Dozens of USC students, along with older adults from the university and surrounding community, joined the Davis School of Gerontology on Tuesday to celebrate International Day of Older Persons, which is held annually to celebrate older people and raise awareness about some of the problems they may face.
“The Davis School of Gerontology really feels like we should get behind this day and really celebrate what it means to be an older person here in today’s world and break down some myths,” said Dr. Paul Nash, an instructional associate professor of gerontology.
To celebrate the day, the School of Gerontology hosted several events across USC campus throughout the day. The main event occurred at McCarthy quad and allowed for students and older attendees to perform on stage and host ethical debates centered around topics such as assisted dying and marijuana use.
Several music groups comprised of older persons from the local community performed, such as Fifth Dementia Choir, a singing group of older adults living with dementia.
Carol Rosenstein, 74, attended the McCarthy quad event and even performed a tap dance routine.
“Your life as a senior does change,” Rosenstein said. “But we make the most of it. These are our golden years.”
“We’re breaking down the idea that older adults just sit in their bedrooms and instead showing how active older adults can actually be,” Nash said.
According to Nash, USC is the world’s leading school of gerontology and the first age-friendly California university, which is why it is so crucial that USC Gerontology acknowledges and celebrates International Day of Older Persons.
“It’s important to celebrate older persons because they’re people just like us and they’ve contributed so much to our upbringing,” said Lexi Lang, a master’s student in gerontology. “I think it’s important that we’re able to give back to [older persons] because they have given to us.”
Lois Angelo, a freshman studying gerontology, helped out at the event and commented on the importance of it.
“What we’re trying to do here is bring in an audience of older adults and also the current student population at USC to become more aware about [older person] issues and maybe we can make some sort of effective change and make people more knowledgeable,” said Lois Angelo, a freshman studying gerontology.
Janette Brown, the executive director of the Emeriti Center at USC and adjunct professor at the Davis School of Gerontology attended the event and commented on the importance of communication with older people.
“Having people pay more attention to intergenerational communication and how to communicate with older people is really important,” Brown said.
Brown is already looking forward to next year’s event and hopes to raise awareness and educate the general population about the importance of older persons and the problems they may face.