“Science 4 Seniors” Leads to Larger Life Long Learning Program
When we are young, we often equate science with fun. We marvel with delight the first time we experience the different results of scientific experiments whether in school or at home. Can yeast blow up a balloon? What happens when you drop Mentos candy in a two liter bottle of Diet Coke? Can you really make a magnet with a battery, wire, and a nail? The results always lead us to the same question, how does this happen? Regardless of our age, we love to know those answers. While there is the old saying “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks,” when it comes to Life Enrichment at Wesbury Grace Rehabilitation and Health Center, they are always trying to make life fun while searching for new and engaging programs. Plus, we might learn something too. 😉
Just before Thanksgiving, Life Enrichment staff designed a program that consisted of five days of hands-on science experiments demonstrating concepts such as creating chemical reactions, carbon dioxide gas, separating hydrogen peroxide, buoyancy, and more. Called “Science 4 Seniors,” two experiments were completed each day by residents, followed by discussion and trivia related to the concepts. The week was designed to provide stimulating activities as part of Wesbury’s commitment to life-long learning opportunities for residents.
The transformation of attitudes from the residents has been amazing. Initially, several of them made comments like “I am not smart enough to do science” or “I don’t think I can do it, but I will try.” Throughout the week of experiments, those negative comments turned positive as they found themselves able to not only do the experiments but also understand the concepts and having a bit of fun as well.
“This new science program is so neat. It’s fun to mix the various compounds and see the results. I feel it is important to experience something new every day; it is what keeps people going day to day. It is so important to never stop learning.”
Grace Rehabilitation and Health Center resident Charlotte Wells
The success of “Science 4 Seniors” has catapulted the Life Enrichment team to expand learning opportunities in 2017 by offering a new program titled, “Senior Scholars.” The year will be broken into two semesters, where each month of the semester adult learners will study a new module. Each module will consist of a 45-minute class and require a group project and/or field trip to complete. All residents in the program will be assigned a “mentor” to assist them with their final projects. Experienced lecturers will include retired educators, local business owners, and Wesbury staff with expertise in the subject matter. Lecturers will be scheduled for each course within the module. At each semester’s end, graduation ceremonies will be held for “students” who complete the requirements. Residents will be able to share their Wesbury learning experience with their families at the ceremony held in Barco Chapel at Grace Rehabilitation and Health Center.
“Science 4 Seniors” Week and our upcoming “Senior Scholars” program are just a few of the Life Enrichment Activities that provide residents the opportunity to obtain the numerous benefits of life-long learning,” says Melissa Swartwood, DHSc., M.S., ADC, Director of Life Enrichment. “Both programs offer interactive classes, educational field trips, meaningful community service, and civic engagement projects to provide exciting, innovative, and educational programming necessary for our residents to maintain their highest level of intellectual and emotional health.”