of speakers bureau presentations directed toward residents of long-term care facilities on topics such as bullying, victim’s rights and common scams aimed at older adults. The ombudsman will use these presentations to educate residents on an as-needed basis. As part of the project, the interns met with resident representatives at various local care facilities to gather a diverse range of perspectives on the topics and then refined the presentations through a focus group of Inglis House residents.

Intern Statements: 
Benjamin Cote: “Working with CARIE over the summer has been an incredibly invaluable experience, and one that I won’t soon forget. Older adults were not a population that I had extensive exposure to before this opportunity, but after these seven weeks I feel much better acquainted with and equipped to respond to the unique set of challenges affecting this age group. Moving forward in my career as a physician, I will be able to confidently refer older adult patients to resources for Medicare fraud, health insurance questions, the rights of long-term care residents and many others. Understanding the unique needs and challenges of specific patient populations is key to delivering better healthcare, and CARIE has helped me begin to understand this concept for older adults.”

Karen Xiao: “My summer spent at CARIE has been an incredible experience that opened my eyes to the many issues faced by older adults, ranging from Medicare fraud, nursing home discharge rights and more. Working with CARIE was an invaluable opportunity to learn about the multitude of resources and agencies dedicated to assisting older adults that encounter these issues. I’ve even had the pleasure of speaking with different residents at several long-term care facilities in the Philadelphia area to gain further insight and firsthand accounts. Looking ahead, I believe these experiences will allow me to better cater my care plan and approach to the older adult population to meet their unique and diverse needs.”

 

Improving Senior Well-Being Through Interactive Activities

Student Interns:
Julia Crawford, Temple University, School of Nursing
Erin Kennedy, Temple University, Occupational Therapy Program
Brett Nguyen, Temple University, School of Pharmacy
Hannah Sagin, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Providenza Loera Rocco, JD, MSW, MBE, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Community Preceptor: 
Tiara Anderson, Credence Eldercare Services

Community Site: 
Credence Eldercare Services is an adult daycare center community where professional caregivers, friendly people and an engaging setting combine to offer the best care experience possible. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project: 
Credence Eldercare Services has an expansive schedule of activities. The Bridging the Gaps student interns collaborated with Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine to show senior clients human anatomy through virtual reality. The interns worked with their community preceptor to create a Jeopardy game incorporating nutrition, smoking cessation and oral health. The interns also distributed oral health supplies to senior clients and emphasized the importance of oral health for all areas of health. The interns routinely encouraged physical activity through daily chair exercises with senior clients.

Intern Statements:
Julia Crawford: “Credence Eldercare Services allowed me to explore outside of my comfort zone of the pediatric population. I was amazed to see how kind and lively all of the senior clients are. I learned that aging can occur gracefully when you have a positive outlook on life and a supportive community. I look forward to working with senior clients in my future nursing practice.”

Erin Kennedy: “Credence provided me with an amazing opportunity to be a part of their community. Through this, I gained a better understanding of the older adult population beyond the lens of a health perspective. I learned about the strengths of the site itself, the workers, the community and all of the clients, before looking into their needs. I was able to connect at a personal level with these individuals, which in turn has helped me to grow as both a person and a future clinician. There is nothing more valuable than being able to understand a patient as a person first. It was obvious that Credence promoted this value and provided me with the tools to shape the lens through which I view the population as well. It was truly a privilege to have such an opportunity.”

Brett Nguyen: “My time at Credence with Bridging the Gaps has really opened my eyes to the community surrounding Temple and has positively impacted my personal and professional life. Going to school so close to my site, I would pass by almost every day and wonder what was going on in that building. My time there has helped me approach patients in a different way with more empathy and understanding. I can now walk by the center and say hello to the clients and employees, and I will always carry my experience there close to my heart in all my future endeavors.”

Hannah Sagin: “As a medical student, I don’t always get the best view of older adults’ lives. I often see seniors at their sickest — when chronic disease leaves them bedridden, hospitalized and in pain. Spending time at Credence this summer did not change my view that long-term health problems play a huge role in seniors’ lives. My companions at the center talked about their hypertension, diabetes and joint replacements; pharmaceutical commercials played incessantly between the game shows and soap operas on our TV. But I also got to see chronic disease contextualized by a richer picture of people’s lives that included activities, families and communities, and this experience will help me see seniors as empowered individuals whose lives are impacted but not defined by illness.”

 

Journey’s Way: Supporting Mental and Physical Health

Student Intern:
Danielle Carey, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Robert Dustin, MA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 
Meshonea Fox, BA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Karen Rouse, MSW, Journey’s Way
Mark Webber, BS, Journey’s Way

Community Site: 
Journey’s Way is a senior center and part of the aging services department of Intercommunity Action, Inc. Journey’s Way offers programs and resources for those aged 55 and older, designed to enhance the overall well-being of the seniors in the Roxborough-Manayunk community. The center offers mental health and social work counseling as well as programs that promote senior socialization and a healthy lifestyle, including fitness classes; discussion groups; beading, weaving, knitting and crochet classes; and trips around the city. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Nutrition; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project:
At Journey’s Way, the Bridging the Gaps student intern spent time socializing with the seniors daily. She also assisted in distributing produce vouchers to eligible seniors to use at local Philadelphia farmers markets throughout the summer and helped to reorganize the fitness center into a more usable space. On Monday mornings she led a mindfulness meditation class. She also provided blood pressure screenings to the seniors two times a week as well as a discussion session on cardiovascular Health. The intern also helped to set up dental screenings for the seniors and provided them with oral health supplies.

Intern Statement: 
Danielle Carey: “My summer at Journey’s Way has been incredible! Getting the opportunity to get to know so many amazing people and hearing their stories has been extremely impactful. Hearing about the seniors’ current and past struggles has shown me the importance of being an active listener as well as the various challenges people face with aging. Seeing how most of the seniors choose to think positively and continue to enjoy life has been inspiring.”

 

Empowering Seniors to Live Heart-Healthy Lives

Student Interns:
Kaitlyn Barney, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 
John Johnson, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Robert Dustin, MA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 
Meshonea Fox, BA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Helen Rayon, Health and Wellness Coordinator, West Philadelphia Senior Community Center (WPSCC)

Community Site: 
The LCFS West Philadelphia Senior Community Center is a nonprofit organization that serves residents of Philadelphia aged 50 and over by promoting healthy lifestyle choices, providing resources that seniors need, and fostering an environment in which seniors in the community can interact with one another and build lasting relationships. The center hosts educational and recreational activities along with wellness programs for its members. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use.

Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns empowered seniors to take an active role in their health and provided resources to achieve these goals. They distributed food vouchers provided by the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging to be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. To educate the seniors on cardiovascular and oral health, the interns conducted interactive games and facilitated health discussions. Through these activities, the interns were able to engage the seniors and inspire healthy lifestyle choices.

Intern Statements: 
Kaitlyn Barney: “My time working with the seniors and staff at LCFS WPSCC taught me the importance of resilience and the strength of community. The support of the individual members was awe-inspiring, and I will be forever grateful for this experience and the individuals I connected with along the way.”

John Johnson: “I was able to build relationships with a number of the members at the senior center, which was very impactful for me. I was also able to interact with other students in the Philadelphia area from fields of work such as dentistry, social work and veterinary medicine. It was great to see how people from all aspects of healthcare can come together to help the community in such a meaningful way.”

 

Age Is Just a Number: Maintaining Young Hearts Through Exercise and Nutrition

Student Intern:
Christine Palazzolo, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Robert Dustin, MA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 
Meshonea Fox, BA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Sierra Savage, MAHS, Northeast Older Adult Center

Community Site: 
The Northeast Older Adult Center is a community center for active, independent adults. It provides wellness and health programs as well as recreational, educational and cultural opportunities for individuals aged 55 and over. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Heart Disease and Stroke; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project:
The Bridging the Gap student intern at the Northeast Older Adult Center (NEOAC) took part in distributing produce vouchers from Philadelphia’s Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which are redeemable for $20 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables, to members of the center and the outside community. For the Heart Smart poster competition, the intern asked the older adults to reflect on their personal habits and mark up an unhealthy heart with the habits they know are not beneficial for their cardiovascular health and a healthy heart with the positive habits they are actively practicing. The intern had conversations with the older adults about proper dental hygiene and distributed toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and resources on local dentists in the area. Finally, the intern led both a cardiovascular nutrition trivia game with gift card prizes and a blood pressure screening.

Intern Statement: 
Christine Palazzolo: “While initially I could imagine, as a medical student, the ways in which a recreational center could positively impact chronic health, it was a completely different experience to see that impact in action. Many challenges are thrust upon the aging adult, ranging anywhere from the obvious physical limitations to the more subtle emotional and mental setbacks, including the loss of independence and the loss of loved ones. While these factors open the door for many of our aging adults to fall into deterioration and isolation, it also creates the opportunity for alternative stakeholders to rise up, promote and nourish these individuals in the context of their own environment. By providing a place where older adults can come and converse with others of their own age range, the NEOAC is providing its members with the opportunity to stay connected with the world around them and to stay invested in the life they are living.”

 

Feeding Not Just the Body, but the Mind Too

Student Intern:
Melissa States, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Robert Dustin, MA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Meshonea Fox, BA, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Kevin Brown, NAC Manager, People’s Emergency Center

Community Site: 
The People’s Emergency Center began as a shelter directly providing for and accommodating homeless young mothers and their children. As time went on, the program site grew to include more community outreach. It currently functions as a community development corporation (CDC) providing community outreach ventures, including a food cupboard program, uGO (children’s activity organization), environmental services, Action for Early Learning and digital media. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health.

Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern at People’s Emergency Center was tasked with creating educational and interactive programming for children participating in the Eat Café summer meals program, which falls under the USDA Summer Food Service Program. Each week, the intern did a different activity relating to nutrition, health or science with the kids coming into the café to eat lunch. On days when there were no formal activities planned, the intern engaged with the children in the café by playing games with them and speaking to them about various topics. Additionally, the intern designed bulletin boards highlighting different nutritional subjects and posted them in the café.

Intern Statements:
Melissa States: “Throughout my time as an intern at People’s Emergency Center, I have gotten to engage with the community of West Philadelphia in a meaningful and positive way. I’ve interacted with people from backgrounds extremely different than mine and come to realize that though we all have different experiences, it is always possible to connect with people on some level.”

 

Health and Happiness at Every Age

Student Interns:
Ornella Delle Noci, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Rehabilitation Sciences 
Astha Priya, Bryn Mawr College, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research

Academic Preceptors:
Maria Herveda-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Stephen Kern, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Rehabilitation Sciences

Community Preceptor:
Mary Ellen Bolden, BSW, Philadelphia Senior Center

Community Site: 
The Philadelphia Senior Center (PSC) on the Avenue of the Arts in Center City, a proud member of the NewCourtland Network, serves 200 seniors aged 55 or older per day, providing a wide range of low-cost and free services including meals, recreation/fitness, health, education, counseling, and volunteer and referral programs. The center offers a variety of activities including Bible study groups, tea time, line dancing, art classes, language classes, health education talks and computer access/instruction. The PSC provides a space for seniors to socialize and engage in playing cards/games, playing music, getting exercise and creating art together. PSC Avenue of the Arts also includes the Coffee Cup Branch, which provides services and opportunities specifically in Mandarin and Cantonese (oral and written). PSC values creativity, respect, companionship, diversity, education and tradition to advance the well-being and personal growth of older adults. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns’ objective was to utilize mental stimulation and movement as a means to improve mental and physical health for the clients at PSC. The interns worked toward their objective by leading activities such as regular chair exercise and dance classes, language classes and healthcare information sessions. Members’ awareness of issues surrounding cardiovascular health, oral health, heat safety and other topics improved.

Intern Statements: 
Ornella Delle Noci: “Working at the Philadelphia Senior Center exposed me to a population I had never worked with before. Through conversations and everyday relationships, I learned a great deal about the needs of this community. Over time my ability to plan and execute group sessions improved, so that I was able to foster meaningful experiences for the members. Spending my summer at PSC and learning about the joys and potential for healthy aging was an inspiring experience, and I hope that our presence also had a positive impact on the lives of the seniors.”

Astha Priya: “Philadelphia Senior Center was my first experience working with the senior citizens, and it was a very different experience from my previous work. I enjoyed working with senior adults and learning about their needs along with their personal experiences. With the opportunity to build relationships at this internship, I got a better understanding of working with senior adults and organizing group sessions with them. From a social work point of view, I will use this learning going forward in my career as I have a better understanding of the importance of healthy aging and the requirements of seniors along with the important role we can play by tending to their smallest of requests. I hope I was able to bring some positive contribution to the seniors as well during my interactions with them at this internship.”

 

Promoting Healthy Aging Through Companionship and Camaraderie

Student Intern:
Anna Owen, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Sandra Wolf, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Roberta Balsam, MA, UUH Outreach Program
Sara Popkin, MSW, LSW, UUH Outreach Program

Community Site: 
Unitarian Universalist House (UUH) Outreach helps older adults in Northwest Philadelphia remain independent in their own homes. The professional staff takes the time to fully understand each older person’s situation and concerns and responds with tailored information and access to resources in the community. UUH Outreach’s key to success is its active collaboration with other service organizations, which expedites getting older adults the support they need. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern at the Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program assisted clients during weekly visits by helping them tackle tasks important to them. This meant helping clients organize their living spaces, helping them get things off their chest, or sometimes suggesting strategies for creating a healthier lifestyle. The intern was in a unique position to be able to go to clients’ homes and directly witness the individual reality in which they live. This position allowed the intern to engage with clients’ needs in a personal manner and create a deeper relationship than would be possible in another setting. The intern also offered oral health and cardiovascular information through a discussion-style presentation, accompanied by handouts, given to residents at Four Freedoms House of Philadelphia. The intern also delivered Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program vouchers to the homes of clients who were unable to pick them up. Through this opportunity, the intern was able to enter the homes of many clients and observe the wide variety of ways people age in Philadelphia.

Intern Statements:
Anna Owen: “My time at the Outreach Program expanded my perspective of what it means to age and how personal experience, definition and mind-set individualize each client’s needs and goals. I got to sit in clients’ homes, surrounded by their photos, and listen to them tell me their story, and each is a complicated tale of joy, resilience, grace and sometimes luck (or lack of). I learned that the personal details in these stories could help inform about how I could best understand and serve their needs or motivate them towards goals. The Outreach Program allows for an amazing can-do attitude that is backed by consistent, compassionate advocacy and action, and the clients know they can trust us to positively impact their lives.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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