As the population ages, a larger proportion of people will experience deteriorating intellectual, social and occupational functioning common with dementia. Students in the course HMB440 Dementia explore multi-disciplinary aspects of aging and dementia (clinical, genetic, pathological, caregiving and social) with a focus on the most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease. Course materials come alive as students are also provided an opportunity to visit residents of a local long-term care facility, some with dementia to explore what it’s like to age, live with dementia, and live in long-term care. The goal is to make a friend, and accrue all the natural benefits that come from simply conversing and socializing with a new friend.
Instructor / Program Coordinator(s):
Arlene Astell and Franco Taverna
External Partners Faculty & Staff Students
Faculty of Arts & Science
Benefits to Students:
Through community engaged learning, students gain a further understanding of HMB440 Dementia’s course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility. Students also benefit from making a new friend, one that is wise and experienced.
Benefits to External Partners and the Community:
Reminiscing activities for those that are aging or living with dementia can be extremely beneficial. Recalling memories and recapturing the emotions that went with them can bring a sense of comfort and accomplishment to a person with dementia who otherwise may feel isolated or depressed. The “magical moments” generated by such activities are known to accrue lasting emotional and cognitive benefits along with reducing isolation. External partners and the community benefit from having these students make lasting connections with people suffering from dementia.
Benefits to the University:
The Human Biology Program can provide meaningful and impactful experiential learning opportunities for students to develop intangible social, academic, and career oriented skills in an area of Life Science that has proven to have a substantial need – elderly care.
Information for Interested Students:
Visit Human Biology Program website for more information on their courses.
Advice for Faculty and Staff Interested in Creating a Similar Experiential Learning Opportunity:
The dedication page of a book created by a student