Shawnee State University
“The program allowed me to network with professionals and students in the field, meet with senators and policy makers, and attend the OAGE conference to learn about and discuss issues in aging.”
This semester I was lucky to be involved with a new initiative between Shawnee State University’s Master of Occupational Therapy program and Southern Ohio Medical Center’s inpatient hospice unit, called the Making Days Meaningful program. As an occupational therapy (OT) student trained as a volunteer in the hospice unit, I spent time working directly with respite patients and indirectly with social services and nursing staff. While working with respite patients, many of whom had dementia, my goal was to engage them in activities that were meaningful during their short term stay.
I talked with the patients/staff to develop an occupational profile to determine their background, activities they enjoy, and their functional skills. After getting to know the patients, my group and I were assigned to create two sensory boxes to help get the patients engaged and promote meaningful conversations. I was also assigned to work the patients on the It’s Never 2 Late (IN2L) computer program, which is a touch screen device that has several categories of activities that can be used with patients. While working with the IN2L, I found it to be a very beneficial activity because it engaged the patients in something they personally enjoyed or found meaningful in their life. I also created a quick reference tool for the staff to use to help them effectively incorporate the IN2L when possible.
The Ohio Scholars in Aging (OSA) program has provided me with amazing opportunities to further my knowledge in the field of aging. The program allowed me to network with professionals and students in the field, meet with senators and policy makers, and attend the OAGE conference to learn about and discuss issues in aging. I am so thankful to have been selected to participate in the OSA program, as it has motivated me to continue to learn and grow in the fields of OT and gerontology. I will continue to advocate for older adults and OT’s role in improving quality of life for individuals with dementia by engaging them in meaningful activities. I highly encourage future students interested in the older adult population to apply for this opportunity, as you will learn and have experiences that will make a lasting impact on your life.