SSU gerontology students, RP seniors in confab Feb. 18
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By Jud Snyder  February 10, 2011 10:18 pm

Budget cuts at Sonoma State University forced a shutdown last year of the “Connections Across Generations” program involving gerontology students at SSU meeting with seniors at Rohnert Park’s Senior Center. But the momentum wasn’t lost, and now the discussion group picks up where it left off after a year’s hiatus. Friday, Feb. 18, it’s back in its familiar time slots with a morning session from 10:30 to 11:30 and an afternoon session from 1 to 2 p.m.

“It was a struggle to revive the program,” said Madeleine Rose, Ph.D, professor at SSU and coordinator of the program. “The School of Social Sciences went out of their way to bring it back. They also heard complaints from the seniors when the program was dropped for a year. They wrote to SSU protesting the curtailment. They’ve participated with us for 10 years and now we’re beginning the 11th year.”

Dr. Rose will describe the program and introduce her students at the two meetings Feb. 18. “It’s usually three or four students and about eight to 10 seniors.

“The topics are wide-ranging, from immigration to computers, music trends, world events, career choices and economic problems.

“The mixture of students and seniors always creates a lively exchange of views and many questions,” she added. “It can get personal, too. I remember one student, broken-hearted, for her relationship ended with her boyfriend and it had shattered her. She sought advice from the seniors and they provided several views and options for the girl.”

Dr. Rose said each session is different, for there are so many topics students and seniors can thrash out in an informal, free thinking talk fest.

SSU’s School of Social Sciences has a minor in gerontology and its gaining in enrollment. Dr Rose pointed out in 2030 one in five adults in America will be seniors 65 years of age or older.

Space in the “Connections Across Generations sessions” is limited. For additional information, call the RP Senior Center at 585-6780 or Dr. Rose at 887-2400. Or drop in at the Senior Center to register.

“This group really helps to break down stereotypes, foster friendships and create mutual understanding,” said Dr. Rose.

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