Spring 2017 Stillwater High School L.I.F.E. Sessions
Active Aging at Stillwater High School
With funding from the College of Human Sciences and a DaVinci Institute Fellowship award, this past March, 2017 the Alliance on Aging brought together teams of older adult age 65+ and college age students age 18-25 to help lead the Active Aging for L.I.F.E. program for Stillwater High School Family and Consumer Sciences Department (FACSED) students . The presentation teams were comprised of individuals who have previously taken part in the Active Aging for L.I.F.E. programming in 2016. Short videos, lectures and activities were presented in four sessions on the L.I.F.E. topics to the high school students, each followed by small group discussions allowing the high school students to discuss their perceptions and understanding of the presented topics, and address how their current choices may impact their future self. The high school students also participated in a pre-initiative/post-initiative survey to gauge awareness and understanding of balancing the four domains of longevity, independence, fitness and engagement in their lives and the lives of the older adults that they come in contact with (i.e. relatives, church groups, etc.).
For many of the high school students, this program was the first time that they had been introduced to the topics in the program, impacting their perceptions and behaviors around aging topics, as well their understanding of health and wellbeing across the life course. The opportunity to have older adult and college age student teams present the material to the high school students allowed for intergenerational relationships to form to further benefit community building relating to health and wellness issues in Oklahoma. A total of 75 students participated in the programming. A separate control group of 30 students received no programming. The research study findings were analyzed and there are statistically significant differences between the test and control groups. The test group were particularly impacted by the sessions in the areas of independence and longevity, underscoring the importance of programming for emerging adults to understand that their trajectory of aging will be impacted by their healthy choices and behaviors throughout the life course.