School of Nursing

Greater Portland Older Adult Partnership

Faculty: Linda Samia, PhD, RN

The Greater Portland Older Adult Partnership offers a wonderful opportunity to interact with low-income older adults living in Portland and Westbrook. If you enjoy working with older adults you will find this a meaningful experience. USM students work collaboratively in independent housing sites with older adult residents, staff from the Southern Maine Agency on Aging (SMAA), home care agencies, Portland and Westbrook Public Housing, and several other service organizations. Over the course of the semester students actively address the chronic needs of community members with the goals to promote independence and enhance the overall well-being and health of these older adults.

Students can select from 3 diverse housing sites for their partnership experience.  Portland sites include:  Harbor Terrace on Danforth St. and Washington Gardens on Churchill St. In Westbrook, students work with residents at Larrabee Village on Liza Harmon Dr.

This partnership offers students the opportunity to be innovative and creative. The partnership expands each semester as students identify new needs, opportunities and partners. Over the past 2 years students have offered blood pressure clinics; exercise classes; pedometer walking programs; medication reviews and teaching; health education on a variety of chronic diseases; and health fairs. Students have also been trained as Matter of Balance (MOB) coaches.  Matter of Balance is an evidence-based fall prevention program for older adults.

Past experiences also include participation in flu clinics, medication disposal programs sponsored by local communities, foot clinics and home visits. Students worked with community partners on food drives and distribution. In Spring 2010 students collaborated on a community gardening project with several partners at Harbor Terrace.

A home care experience was added to the partnership in Fall 2010. Students accompany a nurse from HomeHealth Visiting Nurses on home visits for a full day each semester.  Students learn about the role of a home care nurse and the challenges faced by older adults managing illness at home. They also gain insight to a variety of resources available to support older adult wellness.

Older adults welcome USM students each semester. They look forward to meeting new students and working together on a variety of projects. This partnership meets in the Fall and Spring semesters. Students receive 2 credits per semester.  Contact Linda Samia to learn more about this great opportunity!