Local Slippery Rock Students and Seniors See the Benefits of a Unique Partnership

Seniors in Mercer and Lawrence counties can now enroll in the program

(WKBN) – Slippery Rock University and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging teamed up this fall to connect recreational therapy students with local seniors.

Dianne Holzshu, one of the Hermitage participants, said it was a wonderful experience.

She would meet with her student once or twice a week by phone, much like a telehealth check-up.
They played games and exchanged stories.

“It’s nice if you live alone or even if you don’t. I was looking forward to it. I liked that. It was different; it was. I’ve never experienced anything like this, and I’m old enough, and I really enjoyed it, yes, ”she said.

The program continues and expands for Slippery Rock’s spring semester.

Seniors in Mercer County are still eligible, but now seniors in Lawrence County, as well as other counties in Pennsylvania, can also apply.

Holzshu said she wanted more people to try the program.

If you are interested, you can call 724-662-6222 in Mercer County or 724-658-3729 if you live in Lawrence County.

While it’s clear that seniors can benefit from a program like this, the students involved say they’ve been affected more than they expected.

Slippery Rock senior Megan Hutchman from East Liverpool chatted with her senior at least once a week on the phone.

As they exchanged stories and casually chatted, she was also able to guide him through relaxation and stretching exercises.

Hutchman said it was not only excellent recreational therapy practice, but it also gave him experience in conducting a telehealth visit.

“I was able to develop a relationship with him and gain this experience of building a relationship, a therapeutic relationship where I hear about his experiences, and then I was also able to practice clarification and paraphrasing skills, so c ‘was really beneficial, and I think that will help me when I graduate, ”she said.

Without the COVID-19 pandemic, students would have had the option of in-person therapy, but Hutchman said she sees how important telehealth has become to the industry and how it will likely continue to play a role. important in the future.

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