Research Projects

Living Legends: Inspiration and Education for the Next Generation of Health Professionals

Funded By: Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

Year Funded: 2013

Tracy Chippendale, Assistant Professor at NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy, New York University
Perry Halkitis, Professor of Applied Psychology, Public Health and Medicine; Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Global Institute of Public Health, New York University

Abstract

This study will use an innovative community based program to improve the psychosocial well-being of community dwelling seniors, a key factor in maintaining independence in activities of daily living and quality of life. The program also targets image of aging and interest in working with elders among future healthcare professionals. The program incorporates a writing workshop for seniors, where they will learn to write and share stories about their life in a chronological sequence and reflect back on their lives as a whole. The intervention includes: a presentation of writing tips, and the opportunity to read written work aloud and receive positive feedback on writing technique. Specific writing prompts are given each week that relate to a specific decade of life. The writing workshop will be followed by an intergenerational exchange, based on the senior’s writing, with college students who are pursuing health science degrees. Previous studies by Dr. Chippendale have shown a statistically and clinically significant greater improvement in depressive symptoms for participants in the life review writing group as compared to the control group. This program will take place in four NYC NORC/senior center sites.