As an undergraduate intern at the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter, I was able to participate in many different ways. I was involved with the 24/7 helpline and care consultation levels 1 and 2. I represented the chapter at health fairs, compiled program information, researched intergenerational programming, and participated in advocacy and fundraising.
Specifically as a helpline volunteer, I answered calls, provided assistance to families and triaged cases to pass on to the full time social workers or the graduate student interns. I received many of my own cases from answering helpline calls. I also documented these calls in the Association’s database.
As a care consultant, I worked closely with families and their loved ones. I provided supportive listening, and helped assess what assistance the family may need. I also assisted with problem solving, goal setting and met with entire families to discuss their situation.
I had the opportunity to attend multiple health fairs and represent the Alzheimer’s Association. It was a wonderful way to interact with community members and explain what services are available. During health fairs, I was able to talk one on one with individuals and learn more about their connection to the disease. I also had the opportunity to share some of the statistics on Alzheimer’s.
Dementia Q&A is a newer education program at the Association. It is a free event for community members to ask questions they have about Alzheimer’s disease. I helped record the questions asked and assisted in compiling them to determine what was asked most frequently.
In addition, I was able to advocate for individuals with Alzheimer’s throughout my time at the Association. I wrote a letter to the state legislators to explain what services we provide for their constituents. I also helped gather support through signature cards so the Association could show congressmen how important finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is to their voters.
This semester, I researched the topic of intergenerational programming. I also visited a local program in Yellow Springs. With the knowledge I gained about intergenerational programming, I wrote a short article for the Miami Valley Chapter weekly newsletter.
Finally, I had the opportunity to learn how a non-profit is funded. I worked during one of the largest fundraisers for the Association: The Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Recently, I talked with several store owners about participating in the Longest Day fundraiser which is held in June. It has been a valuable learning experience to see how important it is to build meaningful relationships with individuals and organizations.
My internship at the Alzheimer’s Association was an incredible experience. I was able to be involved in many different aspects of the organization and gained experience working with seniors and their loved ones. This experience confirmed my love for the senior population and their unique generational needs. As a result, I am looking forward to pursuing a career in gerontology.
I found the Ohio Scholars in Aging program to be a tremendous opportunity to gain knowledge about polices that affect seniors. I learned about both statewide and local programs available for seniors and their families. The program enabled me to grow as a student and gave me key experience in networking. This experience will be helpful as I consider pursuing a career in advocacy. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Ohio Scholars in Aging program and would highly recommend this program to any student who is interested in gerontology.