New UWM Course Takes Students Out of the Classroom and into a Retirement Community

Aug 7, 2015

Census predictions hold that within 20 years, the percentage of senior citizens in this country will reach a historic high. With this, comes far-reaching implications. Many more people graduating from college today will need to work in fields that relate to older adults.

That fact is the basis for a unique collaboration between UW-Milwaukee’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare and the St. John’s on the Lake retirement community.

"There weren't a lot of young people interested in working with older adults, so I thought the place we needed to start was with an undergraduate population - to focus a course around undoing some of the myths and stereotypes young people have about older adults," Rachelle Alioto says. She is director of education and programming at the Center of Aging and Translational Research at UW-Milwaukee.

Aged to Perfection is a new course that will be starting this fall. It will take students out of the classroom and into St. John's on the Lake. Through immersion and interaction with seniors, the course will look at aging from psychological, physical and societal perspectives.

"We could learn a lot about how we've changed and how people change by sort of working in a variety of roles with a variety of younger people," say Jean Tyler, resident and on the Board of Directors at St. John’s on the Lake.