As the baby boomer generation ages, the United States faces a looming shortage of geriatricians. Elk Creek Assisted Living and Memory Care in Burleson, Texas offers a unique partnership with the nursing program students at Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) to address this.
Elk Creek has been an on-site clinical training community for the SWAU nursing program students for the last five years. The program provides excellent hands-on exposure to a senior care career opportunity in assisted living and memory support.
The Executive Director of Elk Creek shares, “We are excited to show them the senior living career path and how rewarding it is to work with our residents.”
Starting in March 2023, a new class of SWAU students went through a Dementia Live simulation and learned more about the senior living environment. The community leadership team also instructs them on positive approaches to care techniques. The students will begin their clinicals following a month of hands-on training.
Intergenerational education is not a new concept. Studies have shown that it has benefits for both seniors and youth:
● Seniors have increased socialization
● Seniors can learn about new cultures
● Students gain valuable mentorship
● Students learn about aging-related issues
● Both parties experience increased happiness and understanding
This partnership takes that concept to a unique level by providing hands-on training for future nursing professionals.
The benefits of this type of partnership extend beyond just the nursing program students. The seniors at Elk Creek can interact with younger generations and share their experiences and wisdom. This benefit helps combat feelings of loneliness and isolation that can be common and detrimental to seniors' health.
Programs for senior citizens are crucial to ensure that they feel a sense of purpose and have opportunities to engage with life. This partnership not only provides hands-on training for nursing program students, but it also provides an opportunity for seniors to feel valued and connected.
The Passion Program for seniors at Elk Creek offers engaging activities such as:
● Cooking class
● Seated exercise
SWAU students are learning everything about how to provide engaging activities for various kinds of older adults. Memory care residents' needs are often different from those of assisted living seniors.
Students are also learning the valuable soft skills that only come from hands-on training:
● Personalizing care to each individual
● Learning how to interact and communicate with family members
● Experiencing the energy and environment of a senior living community
“Southwestern Adventist University is very grateful for the opportunity of this partnership with Elk Creek, and our students are excited to have their clinicals in this facility, which is not only beautiful but has a nicely structured program where they’ll have the opportunity to develop key skills for their future career,” said Elisane Grellman Almeida, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Southwestern Adventist University.
The intergenerational education partnership between Elk Creek and SWAU nursing students is inspiring. Programs for senior citizens like this are not just beneficial. They are crucial for our society.
Learn more about Elk Creek Assisted Living at: https://www.civitasseniorliving.com/elk-creek/