On February 14th, a group of Ross Medical Education Center Kalamazoo, Michigan students in the Dental Assistant program and Medical Assistant program joined their instructors and visited the seniors of the Heritage Community Assisted Living Facility. The Ross crew visited the center under the guidance of the Kalamazoo campus morning Office Assistant Teressa Foster. Students and instructors did more than just visit, delivering 75 Valentines cards to residents with varying levels of dementia and decreased mobility, many of these residents receiving little to no visitors.
Students arrived at the Directors Hall at 10:00 a.m. and were greeted by the facility’s Life Enrichment Coordinator. The 10 Dental Assistant and Medical Assistant students in attendance were split up throughout the 3rd floor where residents in Level 3 care live as well as the 2nd floor with residents in Level 2 care. Ross students not only delivered Valentines to residents, but they also spent time with them. Teressa explained that a few of the ladies were very excited to show the students their rooms and their collectables. One man exclaimed, “you don’t know what this means to me!” “The hour of attention and care that Ross students gave to the seniors of Heritage Community was an eye opening experience that proved how much we yearn for companionship,” shared Jade Woodridge, Office Assistant. “One senior was so moved by his visitors that he was brought to tears.”
Of the overall experience, Teressa recounts, “the students were very humbled. I don’t think they had actually been to an assisted living facility before, and they were completely unaware of what the circumstances are with this population of seniors. Some of the comments were, ‘I want to work here’ and ‘I think I could really help some of these people if I worked here.’”
The staff, faculty, and students don’t want this to be their last visit to the facility. In fact, Shawna Blazok, the Dental Assistant Instructor in attendance, is going to look into further volunteering opportunities with Heritage. The Kalamazoo campus is very thankful to Teressa for organizing such a wonderful opportunity for the Ross Kalamazoo community and Heritage Community seniors!