UNC Partnerships on Aging Program’s mission statement is to facilitate vibrant University-Community collaboration, academic exploration, and creative solution-building to cultivate age-embracing people and communities. Students, faculty, community organizations, and elders are engaged in innovative, aging-related projects that provide reciprocal learning and service opportunities. UNC-Chapel Hill is also further integrating aging content into academic study.
UNC Partnership on Aging Program helps create communities where every age is celebrated and supported and where elderhood is viewed as a time for continued adaptation, growth, and contribution. This partnership has been responsible with many tasks including but not limited to a senior housing guide, overseeing graduate student interns placed with the Coalition, PeeWee Homes, assisting in the Master Aging Plan (five-year road map for all things aging in Orange County) process, and partnering with HOPE NC to help with design/service structure for housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and older adults to provide mutual support (UNC Cares Collective Impact Award)
Student interns had the following to say about how their PIAP experience influenced their own aging:
– Working with UNC Partnerships in Aging has made me realize what a gift diversity in aging is. In the past, I have felt self-conscious about my youth and have come to understand that unique perspectives are important. On the other side, I see those older than me as having such important context and lived experiences and I am excited to get to that point.
– Seeing the investment of community partners who were themselves older adults opened my eyes to a part of aging I had not really thought about. I was open to the world of medical care for the elderly, and maybe some independent activities but not the ways they can remain involved in the world
– UNC Partnerships in Aging has influenced my thinking about my own aging in many ways. It made me think about how I can start planning ahead and start to think about how I can be prepared as I age and as my close family members age. It has also made a difference in how I think about aging as a whole. I have learned to be more cautious in my thought process and how aging should be discussed in different environments.
UNC Partnerships in Aging Program has many other programs outside of housing including the Solo Agers Initiative which meets monthly with community members, crafting topic areas to explore, speakers to bring in, social connections to be made and the Interprofessional Education in Geriatrics program which convenes health profession students (10-11 disciplines) and form interdisciplinary teams to do case-based exercises focused on aging. You can learn more about these programs and the partnership at https://partnershipsinaging.unc.edu.