Partnership with Cornell Estates offers dual benefit

This fall, residents of Cornell Estates Retirement & Assisted Living Residence are letting Pacific University students assess their ears, teeth, memory, speech, bodies and overall health.

As part of their studies, undergraduates of Pacific’s public health, occupational therapy, pharmacy, dental hygiene, healthcare administration, and audiology programs offer discounted and free services to residents while practicing new skills.

“The students are always looking for volunteers to help them with their field work,” said Cindy Cosenzo, who helps organizations with accompanying needs pair up through her business, AgeCelebration.

Here are examples of the program:

n Cornell Estates now has a permanent dental clinic, where Pacific students offer free and discounted preventative dental care for residents.

n Students of occupational therapy assist Cornell Estates residents with everyday activities that may become difficult with aging. Currently, they are working on a pilot project that calls for Pacific students to coach teams of residents to creatively solve problems, which is designed to provide cognitive health benefits.

n Audiology students set up hearing clinics in individuals’ apartments to practice hearing assessments.

n Speech and pathology students meet with the same Cornell Estates residents throughout the school year, performing memory strategies and tests, completing oral motor skills assessments and addressing issues such as swallowing.

“When students come back and meet with the same person, they see them as people,” Cosenzo said. “They really develop relationships, and the more students know their volunteer (client), the more likely they are to get real feedback about how they’re really doing.”

n A public health undergraduate student is currently interviewing Cornell Estates residents about their healthy lifestyles that led them to old age, and will pass along their tips to children so they can start practicing healthy habits early.

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