While most college students choose to live on campus or in an off-campus apartment with their friends, Quinnipiac students Kevin Currie and Sarah Cullen are opting to live at Masonicare Ashlar Village, an assisted-living home, with senior citizens in Wallingford.
They arrived at their new home Tuesday morning, greeted by Masonicare staff, and residents hand them the keys to their rooms.
For the next year, Kevin and Sarah will be living at the senior and retirement community, providing care for at least eight hours a week to residents.
Masonicare Coordinator Grace Giannini said this is about breaking the stigma of ageism and showing how similar people can be, despite their age difference.
“Whether you’re an elder living here in this community, or you’re a college student coming in for the first time, it’s just people meeting people and getting along,” Giannini said.
This is the second year of Quinnipiac’s Students-In-Residence Program - a collaboration between the school and Masonicare.
The goal is to help students like Sarah and Kevin prepare for careers in elder care by providing an experience they can’t find in any classroom.
Sarah, a rising junior studying occupational therapy, has been waiting for this move-in date all summer.
“I’m just excited to hopefully make a difference here and put some smiles on some faces,” she said.
Kevin Currie, a graduate student studying for his MBA, is hoping this experience in eldercare will give him a better perspective of the aging community.
“In this country, we seem to forget these folks and I think that’s really sad because we can learn a lot from them,” he said.
Residents, like Alice Leighner, are just as excited to learn from their new neighbors.
“They bring a new perspective,” Leighner said, “and just fresh ideas. Keep us young. I think we’re just very lucky to have such nice people because they both are very lovely.”