Student organization affects lives of the elderly

Kristina Burton

An organization on campus has been created to focus on a demographic that doesn’t typically weigh heavy on a college student’s mind: the elderly.

Companions of Respected Elders, or C.O.R.E., is a student organization that’s focused on pairing students with the senior citizens.

Central City senior Joseph Moore, President of C.O.R.E., got the idea to start the organization when his grandmother was put into a nursing home for Alzheimer’s disease.

“You don’t hear about how neglectful it can be in nursing homes,” Moore said. “I got to see the other side and see how they were treated or not treated.”

Moore said he decided to start C.O.R.E. so that other elderly people could have someone to talk to and share their wisdom with.

“It’s like a mentorship for us,” Moore said. “What could be better for someone who doesn’t know where their life is going to go than learning from someone who has already lived their life?”

Coldwater, Mich. senior and vice president of C.O.R.E. Morgan Gruner, works as a nurse in a nursing home and was excited to hear about the organization that Moore was starting.

“I could see the difference between those in the nursing home who had someone visit them every day and those who didn’t,” Gruner said. “I wanted to have a positive impact on my residents, and I felt like something like C.O.R.E. could help to do that.”

Dana Bradley, faculty advisor of C.O.R.E. and director of the Center for Gerontology, said her role is to lead programs, whether academic or research, in aging.

“We can do great outreach and research when we have students that are interested in working with older adults,” Bradley said. “C.O.R.E. is a great opportunity for students to spend short or long amounts of time with someone of a different age.”

C.O.R.E. has a regular meeting once a month. Sometimes instead of a meeting, they will go to a nursing home as a group and talk to the residents. The organization is looking forward to doing more activities within the nursing homes, including bingo, Christmas caroling and a Halloween party.

C.O.R.E. also held their first Zumbathon, a two-hour event that featured participants doing aerobics to hip-hop and Latin music, at the Preston Center last Friday to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. They are hoping to make it an annual event.

Moore said he wants the group’s future to grow and be impactful.

“I want everyone that doesn’t have someone to visit them every week to have someone to come and share their life with, because I don’t want anyone to be lonely in that situation,” he said. “I also want this impact to grow, because not a lot of universities have something like this.”

Gruner hopes to see C.O.R.E. become a sustainable program.

“This is the first year C.O.R.E. is starting as an official WKU program,” Gruner said. “We’re hoping to get a good group of solid, committed members so once we’re gone, it’ll carry on and not fall apart. I also hope that others feel as passionate as we do, because I’ve seen the impact that being happy has on residents.”

Bradley encourages all students to be involved with C.O.R.E. because we all have a connection to the aging process somehow.

“The alternative to aging is death,” Bradley said. “One of the things that is in our control is to embrace the aging within us.”

There are a lot of different ways to get involved and learn more about C.O.R.E. They will be having their first meeting today at 5:30 p.m. at Tate Page Hall 214 to discuss the schedule for the semester and enjoy pizza.

Wednesday is Grandparents Day, and C.O.R.E. is giving students the opportunity to thank their grandparents by signing the large card they will have set up outside the Women’s Studies Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

C.O.R.E. will also have a booth set up at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event at Preston Miller Park on Sept. 21at 9 a.m.