Students gain valuable experience at wellness event

by Oct 24, 2012 11:46 pm Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Students from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts volunteered yesterday at The Senior Wellness Fair designed to teach senior citizens the best practices for maintaining good physical and mental health.

Many departments from SJSU and the College of Applied Sciences and Arts were represented at the wellness fair, which is in its third year in San Jose and first at the Roosevelt Community Center.

Students from SJSU’s departments of nursing, health science, social work, kinesiology, occupational therapy and nutrition all had booths that offered different blends of knowledge and services relating to issues many senior citizens deal with everyday.

The Senior Wellness Fair was co-sponsored by the Center for Healthy Aging and Multicultural Populations (CHAMP), CommUniverCity, and Santa Clara County’s Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS).

CHAMP combines their aging research expertise with the other groups’ mission to get students and seniors more involved in the community.

“It’s a neat experience for the students," said Sadhna Diwan, the director of CHAMP.  “Most haven’t really worked with senior citizens in the community before.”

Jane Zaiko, a senior majoring in psychology and fine arts, ran the joint psychology and social work booth and plans to pursue graduate school in the future.

“I’m doing this to get a little more involved in the community,” Zaiko said. “I’m at the stage where I’m trying to get a little more experience working with the population that needs help.”

The booth focused on gauging the stress and anxiety level of  seniors, with additional information about local counseling and volunteering available to go with tips for effective mental health.

The nutrition department hosted a game that challenged senior citizens to guess what percentage of a meal plate should be fruits and vegetables and offered recipes for those concerned with blood-sugar levels.

“I benefit from (the event) just as much as the (senior citizens) do,” said Sylvia Klos, a nutrition major who ran the booth “Being able to participate here is a great way for me to see the different kinds of resources they have for older adults.”

Other student volunteers had booths administering tests on balance, physical activity readiness, blood pressure and ways to manage a healthy heart.

Most student-run booths featured different kinds of interaction, and results were personalized based on how participants fared.

Erin Woodhead, an assistant professor of psychology, supervised some students involved in the fair and said it should be a long-lasting experience they can use after their education at SJSU is complete.

“It seems like they really want hands-on experience to see if this is the helping profession that they want to get into,” Woodhead said.  “The feedback is that they want more experiences like this, to get them out in the community and get them interfacing with populations they very possibly may work with.”

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