Students benefit from health promotion partnership

The College of Health and Applied Sciences has partnered with the College Square?s Retirement Community to help promote healthy living in a senior?s life.

The UCA Health Promotion program allows students to get hands-on training while seniors living at College Square benefit from free services.

The program was first designed before College Square was even built. Former President Win Thompson had seen a program similar to this one on other campuses and he envisioned UCA having a retirement community where the residents could not only maintain, but also enhance their independent living environment.

Dr. Neil Hattlestad, dean of the College of Health and Applied Sciences, also played a role in building this vision. He, along with Thompson, consulted the architect about adding special rooms that students could use to practice what they learned in the classroom on the senior citizens residing in the retirement community.

The main purpose of the Health Promotion program is to give information and show different skills to the residents in order to keep active and to stay healthy.

Hattlestad said, ?I believe this is a good opportunity for students to work with a different generation. This way they can learn how to adapt to this type of population.?

Students of many different health-related fields have been involved with this program. The major programs that have participated are occupational therapy, kinesiology, dietetics, physical therapy and nursing.

The first activities began in February and were held every Wednesday for several months. Two of the most successful activities held were hand massages given by the physical therapy students and a presentation given by Dr. Reta Zabel, associate professor of physical therapy, instructing the seniors on the precautions of preventing a stroke.

The students also provide one-on-one services to the seniors as part of the promotion program. Two prime examples of these services are the physical therapy students worked with individuals teaching them how to regain flexibility and they taught the seniors how to use a walker.

All of the individually-focused services are almost like a clinical for the students. Hattlestad said, ?These assignments allow the students to gain knowledge of these tasks performed, but also it gives them some experience before they enter the workforce.?

-Anna Lacy