There is much talk about the distance between The Greatest Generation and The Millennial Generation, but during the week of November 7-11, 2011, ALFA made an effort to narrow that gap. Twenty-two year old Jackie Kerin, an ALFA public policy associate spent five days living the life of a typical resident of a senior living community in an initiative called Fifty Years in Five Days.
Ms. Kerin became a resident of Emeritus Senior Living at Deep Run in Richmond, VA., eating the food, sleeping in a resident apartment, and engaging in day-to-day activities—just like any other resident in the community. During the week, Ms. Kerin interviewed residents and staff, recorded her experiences through and shared them in a vlog format here at alfa.org/50in5. Jackie Kerin, DCJacqueline, also tweeted via #ALFA50in5 and encouraged followers to tweet any questions that they had about seniors, residents and/or senior living communities.
22-Year-Old Blogger Infiltrates Senior Living Community for a Week of Insights
At the end of the week, Ms. Kerin reflected on her experience and developed a list of her top ten impressions in a Press Release titled, Top Ten Impressions About Senior Living from a Young Adult.
The main messages taught through the Fifty Years in Five Days
- Seniors are social. They continue to form close relationships throughout life.
- Seniors stay engaged in the larger community through volunteering, etc.
- Seniors are actively engaged in current events and even the latest celebrity gossip!
- Residents exercise their mind and body- Taking exercise classes and going for outdoor walks, senior living residents are physically active. Seniors also take care of their minds by doing puzzles and teaching skills to one another.
- Seniors continue to do the hobbies they enjoy –For example, gardening, painting, playing music, playing games (including Wii), etc.
- Residents love to learn- Seniors are constantly learning and growing and they have many educational opportunities. Some educational programs are even taught by other residents.
- Seniors value their independence – Residents often talked about how fortunate they feel to live in an environment that nourishes independence.
By sharing Ms. Kerin’s experiences in ALFA’s Fifty Years in Five Days program, ALFA’s goal was to help the public challenge and overcome misperceptions about seniors and senior living communities.
Fifty Years in Five Days Blog
Justin Worrell Assistant Director of Government Affairs
I have finished my stay at Emeritus at Deep Run and I must say that I learned a lot in five short days. The insights garnered through interacting with residents and staff, participating in activities, and exploring the community inside and out will help make me a better ALFA employee, family member, and overall person.