MUSC Center on Aging Develops Innovative Senior Mentor Program

With more than 10,000 “baby boomers” turning 65 every day over the next 20 years, the medical community will have to prepare to meet the needs of this growing aging population. The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Center on Aging has created an innovative program designed to help their medical students develop the skills they will need to accommodate the elderly: the Senior Mentor Program.

The three main goals of the program are to provide a learning experience for MUSC medical students, to help reduce stereotypes about aging, and to improve the way future doctors care for older persons.

The program pairs healthy seniors from the community with medical students who are given a series of assignments to complete based on their interactions with their mentors, applying skills learned in the classroom. The assignments include: documenting medical history, monitoring blood pressure, conducting fall risk assessment, and completing a nutritional analysis, all in a comfortable, in-home setting.

The program will help students to gain valuable patient contact early in their schooling. It will help them to better understand the unique needs of the elderly. And it will help the medical community develop a positive, productive approach towards treatment of older adults.

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