Alex and I have been grading final exams this week for our online course “Gero 407 – Caregiving”. We co-teach this class to students who are majoring in gerontology at Western Oregon University.

After reading 26 papers, my heart is filled with joy. THEY GOT IT!!!

One student wrote, “I thought I knew a lot about caregiving, but I was wrong!” Another young woman who works in social services said she and her co-workers have always tried to be kind and understanding when a family caregiver came to them and said, “I can’t do this any more!” She said she now understands why. As she goes forward in her career, she will have more empathy and will be more proactive in finding help for family caregivers. Several students proposed ideas on how caregiver support could and should be increased through government, community, faith-based and online programs.

At the beginning of the term most of the students said they had chosen gerontology because they had a special relationship with a grandparent. When they graduate in a few months and start their careers, they will take that love and respect for older people along with their knowledge, skills and youthful passion into the workplace. I feel so honored and privileged that Alex and I have had the opportunity to help them get prepared.