Intergenerational Index
The Grandfriends Project -- A Program Creating Friendships Across the Generations Martin Kimeldorf, the author

Assignment #1

This is the first assignment which follows the first chapter.

The Nursing Home Experience and Young Seniors

Thinking About The Facility or Retirement Community

Try to find a brochure from the facility you are visiting. Then answer these questions:

  1. What is the name of the facility?

  2. Look at the pictures. Does it look like an inviting and friendly place?

    What clues did you use in the pictures?

What Is It Like To Move Into A Nursing Home?

As people get older they often experience a decline in physical abilities and even some mental capacities (like memory). Yet, at each stage they seem to know more than before; and each stage has it's own rewards and challenges. This next section is about growing older and perhaps a bit more frail. It is a stage where a person might need help with chores or living. It is a stage where older people enjoy visiting, observing, thinking, and sharing.

  1. How is a nursing home different from an individual's home?

  2. Below is a list of benefits you might have when you move into a nursing home. Check off the three that would matter most to you if you were older.
    • Get nursing care
    • Living without chores
    • Meals made
    • Sense of security
    • No need to travel for services
    • Be with people your age

  3. Below is a list of things you might have to give up when you move into a nursing home. Check off the three that would matter most to you if you were older.
    • Living without pets
    • Having little choice in menu
    • Having a roommate
    • Having less privacy
    • Living without your furniture

  4. Underline the feelings below which you think people might have when they move into a nursing home:

    anger     joy     sadness     relief     loneliness     gladness     anxiety    

    Explain your answer.

  5. How would you feel if you had no choice about moving into a nursing home?   (You might think about a time you had to move with your family when you didn't want to.)

  6. Suppose someone was very, very upset when she first moved into a nursing home. Which behaviors do you think this person would show in the first 2 to 4 weeks? Underline the ideas.
    • Stay in your room and refuse to come out
    • Refuse to talk to other people
    • Complain a lot
    • Lash out verbally at others or even physically

    Do you think these behaviors would stay or fall away after a few more weeks?   (Explain your answer.)

  7. Suppose you were an older adult. How might your life change if you had regular visits or contact with members of a high school class?

What About Young Seniors?

Too often we think that all older adults are inactive, perhaps in wheelchairs, with lots of spare time on their hands. In reality, many people remain very active and involved after they enter their senior or retirement phase of life. Many senior citizens travel, get a second career or job, volunteer in their community, take up hobbies and arts…a hundred different things. You might think of them as "middle age" or "younger" seniors. Read the article in the box below and then answer the questions.

-From Lifestyles, The Olympian, 11/25/92

Volunteer Of The Week

Art and Minnie Irvine, Volunteers of the Week, work with Shelton Services to At-Risk Seniors (STARS) program. The Irvines have been volunteers with STARS for over 1 1/2 years. They serve as host and hostess for the program, service lunches, helps at bingo games. Art plays the guitar and use humor to keep an upbeat mood for the clients.

"Art has excellent leadership qualities and can fill in anywhere. I can turn the program over to Art if I have to leave, and I know he will keep things going," says Christie Logan, program assistant site director. "Minnie plays cribbage and communicates with clients and is especially helpful with people who have special needs. In fact, Minnie is unable to speak herself and uses her excellent non-verbal communication skills and "herder" instinct to get people up and going.

  1. How old do you think Art and Minnie are?

  2. In what way do they remain active and contributing members of the society?

  3. Would you join STARS when you get older? Why?

  4. Given 100 people over the age of 65, how many do you think live in a nursing home?
    ___ 5       ___ 15       ___ 30       ___ 60       ___ 90

  5. How do both Art and Minnie differ from our common stereotype of older citizens?

Advanced, Deeper Thinking

What you get out any project depends on what you put into it. The more you advance into the subject of aging, the more you think about your own life, the more ideas you contribute then the more you'll get out of the Grandfriend Project.

The next four questions are optional. Only go on from here if you want to advance deeper into the subject of life, aging, and your future. If you want to go on, then review the Introduction of this book and reflect upon the following questions.

  1. Review Gunda's description of her past life in the Introduction to this book. Gunda ends her list by asking, "Were those the good ol' days? I wonder." How would you rate her past? Do you think she would call them the "Good Ol' Days?" Share your answer and reasoning. If you want to write more, put your answers on another sheet of paper.

  2. When you look back at what you are living through right now, how do you think you'll rate this time in your life? Will you label this era the "Good Old Days" or recall this by some other title?

  3. Now imagine being able to talk with someone like Gunda. What would you like to ask her? Would her stories change the way you feel about your life? What do think she'd like to know about you?

  4. Like other people, you probably think about your future. You may sometimes ponder what it will be like after you graduate or leave school. Perhaps you wonder about your future career, whether or not you want children or a family someday, or what it would be like to move far away.

    Sometimes we do our best thinking and get our best advice when we share our thoughts with people who have a different viewpoint, or a different set of experiences. These people can bring us a fresh perspective. How might a Grandfriend offer you a different perspective on your life?

Intergenerational Index   next page arrow

Martin Kimeldorf,
© 1999
All Rights Reserved.
Amby Duncan-Carr,
page designer
Material from both THE GRANDFRIENDS PROJECT, A Program Creating Friendships Across The Generations and the companion piece, PROJECT LEADER'S GUIDE FOR THE GRANDFRIENDS PROJECT, A Program Creating Friendships Across The Generations is reproduced here with the permission of the publisher, Fairview Press. Printing or downloading a single copy of this document for personal use is permitted; teachers may reproduce this document for use in a single classroom, only. Transmission in any form or further duplication is prohibited without the express written consent of the author. In addition, any use of the document code, itself, requires the written permission of the web page designer.

Kimeldorf Bibliography
Amby's Resources
Kimeldorf Autobiography

© 1999   Amby Duncan-Carr   All Rights Reserved.

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