Elderly people in Cornwall and Devon have been helping the next generation of nurses by giving their time and insights into their lives.
A group of nursing students held a focus group with members of the older generation to gain a further understanding of issues facing them and their families.
The Access to Higher Education in Nursing students from Cornwall College Saltash spoke to the group about various sensitive issues from care plans, how they feel about getting older and possibly losing some independence to how they have settled into retirement.
Lecturer for Access to Higher Education at Cornwall College Saltash, Norma Barrett, said “the older age visitors the class met are shining examples of the Activity Theory, which states that, as we age, it is everyone’s duty to stay active and part of society”.
“In the UK many mid-aged parents find they are looking after their young school-aged children as well as elderly parents. If everyone took an individual and collective responsibility to maintain health, this would also aid the NHS budget,” she continued.
Student Sarah Rochester who lives in Plymouth, found it “a very informative session”.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to ask some questions relating to theories we are currently studying,” she continued.
“Our visitors were really honest with their answers and discussed issues ranging from politics to death.”
“It was really inspirational to hear their stories and what they have achieved so far in life. In the jobs we all hope to go on to we will need to discuss hard issues like this, so it’s important we develop these skills,” Sarah continued.
“I am an older student going back to education to change my career, it is challenging, but definitely achievable. I would definitely recommend Cornwall College Saltash to those looking to study an Access course, the feedback I have received from universities whilst completely my UCAS form has been really promising.”
Judith McQuillen, who is 69 and was part of the focus group, found it “reassuring that the mature students at Cornwall College Saltash are so confident, sensible and thoughtful. I enjoyed being interviewed by them and wish them well with their future university courses.”
She was joined by Valerie Bullock, 84 years old, who said “it is great that so many fabulous students are going into the caring profession. Talking with them has made me realise one fundamental point, that life is so precious.”