Thursday, July 19, 2012

South Carolina Girl Scouts Learn to Work With Seniors

South Carolina's Aiken Standard reports that Hailey Barron and her fellow Girl Scouts recently visited the Hitchcock House assisted living facility - playing games and cards with the residents, even painting their nails.

"We're having fun today," said the Girl Scout. "Before coming today, I was really nervous, but this is exciting."

Barron and the others said it was a big help to travel earlier in the day to Aiken Technical College. They met with instructor Beth Williams' gerontology students, who conducted an age sensitivity workshop for the scouts.

"It's a way to illustrate age-related changes and show the Girl Scouts how they can adapt to being with older adults," Williams said.
In effect, the ATC students "aged" the Girl Scouts, said Kotonjua Johnson, a human services major.

"We showed the aging processes like the range of motion and how eyesight deteriorates," she said. "We got old pairs of glasses and smeared the lenses with vaseline. We taped their fingers so they had trouble buttoning buttons and writing. It was fun to work with the Girl Scouts."

Lori Beth Long, activities director at Hitchcock House, took a gerontology-based course from Williams at USC Aiken a few years ago. She was delighted to collaborate with her former professor on the project.

"These Girl Scouts are awesome and our residents love young children," Long said.

As they painted Nadine Gregory's nails, Tori Peacock and Preston Sigler were surprised to learn that Gregory is 91.

"I'm enjoying all this attention, really the royal treatment," Gregory said. "I never had any daughters, just two sons."