College of Western Idaho's (CWI) Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program students are using the tools they've learned on campus to help seniors within the community lead healthy, active lives. Faculty and students within the program have been participating in Chateau de Boise Independent Living Facility's Active Aging Week.
Students have visited the assisted living facility over the last week to present different fall prevention and fall risk reduction topics, such as the need to stay active as people age and tips to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. They were also able to provide screenings for hearing and vision, and referred residents for further in-depth exams with an audiologist and optometrist if issues were noted. Issues with range-of-motion, strength, and balance often contribute to falls and were also tested by the students.
Students made sure to emphasize the importance of getting annual vision exams and obtaining a hearing exam at least once every 10 years from the age of 40 on.
Next week, students will provide home assessments to residents of the community and give recommendations for ways to adapt the resident's home environment to reduce fall risk.
"We are very grateful to the Chateau de Boise community for providing us with such a great opportunity. We hope we provided a valuable service to the residents of their community, and we know our students gained a lot of valuable learning experience from the residents," said OTA program Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and Instructor, Angela Zaugg. "We partner every semester with community organizations, which allows our students the opportunity to receive hands-on experience in providing occupational therapy interventions with people of all ages."
This experience was part of the Fieldwork Level I, Placement 3 course (OTA 180), which requires each student to obtain 45 hours of hands-on experience each semester of didactic course work and prepares them for their 16 weeks of clinical rotations in the spring semester.
The students who took part in Active Aging Week will be the first cohort of graduating students from CWI’s OTA program this spring.