University of Houston-Downtown takes part in Older American Months through Service-Learning and Webinars
President Joe Biden and Texas Governor Greg Abbott proclaimed Older Americans Month recently in order to honor the senior citizens and invite the community to pay tribute to the older people around them.
According to the 2010 census by the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 40.3 million residents aging 65 years and older. The figure is much higher than when Older Americans Month was established back in 1963 when the number was only 17 million. This implies an increase in life expectancy for Americans in general.
Interest and concerns regarding older Americans have been improving since the first declaration of the Older Americans Month. The University of Houston-Downtown is taking part through the University’s Collaboratory on Aging Resources & Education (CARE).
“The University of Houston-Downtown is known for recognizing disparities among vulnerable populations and for its commitment to improving overall life outcomes for these individuals through education and research,” said Loren J. Blanchard, the UHD President. “May is Older Americans Month and we are proud of the work the University’s Collaboratory on Aging Resources & Education (CARE) in the Center for Public Service & Community Research achieves in order to facilitate systemic change through collaboration and community-based research.”
CARE hosted three webinars to acknowledge the month: “Tough Conversations on Aging Webinar: What You Should Know Before You Need to Know” presented to students, faculty, and staff; Medcore Preferred Hospice, presented to the community in Houston; and a webinar to a community group consisting of members with low vision.
The Co-Founders and Co-Directors of CARE, Dr. Angela Goins and Tammy Mermelstein from UHD, suggest that it is essential to engage communities with their elderly members.
CARE has just finished one of its programs, the Adopt a Grandparent Program, offered to students in service-learning courses. In the program, the students contacted senior citizens who are homebound to socialize with them over the phone during the pandemic.
“The CARE initiative provides education and resources to and for older adults and caregivers to University students, faculty and staff as well as to the wider community,” said Goins, who is also a Lecturer of Social Work. “Whether it’s by fostering intergenerational relationships through the Adopt a Grandparent or teaching how to have tough conversations; we honor older adults and keep their concerns and needs at the forefront at UHD to impact change.”