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Intergenerational Partnership Leads to New Friendships

Senior Mentors Help College Students

LONGVIEW, Texas -- It is amazing to see what happens when you put a woman in her 90s in a room with a woman in her 20s. The two have more in common than you can imagine, and it only takes moments to start building a meaningful friendship.

Margie Stancil, 90-year-old Buckner Westminster Place independent living resident, and Amber Boswell, 23-year-old student at Panola College, are learning the importance of an intergenerational friendship thanks to a partnership between the college and Buckner Westminster Place. Boswell will spend at least an hour a week at Buckner Westminster Place as part of her training to become an occupational therapy assistant.

“I am excited about learning how to connect with someone who is older, wiser, and from a different generation,” said Boswell. “When I heard I was going to partner with a senior resident, I was so excited! I know this will be a beneficial experience for both of us. I plan to work with seniors in the future, and learning how to communicate with them is crucial for my career path. I am so thankful for this opportunity.”

Two students and two residents are teaming up to learn from each other at Buckner Westminster Place. The two month partnership will give the students real world experience, and it will provide the residents with something to look forward to each week.

“I am really thrilled about it. I think this is a beautiful idea, and I am pleased to be a part of it,” said Stancil. “This gives me a sense of participating in something worthwhile. We seem psychologically in tune and we have a lot in common despite our age difference. The relationship gives me a feeling of vitality, and I look forward to Amber’s next visit.”

[caption id="attachment_5648" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Student Travis Gilbert and Dr. Robert Pope enjoy lunch together in the Westminster Place dining room."][/caption]

The students will get to know the residents, and they will create activities for the residents to enjoy. Administrators at Buckner Westminster Place are happy to be a part of the program.

“I know that Buckner Westminster Place residents and the students will walk away from this with a better understanding of each other and the world around them,” said Wes Wells, executive director, Buckner Westminster Place. “It is so important to respect and appreciate all generations, and I believe this partnership will result in strong connections for everyone involved.”

Panola College requires fieldwork for students at different stages of their education. This program is for freshman studying to be occupational therapy assistants, and it is the first time in the program that students have the opportunity to be in the field.

“I hope the students will learn how to talk to seniors, and gain a better sense of future patients’ needs,” said Lin Reynolds, academic fieldwork coordinator, Panola College. “We want our students to establish rapport and provide the residents with a feeling of friendship. We do role playing in the classroom, and the fieldwork gives them a chance to use their skills in the real world. We appreciate the willingness of Buckner Westminster Place to host our students.”

The students will meet with their senior mentors every Friday at noon at Buckner Westminster Place in Longview for two months.

About Buckner Retirement Services
Buckner Retirement Services, Inc. is one of the largest not-for-profit senior living organizations in Texas dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for senior adults and their families by promoting an active, healthy Christian lifestyle while maintaining their independence and dignity. Buckner Retirement Services is part of Buckner International, a global faith-based ministry serving more than 450,000 people each year in the United States and 18 countries worldwide.

For more information about Buckner Westminster Place, please visit the community website at www.bucknerwestminster.org or call Blake Lambert at (903) 252-6736.

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