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Age Song | August 23 2010 | Contact: Victoria Steiner/John Lopez 510-635-4150
(San Francisco, Calif.) Aug. 23, 2010 – AgeSong, a locally managed, privately owned group of senior living communities with an integrative approach to care, continues to provide medical and psychology students with a unique training program dedicated to teaching the future elder care providers the existential-humanistic approach to care. This program allows psychology and marriage and family therapy doctoral students to gain hands-on experience in delivering emotional, therapeutic, and physical support and counseling in the context of assisted living.
“The goal of this internship program is to teach future healthcare professionals in a humanistic, process-oriented psychotherapy while advancing the way we care for our elders. Our interns provide our residents with emotional and spiritual care as well as companionship,” said Nader Shabahangi, Ph.D., CEO and founder of AgeSong and Pacific Institute.
“As the assisted living model of care continues to grow, on-site internships that incorporate extensive interaction with residents and their families, provide an educational model for students,” added Shabahangi. “It also creates an inspiring environment where elders have an opportunity to interact with younger generations and share their experiences and wisdom, creating a sense of joy and a real connection with their community. Collectively both interns and elders continue the process of meaning-making essential for us humans to live our potential.”
The 2010-2011 internship program at AgeSong is conducted in collaboration with the AgeSong Institute, a program of Pacific Institute, a nonprofit, educational organization. This year the AgeSong Institute program welcomes 42 interns from a variety of colleges and universities, including Saybrook University, California Institute of Integral Studies, John F. Kennedy University, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, San Francisco State University, University of California, Pacifica Graduate School, University of San Francisco, Golden Gate University, The Wright Institute, Holy Names Academy, and Sonoma State University.
Each intern has a background in psychology, gerontology, counseling, death and dying and/or human development and possesses a passion for providing support to others, whether in therapy, counseling, mediation or community development. “Students come with respect and awareness of the potential and gifts that arrive with the aging process,” said Shabahangi. “They use their open heart and mind to learn and honor the human condition of which we all form a part.” During the program, interns are assigned a group of elders with whom they work throughout the year. Interns also have an opportunity to learn about family therapy and counseling as they work with elders’ families and help manage a family’s anxieties and/or concerns. Steven Aristide Pappas, the clinical coordinator of the internship program, is excited about how elders influence the interns. Students will also conduct research work, which will be published in summer 2011. At the end of the internship, students may choose to proceed in a career in eldercare, continue their affiliation with AgeSong and AgeSong Institute, or shift their focus to another area of health care.
“They often come with the idea of fixing people, trying to find something wrong they can right, and after the year is over they have gained so much respect for how people are perfect the way they are, that the real power of a healthcare professional resides as much in their knowing as in their ability to be truly present,” said Shabahangi. “Whatever professional path they take after completing this program, I believe this unique program will enrich their experience and empower future leaders in health and eldercare.”
To learn more about AgeSong and its educational opportunities, visit www.agesong.com and www.agesonginstitute.org.
AgeSong is a locally managed, privately owned group of senior communities with an integrated approach to care. Established in 1995, AgeSong has six communities located throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Offering a full continuum of senior care including independent living, assisted living and forgetfulness care, AgeSong offers vibrant, beautiful surroundings, specialized programming and community integration to move beyond the traditional medical model of care. The company serves as a premier training platform for students through multiple internship programs. AgeSong is a winner of the American Society on Aging’s Award for Excellence in the Field of Aging.