Residents at Baltimore’s Apostolic Towers senior housing complex danced and reminisced February 12, as part of a Valentine-themed Senior Prom, hosted by Johns Hopkins nursing, medical, and public health students and faculty. Over a healthy dinner, cupcakes, diet drinks, fruit salad, and sugar-free candies, seniors and their student dance partners socialized and then swayed to a variety of yesterday’s and today’s tunes. As is traditional at most “proms,” each resident received a corsage or boutonniere and had a photograph taken.
The students, who are members of the Geriatric and Gerontology Interest Group (GIG), learned lessons from these older adults that can’t be found in textbooks. “The Senior Prom gives the Apostolic Towers residents a chance to interact with future healthcare professionals on a social level, while the students experience a new view of old age among low-income minorities. These are vital, multidimensional people and life-long learners with an interest in aging,” said Senior Prom organizer and JHUSON student Hai Yen Ho.
“This intergenerational experience was both a meaningful, intergenerational learning experience for everyone involved,” said Hopkins Nursing associate professor Elizabeth “Ibby” Tanner, PhD, MS, RN, mentor for the tri-GIG event.
In addition to the Senior Prom, GIG students regularly spend weekdays at the Apostolic Towers Isaiah Wellness Center, offering health classes, doing checkups, and even helping the residents fill out complicated Medicare and Medicaid forms.
The Senior Prom 2011 was sponsored by the following Johns Hopkins University organizations: the Geriatric Interest Group (GIG) of the School of Nursing, the Student Government Association (SGA) of the School of Nursing, and the Student Assembly Community Affairs Committee of the School of Public Health, in addition to several generous individual donors.