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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2012

Older Adults

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Mapping the Way to a Healthier Journey

Student Interns:
Matthew Henke*, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Michael Moriarty, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
(*In memoriam Matthew Henke, 1987–2012)

Academic Preceptors:
Joanne Muir Behm, MSS, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Eugene Mochan, DO, PhD, FACOFP, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Rebecca Kochman, MSW, LSW, Intercommunity Action, Inc., Journey’s Way

The Community Site:
Journey’s Way, the aging services department of Intercommunity Action, Inc., offers programs for people aged 55 and over. The Center at Journey’s Way offers social services and lifelong learning, health, fitness, volunteer, recreational and travel programs for independent older adults. The Adult Day Services Center provides older adults who need supervision with an individualized program that includes lunch and snacks, recreation and socialization, and support for family caregivers. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Mike assisted the Journey’s Way staff by providing services and activities for adult members over 55. Primarily, he contributed weekly presentations on various health topics with the goal of achieving health awareness and promotion. At Journey’s Way Adult Day Services center, Mike engaged with the clients in activities to stimulate the mind. Mike said, “Spending a summer at a senior center has changed my perspective on the physical and mental capabilities of older adults. From the surprising intensity of their exercise programs to their desire to know more about how to improve their health, the seniors proved to be much more than I expected. While working at Journey’s Way, I learned the value of listening to people with an open mind and providing sympathy and support—it opens communication barriers and establishes trust. The perspectives I gained this summer will be a valuable asset to my future career.”

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Promoting Healthy Lifestyles Among the Elderly

Student Intern:
Amber Peterson, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Raymond K. Lum, MPhil, MS, Drexel University School of Public Health

Community Preceptor:
Barbara Rubio, RN, Nationalities Service Center, Senior Center

The Community Site:
The Nationalities Senior Center, a component program of the Nationalities Service Center, is a geriatrics day center located in North Philadelphia. The Senior Center serves American, immigrant and refugee seniors, providing a place where they can interact, engage in activities, receive hot meals, and have access to social services and other community resources. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Throughout the summer, Amber organized a series of health promotion events, discussions and activities for the members of the Nationalities Senior Center. The purpose of the activities was to access and improve the members’ knowledge of common health issues affecting an aging population. Some of the topics discussed included cardiovascular health, oral health and hygiene, diabetes management and high blood pressure management. The health promotion activities were designed to be highly interactive, with a focus on the members contributing to the education process. The project concluded with exercise through free and choreographed dancing. Amber reflected, “My experiences as a BTG Intern have truly challenged me in ways that I never could have imagined. During this summer I developed a better understanding of the meaning of the term ‘cultural competency.’ Prior to this summer, I considered cultural competency to mean having an extensive knowledge about as many cultures as possible; however, I now believe that it is more important to recognize that each individual is the sole expert on their life and culture. As a physician I anticipate that I will spend a large part of my career educating others; however, I look forward to receiving the wealth of knowledge that my patients will provide me that will help me to better serve them.”

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Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body for LIFE

Student Interns:
Claire Barbour, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Allison Hensler, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Ingrid Sidorov, MSN, RN, LIFE - A Practice of Penn Nursing

The Community Site:
Living Independently for Elders (LIFE), a clinical practice of Penn Nursing (and a PACE Program in West Philadelphia), provides all-inclusive care for 450 frail, older adults in the community. This comprehensive, interdisciplinary program provides total medical and social care while allowing participants to remain living in their own homes. Services include meals, transportation, physical therapy, social services, family support, recreational therapy, medical treatment and personal care. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health

The Project:
Allison and Claire’s project at LIFE was to create a multi-pronged interdisciplinary program aimed at preventive oral care for members. Their project involved educating LIFE members about tooth brushing, denture care, expectations for visiting the dentist, and self-advocacy. Allison and Claire also conducted oral health education presentations for LIFE center staff, including nurses, social workers and caregivers, demonstrating that each health professional is an important part of the interdisciplinary team. In addition, they performed oral health promotion at nursing homes affiliated with LIFE and offered support and guidance to family members about taking care of their loved ones’ oral health. Allison and Claire distributed toothbrushes, toothpaste and other oral health supplies to members at the LIFE center and at the nursing homes to improve access to care. They also created resources and materials that will be reused to allow the oral health education program to continue after the summer program. Claire reflected, “I came to LIFE this summer looking forward to working with the population of aging Philadelphians that LIFE supports. What I didn’t expect, though, was how much LIFE would support me. LIFE is a dynamic, challenging and nurturing place to learn and to grow, pushing me and my BTG partner, Alli, to think bigger, to go further, to bring oral health promotion not only to LIFE members but LIFE staff, LIFE families and LIFE-affiliated long-term-care facilities. LIFE has exposed me to the challenges aging adults face in Philadelphia while teaching me that, given hard work and committed staff, these challenges can be surmounted. LIFE, like BTG, truly emphasizes the power of a team approach. I am grateful that BTG has allowed me to further develop my abilities both as a social worker and as a member of an interdisciplinary team.” Allison noted, “I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the interdisciplinary team at LIFE this summer. This experience has opened my eyes to the unique demands of geriatric health care, and the knowledge I have gained will influence my decisions in the future, both personally and professionally. The elderly members at LIFE have taught me about resilience through their stories and optimism. I have also developed an appreciation for the roles and responsibilities of a social worker through working with my BTG partner, Claire. Finally, the LIFE program has demonstrated the value of preserving independence for older adults, as I watched smiling members walking into the center each day.”

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A Little of the Whole; Mind, Body and Soul

Student Interns:
Jacklynn Jacoby, Temple University, School of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program
Daniel Zhao, Temple University, School of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Nursing

Academic Preceptor:
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Julie Nelson, BS, Philadelphia Senior Center, Tioga Branch

The Community Site:
The mission of the Philadelphia Senior Center, Tioga Branch, is to advance the well-being and personal growth of all people aged 55 and older in the greater Tioga area by connecting them to services and resources to help them learn and discover new ways to be actively engaged in living healthy lives. The Tioga Branch has been serving the community for 40 years. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Environmental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Preparedness

The Project:
Daniel and Jackie engaged the seniors at the Philadelphia Senior Center, Tioga Branch, in daily lunch-and-learn talks.The purpose of these five-minute talks was to educate and inform the seniors on relevant health topics of interest. Once a week the interns gave longer presentations about specific health issues. As part of nutrition education, Daniel and Jackie distributed veggie vouchers to individuals who met the eligibility criteria. The interns assisted staff in the weeklong celebration of the Tioga Branch’s 40th anniversary and wrote an article about the celebration for the “PCA Update.” They also assisted and participated in a blood drive to help children with sickle cell anemia. To advocate for the Philadelphia Senior Center, Tioga Branch, the interns visited local businesses asking them to display a poster that promoted senior centers. Daniel said, “This has been a wonderful experience for me. I have learned to become more responsible and communicate more effectively. I’m better at teamwork and collaborating with my colleagues. … There is a diverse set of people here that has really shown me a larger part of a community. Everyone has their stories, and when these stories and moments are shared, the collective unity and happiness will speak for itself. I really enjoyed my time here both as a learning student and a social human being. It is one I will never forget.” Jackie commented, “My experience at the senior center was without a doubt a positive one. I learned about myself as well as the seniors by engaging in meaningful conversations and participation in the many activities provided. I had the opportunity to work with several professionals and individuals throughout my time at the senior center and emphasize how to effectively communicate with others. … I had many opportunities for one-on-one interactions about life which were very important and meaningful.”

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Living Longer, Healthier and Happier: An Independent Journey

Student Interns:
Zachary Certa, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Lauren Rickard, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy

Academic Preceptors:
Lauren Collins, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Caryn Johnson, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Health Professions

Community Preceptor:
Charles Brown, MSW, LSW, Philadelphia Senior Center, South Broad Street Branch

The Community Site:
The Philadelphia Senior Center (PSC) main branch on South Broad Street helps adults aged 55 and older meet their basic needs and enhance their quality of life. The center offers a variety of activities including art classes, poetry workshops, line dancing, tai chi, drama, walking clubs, chorus and health support groups. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Oral Health

The Project:
Zac and Lauren organized and implemented various health-related events and information sessions at the South Broad Street Branch of the Philadelphia Senior Center (PSC). With the seniors’ limited access to health resources and a typical monthlong wait to see a doctor, the interns’ classes focused on self-care and knowing when to seek emergency help. The classes and activities were based on surveys taken by the seniors, which highlighted specific information of interest to them. Subjects ranged from broad topics such as nutrition and physical fitness to more specific topics such as diabetes, joint health and health care reform. Zac and Lauren also provided mind aerobics and assisted in administrating Senior Nutrition Program farmers market vouchers to community members. Lauren said, “PSC is an environment that is truly facilitative of health and well-being for the community. Interacting with members of such diverse age, race, ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic status has taught me to appreciate the ‘story’ behind every individual. Not only did I share important information with the seniors, but I was able to learn from them as well, and discover valuable lessons that will guide me in my interactions with patients, clients and community members in the future.” Zac said, “Working at PSC … really helped me dispel any false preconceptions I may have had about seniors. I admit I was afraid to work with the stereotypical crotchety old man, but it turned out that the seniors were extremely personable and loved to share any experience or story or their help with anyone. I think it stemmed from their confidence in themselves. … The seniors liked to sit and learn but even more so they liked to sit and share their experiences on a topic. I certainly hope that whatever field I choose to go into helps seniors, because this summer has been enjoyable.”

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Successfully Aging with Education and Exercise

Student Interns:
Lauren Hollingsworth, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Occupational Therapy
Laura Ramirez, Temple University, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Peggy Eagle, BS/MTH, Lutheran Settlement House Senior Center
Michelle Lutz, BSW, Lutheran Settlement House Senior Center

The Community Site:
The Lutheran Settlement House Senior Center, located in the Fishtown neighborhood, supports vital, healthy aging and cultivates community connections for older adults while encouraging them to take an active role in leading a self-determined life. The Senior Center provides community-based services, activities and classes that enhance the quality of life for adults aged 55 and over. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Environmental Health; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Lauren and Laura, under the guidelines of Healthy People 2020, provided educational and interactive activities for the members of the Lutheran Settlement House (LSH) Senior Center. Creating weekly health themes, the interns designed a health promotion program that engaged the members in health discussions, exercise and games. In all their activities they strove to meet the reading levels and learning styles of all members. In addition, they organized enrichment activities such as healthy snack preparation and a trip to the Mütter Museum. Laura said, “I was comforted to find that the seniors at LSH were just like me. While they do have years of experience and wisdom that guide their actions, we are similar in that we are both still learning through trial and error. I have also learned that regardless of age, the mind continues to learn, and adding humor and kindness helps along in the process of growth.” Lauren commented, “The seniors of LSH have taught me that generational differences exist, but overall, seniors can be as lively and energetic as their younger counterparts. The many people I’ve met and the jokes and stories that I’ve heard in the past seven weeks have made this experience unforgettable. It was a pleasure to work with the seniors this summer, and I take away with me a lot of respect, appreciation and knowledge.”

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Supporting Change and Habit Formation in Older Adults

Student Intern:
June Walker, Drexel University, School of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Academic Preceptor:
Raymond K. Lum, MPhil, MS, Drexel University School of Public Health

Community Preceptors:
Roberta Balsam, MA, Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program
Mary Fallon, MA, NHA, Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program
Lynn Trimborn, RN, Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program

The Community Site:
The Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program works within the Northwest Philadelphia community. The primary goal of the Outreach Program is to provide older individuals with resources to assist them in maintaining independent lifestyles in their own residences. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Disabilities Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
June worked with the social worker and nurse of the Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program (UUH Outreach) to provide assistance and connections to services for various clients at a local apartment complex as well as in the surrounding Germantown/Northwest Philadelphia area. June assisted three individual clients in the community with monthly budgeting and finance, usage of the SNAP program, applications for Medicare benefits coverage and health system survey completion. June also assisted the nurse at the West Oak Lane Senior Center and Mount Airy Church of God in Christ. Additionally, June helped the social worker in planning a community grant proposal for the next stage of the Outreach’s ongoing walking program. June concluded her time with the UUH Outreach by presenting a workshop titled “Music & Your Health” on the use of music in stress reduction, exercise and pain management. June noted, “This internship opportunity has increased my continued understanding of the needs of older adults and what services are and should be available for this population. I have found myself reflecting on my personal relationships with the older adults in my life throughout this process. I have undergone a slight shift in my perspective of these different relationships and how I will interact with my elders in the future. I have learned a lot from this site, both in knowledge and social interactions, and anticipate looking back on this time in my life as a wonderful and enriching learning experience.”

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Lifetime Learning

Student Interns:
Jason Barrett, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Pharmacy
Brian Lee, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Lauren Collins, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Mary Hess, PharmD, FASHP, FCCM, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Pharmacy

Community Preceptor:
Mary Ellen Bolden, Philadelphia Senior Center, Independence Promotion Project, Services on Site

The Community Site:
The Services on Site program of the Philadelphia Senior Center’s Independence Promotion Project provides social service support to seniors living in geriatric residential facilities. The community sites include Reed Street Apartments, Jackson Place Apartments, Anthony Wayne Senior Housing, Scottish Rite Tower, Scottish Rite House, American Postal Workers House and Simpson Mid-Town. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Jason and Brian partnered with Services on Site to provide weekly discussions and activities demonstrating healthy living habits for the seniors residing in the local geriatric facilities. The interns covered topics such as mental health, joint health, medication adherence, nutrition, oral health, heat stroke and chronic diseases. The interns also planned games similar to Jeopardy and provided food samples and health supplies to generate interest in the events. Jason said, “I learned more from the residents at the centers than I thought that I would. I have a lot of book knowledge, and many facts and lectures on many medical conditions, but the residents gave me the life experience of the conditions. I learned from them what it is like and how they may be coping with their individual situations; they gave me much more knowledge than I could have learned in a classroom.” Brian added, “This experience gave me new insights about the complexity of senior care. I learned about the incredible resilience of the seniors that I met, and how they adapted to their environment. Although many of them have needs, they also provide an incredible resource to others. The communities they have created give me a sense of what it means to invest in each other.”

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Increasing Awareness of Caregiving Resources Through CaregiverGPS

Student Intern:
Lauren Zenel, Drexel University School of Public Health

Academic Preceptor:
Raymond K. Lum, MPhil, MS, Drexel University School of Public Health

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

The Community Site:
The Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE) is dedicated to improving the quality of life of older adults. The organization seeks to accomplish advocacy, education and action through a “case to cause” model of advocacy that promotes equal access to justice and addresses problems and issues on both the individual and systemic levels. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Disabilities and Secondary Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Injury Prevention

The Project:
Lauren’s project at the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE) was to increase site traffic and awareness of the CaregiverGPS Web site by creating new blog content and directing traffic to the site through other caregiver discussion blogs. To ensure continued maintenance of CaregiverGPS, Lauren designed a quarterly blog schedule highlighting an overarching issue in caregiving (e.g., dementia and Alzheimer’s) with three subtopic blog posts delving further into that issue (e.g., risk factors, stages of the disease). Lauren commented, “Participating in the BTG experience has increased my awareness and empathy for older individuals as well as their caregivers. Working at CARIE has made me more empathetic to the needs and wishes of older adults. American society has a tendency to depict elders as burdens on both family units and financial assistance programs. My time at CARIE made me realize that older adults have a wealth of knowledge to share and that the needs of companionship, respect and being treated with dignity do not decrease with age. The BTG experience has influenced my decision to focus my public health career in aging policy and end-of-life care.“

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