by Sherry Macy
Friendsview’s close proximity to a major university offers residents multiple opportunities for intergenerational connections. Audit a class, build team spirit and cheer for the Bruins, worship at a chapel service, stroll the beautiful campus, attend a play or concert, sip coffee at Bridge Cafe, browse the library stacks—that’s a long list already, but we’ve recently added another.
Friendsview volunteer-in-residence Gillian Berry accumulated 400+ hours of volunteer service over the course of three years simply to qualify for George Fox University’s doctoral physical therapy program. Residents at a senior living community in her hometown of Salem, Oregon, benefited as she gained experience in her chosen field, following in her mother’s footsteps. And now that Gillian has moved into her Friendsview residence, she is gradually getting to meet her neighbors on the 5th floor of the Manor on the main campus. The inset photo shows Gillian at a special 5th-floor hallway gathering to welcome her to the neighborhood.
Gillian had been commuting from Salem, so when her cohort presented Friendsview’s experimental “intergenerational” program—which included room and board—Gillian saw it as a winwin opportunity to gain experience and friendships with older adults.
Under the supervision of Nancy Navejas, Friendsview’s therapeutic recreation coordinator, Gillian follows a weekly schedule of on-campus classwork and appointed physical therapy sessions with Friendsview residents. While she can’t yet prescribe, she is fully trained in maintaining a program recommended for a resident by a board-certified therapist.
Her final board exams will cover all ages, but her interests have narrowed toward geriatrics, neural rehabilitation, spinal cord injuries, and symptoms relating to Parkinson’s Disease. But special attention, particularly for Friendsview residents, will focus on healthy aging, what’s normal and what’s not. “I want to encourage residents to stay active,” she adds.
Gillian gets acquainted with the residents who come to her for physical therapy, but she also finds favorable places to get acquainted with other residents as well.