The Timpany Center hosted the annual Senior Wellness Fair on October 24, 2015. The fair brought in over 500 attendees, with many students from San José State University’s (SJSU) College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA) volunteering to interact with the population.
The Senior Wellness Fair is a partnership between SJSU’s Center for Healthy Aging in Multicultural Populations (CHAMP), the Santa Clara County Department of Aging and Adult Services and the Timpany Center, now in its fifth year. CHAMP is an interdisciplinary effort that includes faculty from the School of Social Work, The Valley Foundation School of Nursing, Nutrition and Food Science, Kinesiology, Occupational Therapy as well as the departments of Psychology and Communicative Disorders and Sciences.
Sadhna Diwan, School of Social Work professor and director of CHAMP, said the fair offers SJSU students an opportunity to practice their communication skills, learn how to engage seniors in screenings and health education, and learn about the role of multiple disciplines and the array of community services available to promote wellness and healthy aging.
Students from the School of Social Work interacted with seniors using a poster board displaying facial expressions to identify mood change and depression. The students handed out community resource sheets and gave recommendations on how to seek help if some seniors are experiencing a low mood change.
Naomi Gomez, a social work graduate student, said she and her fellow students were there to educate seniors on mood changes that lead into depression in the aging population. “We are offering seniors today different support systems and referrals to help lift their moods or if they know of someone they can pass this useful information to,” said Gomez.
Don Tran, a public health graduate student, greeted seniors with his fellow students and provided body mass index screenings and blood pressure testing. Tran is working with the Pathways to American Indian and Alaska Native (PAAW) to introduce a diabetes prevention program. Tran said that the fair provides an opportunity to seek out potential participants to take part in the program that will provide participants with gym memberships, walking shoes, healthy meals and more.
“We are focused on improving health for American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and all indigenous heritage population of Santa Clara County,” Tran said while handing out information packets to participants during the fair.
The Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging (NuFS) students provided information on food insecurities and healthy hydration methods. Kristian Ghazal, NuFS graduate student, said she volunteered to encourage seniors to buy local foods and where they can use CalFresh EBT cards.
Ghazal presented each visitor with an informational poster that highlighted healthy food options during each season of the year and reasons why the community should buy foods from local farmers. “Everyone attending the fair today should know where and how to get fresh foods from local farmers,” said Ghazal as she talked about the importance of seniors needing to maintain a healthy diet and supporting local farmers.
Susan Ross, Health Science and Recreation lecturer, and undergraduate students offered leisure interest screenings. Lovegifty Dudero, HSR undergraduate student, said she used the screening to talk with seniors about what they like to do on their free time. The results of the assessment identifies strengths and weaknesses of leisure activities such as physical, outdoor, mechanical, artistic, service, social, cultural and reading activities.
“From the results we can provide different leisure activities to help improve their weaknesses,” Dudero said, after finishing an assessment.
“Learning is one of the most life giving things a person can do,” said Ross, as she explained the goal of the student volunteers to teach people how to gain more novelty using the leisure screening. Other activities from NuFS included aging myths and aroma therapy.
An additional amount of students from SJSU volunteered their time to assist with various tasks at the fair. Desiree Barton, Daniela Zea and Chantelle Patel, School of Journalism and Mass Communications (JMC) undergraduate students, volunteered to take pictures of the event and interview seniors who attend.
“One of the most resourceful things for them is that everything is in one place and the free flu shots,” said Patel, after interviewing senior participants.
The JMC students plan to use the pictures and video interviews to create a video for CHAMP to spread awareness of the Senior Wellness Fair.
For more on CHAMP, click here.