Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gerontology and Geriatrics Education

Award Winning Paper Evaluates Intergenerational Service Learning

Service Learning has gained popularity in higher education for its ability to instill a deep sense of community involvement and responsibility in students and institutions at large. Moving toward the establishment of best-practices for service learning in gerontology programs, researchers at the State University of New York at Oswego examined published studies of intergenerational service learning. Their results are now the 2013 David A. Peterson Award winning article from Gerontology and Geriatrics Education, the official journal of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE).
Intergenerational Service-Learning: A Review of Recent Literature and Directions for the Future
Paul Roodin, Laura Hess Brown, and Dorothy Shedlock
View this article online with Free Access until December 31, 2014. Go to view the Journal News box.

Benefits to Older Adults

Some of the aforementioned research studies have also included consideration of older adults' views on the service-learning experience with young people (e.g., Greene, 1998Hegeman et al., 2010Krout et al., 2010). Dorfman et al. (2002) reported that seniors' interactions with college students were overwhelmingly positive in open-ended interviews. The elders reported positive companionship, social stimulation, and better understanding of youth. The recipients of elder care in another study found visits from college students to be enjoyable, helped the older adults to remain at home, and improved their quality of life (Hegeman et al., 2002). In Greene's (1998) research, older adults interviewed about their life stories by occupational therapy students recognized their value as educators, their need for companionship, the development of new points of view and activities, and newfound social and communication skills.


This review examines recent studies that have addressed outcomes of intergenerational service-learning courses in gerontology. The history of service-learning pedagogy in higher education and its place in today's colleges is also reviewed. Particular attention is given to evaluations of stakeholders: students, older adult participants, agencies and staff, faculty, community residents, colleges, and the community itself. The need for adopting research designs that permit clear conclusions and for utilizing assessments that have psychometrically sound foundations is important in future studies to permit unambiguous comparisons from study to study. The value of the pedagogy for students in particular has been documented over a number of years. Equally important is today's need to assess the impact of the pedagogy on the community.

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