Educating for an Aging Population: Intergenerational Learning Within the Therapeutic Recreation Classroom
Keywords:Therapeutic recreation curriculum, aging, intergenerational learning, qualitative research
AbstractAs our population ages, therapeutic recreation (TR) students must be prepared for careers with older adults. Research indicates that students are rarely interested in careers with seniors, yet intergenerational programs provide a means of changing ageist attitudes. In this study, we explored the experiences of seminar volunteers and students within student-led intergenerational learning seminars in a TR course focused on aging. We interviewed six seminar volunteers and six students. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Findings revealed several meanings of intergenerational interactions, including learning from each other, changing perspectives, connecting and contributing, and being engaged in learning. Students and seniors reported several factors that limited meaningful interactions, such as lack of preparation and ambiguity about the seminars themselves. Even with these challenges, intergenerational seminars were useful for changing attitudes about aging and older adults. Incorporation of similar seminars with other groups may be beneficial for the growth of TR curricula.
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