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BGSU students connecting with seniors to fight pandemic isolation

As part of a class project students are learning just how valuable a conversation can be for those in need.
As part of a class project students are learning just how valuable a conversation can be for...
As part of a class project students are learning just how valuable a conversation can be for those in need.(Jack Bassett)
Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 6:44 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - Students at Bowling Green State University are being taught that communication is key. Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Dr. Sandra Faulkner, says the pandemic has changed and restricted the way with now communicate with others.

“What we know from research is that we need social connection and it’s all part of social support and that network that we have,” says Dr. Faulkner.

Faulkner says the older population is among those most negatively impacted by lack of social interaction during the pandemic. As part of Dr. Faulkner’s spring semester communication course, she is giving her students hands-on experience building their social interaction skills, while also helping the health and well-being of the elderly.

“To actually get to talk to someone about those relationships and how things have changed, and what their needs are... Is better than any kind of textbook,” said Dr. Faulkner.

34 BGSU students host monthly Zoom conservations with members of Worthington Christian Village, a senior living facility located in Columbus.

“There has just been isolation to a whole new level, loneliness at a whole new level, and I think unfortunately a lot of elderly people are left behind,” said BGSU student Maria Duffy.

Generations and miles apart, students like Duffy use their laptops to engage with the elderly during their class time.

“Older generations and younger generations tend to be very combative and opposing,” said Duffy. “But it was very nice for us to come together and really just talk about life.”

Dr. Faulkner believes technology is bridging the gap and creating connections for those left battling social isolation throughout the last year, while also teaching students a valuable lesson along the way.

“It’s truly given me another sense of appreciation for the older generation I guess you can say,” says Duffy. “And I hope that the older generation is being appreciative of what we’re doing.”

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