TEACHER ENRICHMENT INITIATIVES

Activity 5A: Active Elders

The teacher needs to invite an elderly person to the classroom as a guest speaker who represents positive, successful aging . This individual should represent an elderly person who has developed and maintained mental and physical activities throughout their life. Develop a scenario of this individual to read to the class prior to the lesson. The teacher may refer to the activities below as an example of descriptions to include in developing the scenario:

  • works with wood, refinishes furniture, makes birdhouses
  • loves to work in the garden, can grow African Violets, Bonsai plants or roses
  • maintains a fish pond
  • is writing a book on growing up in East Texas
  • takes a computer class, actively works with the computer
  • does volunteer work with the church counseling all age groups
  • volunteers at a hospital putting in medical data for physicians
  • loves to read regularly
  • works out in a gym three times a week
  • has no major health problems
  • does not take any prescription medications

The day the teacher invites the elderly guest into the classroom, do not let the students see the guest at first. Begin the lesson by telling the students you are going to describe a person to them. They are to listen, and, then guess the age, amount of education, and gender of the individual. Write the responses on the board. Now, invite the speaker to come into the classroom. Ask the students to engage in conversation with this elderly person by asking questions about their life. Tell them their task is to listen to the activities the speaker mentions to determine the characteristics which enables this person to age successfully. Write the students' responses on the blackboard. Students should conclude the following tips as suggested by Douglas Powell, Ph.D., author of Profiles in Cognitive Aging:

  • develop a variety of interests through new friendships, travel and other pursuits
  • learn new things
  • stay in touch with the younger generation and do things you like
  • become particularly good at something

Ask the students to think about anyone they may know who is like the guest speaker. Ask for volunteers to share their thoughts.

Keywords: 

Health promotion, older friend, listen, interview

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Activity Code: 
5A
Unit Reference: 
It's All in Your Mind
Lesson Reference: 
Lesson 5: Changes As Our Brains Age