The Department of Nursing and the social work program of the Department of Sociology and Social Work at Hood College will work with the Frederick County Department of Aging (DOA) on a “Virtual Senior Center for Homebound Seniors.”
To launch the process, Caroline Kinna, a social work major and President of the Student Social Work Organization, attended a community meeting planned by the DOA and participated in the planning committee for this joint initiative. Students will attend orientation sessions at the DOA before pairing off in teams of social work and nursing students. The pairs will then bring iPads, purchased by the DOA, to the residences of homebound seniors and teach them how to use the technology and access Zoom, a virtual conference software, to extend their world beyond their home.
This project will connect homebound seniors with programs, services, and peers to reduce isolation and improve physical and mental health.
“We are committed to preparing students with practical experience, particularly in community service,” said Dr. Lynda Sowbel, Professor of Social Work, Director of Field Instruction, and Director of the Social Work Program. “With help from our students, participating seniors will be able to access the plethora of information located online and even take online courses offered by the DOA." In addition to providing technology education, the social work students will complete biopsychosocial assessments, while the nursing students will perform health assessments.
The collaboration between the DOA and Hood College will enable Hood to carry out dynamic programming that improves the lives of older adults in the county and provides students with the opportunity to learn and interact with community members. The program will launch in fall 2017.