PITTSBURG — Pittsburg State University students sat around the living room coffee table at Gran Villas Assisted Living and played games with the residents — reminiscent of family game night.

For eight weeks PSU Therapeutic Interventions for Adults class visited the residents to do activities and games which keep the residents active and to bring joy.  

Monday was the students’ last day to visit the residents, they had an “amazing race” where they  teamed up and played various winter season-themed games.

Human Health Performance and Recreation Assistant Professor Laura Covert said the benefits of bringing her class to Gran Villas is two-fold. The students received hands-on experience before graduating college and the residents were challenged physically and cognitively, she said.

“It does not only help the residents, but also helps students,” She said. “It helps them learn about aging and about themselves, how to lead and help them practice and adapt.

“It helps them discover that there is more to it than just leading activities when they come here, and realize their impact on life.”

Gran Villas Activity Director Gloria VanPelt agreed,

“It really does affect them,” she said.

VanPelt said the students’ presence leaves a positive mark on the residents especially since many do not have families who visit.
“This means a lot, especially during this time of year,” she said.

The engaging activities were created by the students — including volleyball, darts, bing-bag toss, hula hoop toss, word searches, crafts and more.

“We work with fine motor skills and gross motor skills and rhythm —there is a lot going on,” she said. “We work with depth perception, and cognition too because they have to keep score.”

The students made connections with their resident through the activities along with listening and writing about their story.

PSU Student Ashten Clark helped her team residents complete a word search puzzle at the dining room table.

She and her classmates guided the residents by asking them questions as to where the letters were located. There was laughter and smiling throughout the challenge of completing the puzzle.

“It just makes me them happy and it makes us happy,” Clark said. “They have fun with us.”

Her team’s residents agreed.

Covert said to see the students’ journey at Gran Villas throughout the semester, follow their Instagram at pittstatehhpr.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.