Geriatric Studies at Kendal On Hudson

Medical students from New York Medical College in their final year are attending Kendal as part of their rotation studies in geriatrics. Unlike many of the geriatric programs and communities they have seen, Kendal offers a different approach to healthy aging through the wellness and fitness programs offered to residents, the health care provided, and the educational and lecture series given.

This is seen as a much different prospective on the aging process.

"I was amazed at the wellness programs offered to residents who participate in Tai Chi, Yoga, stretching and chair exercises. It’s this approach to aging that you just don’t see in the nursing facilities where we have been trained" said one student who will specialize in internal medicine. "This philosophy on healthy aging benefits the whole person in body, spirit and mind."

The students have interacted and observed the clinical staff in rehabilitation and care planning. This has provided an interdisciplinary approach to resident care plan sessions that include goal setting, family participation and home care discharge plans. It has allowed students to observe the healthcare team and the role that would be anticipated as a future primary physician.

Each student will pursue a specialty that includes neurology, pediatric oncology, pathology, and emergency medicine.

A retired psychiatrist and a resident at Kendal offered a poignant and direct point of view to the students. "Moving to a retirement community forces you to settle your finances, deciding which adult child to move closer to, and these are decisions not usually discussed. And each of us experience some measure of loss, whether it is giving up driving or emptying a house filled with years of memories. Of course, the most profound loss of all is the death of a spouse." At Kendal I can live independently as much as possible and my wife and I will be taken care of medically for the rest of our lives."

"The staff here is quite impressive," said another student who will specialize in emergency medicine. "I was told by a resident the staff is fabulous; they are always available to talk and listen and will do anything they can. From a clinical point of view, when you are healthy, having a community is so valued and important, but when someone is dealing with an illness or recovering from an injury, the residents and staff are the support system. That is key and extremely important in the healing process. I see an incredible will to live from the residents at Kendal. I want to see more of this philosophy and culture practiced in medicine especially when we care for our most senior patients."

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About the Author: Gemma Maver