While preventive and management measures are important to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, strategies like social distancing can have devastating effects on older adults who are already at risk for social isolation and loneliness. In response, two Colleges of Health Professions (Social Work and Nursing) at a large public University leveraged a partnership with a national health and wellbeing company to address social isolation and loneliness in Houston area older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. This intergenerational linkage initiative involved 707 older adults and 177 graduate social work and nursing students. This study describes the process of developing a virtual educational opportunity for students while also meeting the needs of vulnerable older adults in Houston, the third largest, and one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. Findings include student/learner outcomes, as well as self-reported improvements in loneliness scores, and unhealthy physical and mental health days among enrolled older adults.
Adepoju, O. E., Jennings, S., Schrader, P., Reeve, K., McManaman-Bridges, T., Gilbert, L., King, B., Dobbins, J., Rollins, A., Cockerell, T., Woodard, L., & Torres-Hostos, L. (2022). Leveraging Public-Private Partnerships During COVID-19: Providing Virtual Field Opportunities for Student Learners and Addressing Social Isolation in Older Adults. Journal of applied gerontology : the official journal of the Southern Gerontological Society, 7334648221087120. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/07334648221087120