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Friends of the Elderly club connects with seniors on Presidents Day

February 24th, 2013 Posted in Arts and Life

By Tricia Olson, McCarty Hatfield, Rhys Stephens, Brooke Larsen and Landon Graham
The Blue Streak

LOGAN—For many people, Presidents Day represents a chance to take a long weekend in the middle of a long winter. For Beverly Brown, it was a chance to reminisce about leaders that most Americans cannot remember.

elderlyBrown, a resident at Carl Inoway Senior Housing in Logan, was among the eager participants in a presidentially themed trivia contest hosted by Utah State University’s Friends of the Elderly club, which meets twice a week with tenants at Inoway and Williamsburg Retirement Community. The student volunteers spend time building relationships with the residents through various activities.

On Tuesday, topics ranged from which three presidents were assassinated in office (the unlucky leaders were Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and William McKinley) to which president’s wife found a rat while swimming in the pool (that would be Barbara Bush.)

The residents were enthralled and constantly shouted out answers, often about commanders in chief they remembered from lives lived during one of the most tumultuous eras of American history.

Brown is particularly fond of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. “He always did what should be done,” she said.

Brown has been an Inoway resident for almost two years and appreciates the social aspect of the weekly event. Without it, she said, she wouldn’t have much of a social life.

“I don’t like to go to things that are really crowded so I don’t go out much,” Brown said. “The activities are so entertaining, I’ve never missed one. They remind me of my younger years.”

Michael Long, a junior majoring in bio-veterinary science, said events like Tuesday’s trivia session are a great way to benefit seniors and students alike.

“You have to walk a fine line between satisfying both students and residents,” Long said. “I try to tailor the activities so everyone can have fun. We always want as many volunteers as well as residents involved and have a different activity each week to keep both groups intrigued.”

Abi Christian, a freshman majoring in music therapy, initially got involved with the club because of her love for the senior community.”

“At freshman orientation there was a service booth that had all the service clubs listed,” Christian said. “I really wanted to get involved with service and Friends of the Elderly was the one that looked particularly interesting.”

Christian said the older generation is unappreciated. Tuesday’s event — in which they shared stories and experiences about parts of history that might otherwise be forgotten — demonstrates their lasting value.

“They are the jewels of society,” Christian said. “We should go to them. They don’t get credited as they should.”



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