Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia slowly leach away a lifetime worth of memories and social relationships, until the only thing left are fragments.
Dementia is an isolating disease that frequently leaves the person afflicted feeling alone, lonely and bereft of opportunities for social interactions. The spouse, adult child, relative or friend who is a caregiver of a person with memory problems often experiences physical and emotional strain and can benefit greatly from a short break in their caregiving duties.
An innovative and unique intergenerational program at UCLA gives older adults an opportunity to mentor bright, enthusiastic college students while giving their caregivers a much needed break. TimeOut @UCLA is a student-run respite program offered free-of-charge to older persons who need companionship and enjoy socialization and meaningful conversations.
Each week, they meet with students who are interested in careers in aging and learning from the rich life stories of seniors, many of whom are accomplished retired professionals. The seniors feel a sense of accomplishment mentoring students and imparting their knowledge and experience from their careers that span many decades. The students enjoy learning new things from and bask in the words of wisdom imparted by their senior mentors. With each weekly meeting, the bonds of their friendship are strengthened, all while giving the senior's caregivers time to join a support group, to get some work or household tasks done, or simply to enjoy some personal time.
TimeOut launched as an in-person program at UCLA in 2015. In-person sessions were offered twice a week on the UCLA campus from 1-4pm. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for the safety of program participants, we transitioned to an online (virtual) program in March 2020. The online program was carefully curated to provide a secure environment where seniors and students can still engage in meaningful conversations and mentally stimulating activities from the safety and comfort of their homes
Dr. Zaldy S. Tan is the Director of the Cedars-Sinai Health System / Memory & Aging Program and Medical Director of the Jona Goldrich Center for Alzheimer's & Memory Disorders, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He performs epidemiological research on brain aging and health services research on Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. His studies on brain aging and memory have been published in major medical journals and featured in the New York Times, Time, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other national publications.View Dr. Tan's Profile
Dr. Lourdes Guerrero is an Associate Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research and Geriatrics. She is the associate director for the Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) Coordinating Center and the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP). She is a bilingual and bicultural researcher with training and experience working in medical education, higher education policy, and community-based social services. Her recent work addresses diversity in the biomedical workforce, and the health and well-being of caregivers of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Dr. Daphna Gans is an Associate Project Scientist and former Adjunct Assistant Professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Assistant Director for Academic Programs for the UCLA Multicampus Program in Geriatrics Medicine and Gerontology, and Faculty Associate at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Her main research interests include understanding the nexus of informal and formal elder care, developing planning strategies to address the potential future shortage in informal family caregivers and formal long-term care workforce, health policy, and health care delivery. In addition to her expertise in gerontology and health policy, she has vast experience in survey methodology including using, managing, and designing large-scale survey instruments.
Ms. Garcia serves as the program manager for the TimeOut program. She has over 10 years of experience in program planning and implementation of geriatrics training and education programs.
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The TimeOut volunteer program partners with the UCLA chapter of the Youth Movement Against Alzheimer's. The Youth Movement is a group of young people whose aim is to change the perception of dementia and Alzheimer's disease and work towards a cure for the disease as youth advocates and researchers.
To learn more about the organization, please visit the Youth Movement's website.
An article on TimeOut @ UCLA was published in the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships! You can find the article here.