Our Mission is to address major issues and research findings related to aging and the life course present today, through first hand experience from several elderly volunteers from collaborating local organizations. The aging process is different for everyone, therefore it is difficult to understand. Throughout this course, our students will be exposed to several different elderly individuals who each experience aging in their own unique way. Our goal is to get a better understanding of all aspects of the aging process as it is inevitable in each and every one of our lives.
What is the Sociology of Aging and Life Course?
The Sociology of Aging and Life Course is the first portion of the Bridges Across Generations Program which focuses on building a relationship between our local elderly community and students of St. John Fisher College. These relationships are built through the process of exchanging life stories, share views, and being exposed to a different aspects of life through the perspective of an unfamiliar generation.
To make this project possible, two local elderly communities, The Community Place of Rochester and Valley Manor Independent Living, have paired up with the Service-Learning Program at St. John Fisher College to partake in a semester long program offered through the Sociology of Aging and Life Course.
The students and elder collaborators will engage in a series of guided conversations addressing different aspects of the aging process. Each week as they engage in deep conversation about personal topics and personal experiences, the relationships between the two generations grows stronger.
Our curriculum is based off an eight week long program, with group meetings once a week. Each week, a reading is provided for both the student and elder collaborator addressing major issues related to aging and research findings. This program is designed to benefit not only the student, but also the elder collaborator.
Orientation: “Speed Dating” Activity
Meeting #1: The “Very Old”
Meeting #2: Family
Meeting #3: Inter-generational Relationships and Peer Networks
Meeting #4: Health and Health Care
Meeting #5: Movie Screening and Discussion
Meeting #6: Housing and Support Care Options
Meeting #7: Religion/Spirituality and Health Coping
For students, your tasks are to:
-Offer a brief summary of the main ideas presented in the article (no more than 3 minutes)
-Generate a discussion of how these ideas relate to the seniors’ own observations,experiences and insights.
-You can also ask your own questions or select a topic related to the reading that you would like to discuss
-You may decline to answer any question that you do not feel comfortable discussing.
-Make sure that everyone in the group has the chance to ask at least one question (both students and seniors).
-Students should take notes.
-If a personal experience is discussed, ask if this should be kept confidential within the group, or if it is OK to share later in class discussion.
There is a lack of communication and understanding between generations today. Aging is a process many individuals attempt to ignore in hopes they will never have to experience it. This fear of aging is due to highly stereotypical claims and the fear of the unknown. Our goal of this course is to break such stereotypes and redefine the norm to embrace healthy aging.