One class at the University of Minnesota gives some medical students hands-on experience in caring for senior citizens, while also becoming their friends, according to NECN.com.
The program, which is taught by professor Ed Ratner, pairs a student with a socially isolated senior in a housing complex. Many have meals and participate in activities with their partner, while living in the residence.
"Part of the idea is to change the general feeling of the apartment building by having some younger people the tenants can interact with so it can create a more useful and energetic environment for everybody," Ratner told the news provider.
Another benefit of the initiative is the benefits to a senior's safety and health that a friendship. Both participants can learn from one another and, as was the case last spring, a watchful eye can sometimes prevent serious injury. A senior named Ethel, 101, fell and injured herself, but student Lindy Watanaskul was there at her side, and visited her in the hospital.
Seniors living on their own may want to consider installing a medical alert system in their home. These devices enable older adults to instantly contact friends, family and doctors in the case of an emergency.