Forgotten Elders
Jeannie Hollstein
teaches Biology at Charlestown High School.

Students:Grade 9 Biology class

Charlestown High Health Center, Nurse Practitioner Robin Kevit
Sherrill House, Director of Nursing, Helen Brown, Nurse Practitioner Marie Esposito

Classroom Activities
Read & research aging & diseases that affect senior citizens
View PBS film The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's
Record reflections on the elderly in journals
Write essays about a personal experience with an elderly person
Agree to visit Sherrill House, a skilled nursing facility
Prepare pamphlets on elders' diseases & create Display Board encouraging peers to remember the elderly
Community Activities
Discuss age related diseases & view visuals with school's Nurse Practitioner
Visit Sherrill House & attend presentation of anatomy & physiology of the aging body
Tour facilities with Director of Nursing
Participate & contribute to social activities for patients
Distribute pamphlets at Display Board during schoolwide Career Day
Encourage participants to consider careers in gerontology
Teacher Reflections
Response to this unit was amazing. The entire class participated. Even the most uncooperative students showed compassion as the unit progressed. . . . They shared fascinating stories about their grandparents and how their families care for them. I shared the story about my mother’s Parkinson’s disease and how she fell and broke her hip. She now resides at Sherrill House. Several students began to volunteer there. Others visited my mom who loved their company. . . . About half the class speculated on a possible career of working with the elderly. All concluded that elders need more attention and agreed to spend time helping them.
Student Reflections
My experience at Sherrill House was interesting. It takes a lot of patience and caring to be there every day and not go a little crazy. But you can see in the eyes of the volunteers and staff members that they are committed and that they really enjoy their work. The elderly look forward to company. They like to tell their stories. They have a lot of activities set up for them and enjoy playing games or listening to big band music. Patients recovering from injuries and surgeries have recreational sports. They also experience physical therapy. All in all, I enjoyed our time there.

TeachNet Service Learning is administered by Boston Public Schools Affiliate IMPACT II @ High School Renewal.
Supporting TeachNet are Special Assistant to the Superintendent for High School Renewal, Kathleen Mullin; IMPACT II Affiliate Director Barbara Locurto; WebMaster Andrew Binns; Web Advisor Linda Younis, High School Renewal; School to Career Program: Linda Younis; Project Assistant Jean Gibran. For more information, email

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