Students in Otterbein Health Professions Club Lead Project for Senior Citizens

Posted Nov 20, 2020

By Madelyn Nelson ’23 

Members of Otterbein’s Health Professions Club saw widespread feelings of loneliness and isolation among residents of assisted living facilities caused by COVID-19 restrictions, including limiting visits with family and friends. Otterbein students responded by writing over 90 cards with encouraging words and vibrant colors to brighten the days of those residents.  

“Many of these students work in skilled nursing facilities and in hospitals to gain valuable patient-care experience, and they have witnessed the toll that COVID has had on healthcare workers and senior citizens who miss visits from their loved ones and families,” said Shelley Payne, associate professor of allied health and faculty advisor of the club. 

According to Payne, the idea was proposed when the Health Professions Club’s executive board met last summer to brainstorm ways they could “gather” in socially distant ways and do something positive for their community.  

“The mission of the club is to be of service to our community and allow students to learn more about entering a life of service as a healthcare provider,” said Payne. The student-led group promotes professional development, networking and community service. 

Not only did the project bring joy to the senior citizens, but it provided a social outlet for students, as well.  

“We listened to music, the students talked with each other, and you could tell they felt good to be taking time in their week to spread some cheer to the senior citizens who are missing visitors,” Payne said.  

Gabby Cox, a sophomore allied health major, participated in the project. “I put in every card that I made, ‘Remember to smile today,’ to remind them of the joy of a simple smile. Giving them something to brighten their day was so rewarding,” she said. 

 “Just to know that the cards we made were sent to encourage the senior citizens, and let them know that we care about them, was so great,” she added.  

Learn more about Health and Sport Sciences and Nursing at Otterbein.