There has been a tremendous explosion in the growth of older adults in the last 15 years. So it is important that our students learn about this population. Exercise and Aging is a three credit elective course that addresses the beneficial effects of exercise for the older population as well as the physical, psychological and demographic characteristics of this population. Can the older population exercise safely and effectively? What are some professional opportunities in the fieldof gerontology/geriatrics? These are just some of the questions that the course (and the Center) aims to answer. Thus, the course and the Center provide the students with the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge and gain practical experience working with an age group that many will work with during their professional careers, i.e. as physical and occupational therapists, geriatric doctors, directors of programming in community senior centers, assisted living facilities, etc.
Working as a team, Dr. Kaplowitz (Drs. Robell and Davis over the last few years) the Course Assistants and the Exercise and Aging classes each term, coordinate and carry out a variety of intergenerational programs. The Center itself has grown with new ideas, events and research that have been shared with students and the senior community alike. We have truly become an advocate for older adults as well as our own Rutgers students in gaining and understanding of the importance of, and the pursuit of fitness and health for the older generation.
In 2001 the Center began. Since then, Dr. Kaplowitz has worked in conjunction with the student Course Assistants (CA’s) and the classes to conduct a variety of intergenerational events both at Rutgers and at a variety of Senior Centers around Central New Jersey. It is estimated that over 1000 older adults and 1000 students in the Exercise and Aging classes have participated together over these years.