Saint_John's Award-Winning Aged to Perfection College Course: An Introduction to Aging

Aged to Perfection

Background

Aged to Perfection is a 3-credit undergraduate course at UW-Milwaukee. This interdisciplinary survey course introduces students to the field of aging by exploring what it means to be old, identifying what influences how we age, and explaining why we should care.  Rachelle Alioto, from the Center for Aging and Translational Research in UW-M’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, and Donna Spars from Saint John’s on the Lake, began planning the course approximately five years ago along with a group of residents.

We are now in the fifth semester with between 7-20 students per semester. The current class has 10 students along with 11 SJOL residents and 1 Board member. Numerous SJOL staff and residents participate in course facilitation.

Intergenerational Relationships

The heart of the course is the intergenerational relationship among the students and residents:

  • Each student has a resident partner who gives feedback as the student prepares their presentation about a myth of aging. Thanks to the support from their resident partners, the students are more confident about their presentations and even enjoy doing this!
  • The students and residents participate in small discussion groups to explore how the homework applies to their own experiences as both younger and older adults.

Plans for the Future

We are in the beginning stages of planning how to align the spring online course and the fall face-to-face course.  Once that is done, we would like to figure out how parts of the course could be made available to all SJOL residents as well as to the larger community.  More details will be available in late November. One thing for sure:  we will maximize the intergenerational relationships!

 

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