• Julia Bidelman

Gerontology Club Gives Back to Elderly of Olivet and Surrounding Community

Gerontology is the study of aging, including its social, psychological, cognitive, and biological aspects, according to MedicineNet.com. A new club at Olivet College was created in early November of 2019 to study this topic. The club currently has 13 members.

Marrissa Pritchard, junior and president of the Gerontology Club, said that she started this club because she wanted people on campus to be more involved and educated on gerontology.

Pritchard said, “So far we haven’t been able to do much, but our goal is to give back to the elderly in our community and also surrounding ones.”

Junior Brianna Sevcech, vice president of the Gerontology Club, said, “Since each person in our club has a different profession, we are trying to include each major with the club as well.” Sevcech also said, “Some people in the Gerontology Club are physical therapy majors and we will be allowing them to visit homes when the elder are participating in their routine therapy, and another member is also going into the dental field and we provided them with an opportunity to see the oral care given to those in homes.”

Katherine Jones, nursing and gerontology professor, said the Gerontology Club was formed by students who are working on the gerontology minor. Jones said, “They want to spread knowledge about gerontology as a minor and a science, and to assist the elderly in the Olivet and Eaton County area. As I am the instructor for the gerontology courses they asked me to be the faculty advisor.”

Jones said the group meets weekly with a member presenting a five-minute topic of interest that addresses the need for greater education in this gerontology. They are also working with community members to meet some of the needs in the elderly population.

Jones also said one of the group’s first projects will be to work with an Olivet alumnus to create fidget sleeves to donate to Sensations, a memory care unit in Charlotte that focuses on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients. According to Alzheimer.ca, a fidget sleeve is a hand muff with bits and bobs attached inside and out and is designed to provide a stimulation activity for restless hands for patients suffering from dementia.

Jones said, “The activities person at Sensations is also an Olivet alumni so we are pleased to work with her on this project.”

Pritchard also said the Gerontology Club meets every Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. and joining this club will allow students to gain access to many community service opportunities, whether hours are needed for Optimist Club, the Difference Makers scholarship or if students just committed to helping out those who are in the community.


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