The Tellegacy Program
Discover the Potential of a Conversation
Research has shown that loneliness and social isolation can result in long-term negative health outcomes. The intergenerational Tellegacy program helps keep older adults connected.
University students, known as Legacy Builders, connect with residents of retirement communities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities via phone or through virtual visits. The discussions focus on building rapport and providing a sense of hope, while also allowing the older adult to impart wisdom and share stories of their past with the students. A legacy book can be provided back to the resident at the end of the sessions.
Benefits for Student Legacy Builder
- Complete required service/clinical hours
- Enhance connecting and listening skills
- Receive training in vision/goal-setting, mindfulness, growth mindset, and legacy interviewing
- Learn new perspectives from an older generation
- Participate in a mentorship program
- Help improve someone’s quality of life and health status
Benefits for Older Adults
- Enjoy weekly connections with a University student
- Share experiences and wisdom with a younger generation
- Receive a well-prepared legacy book of your story to share with family and friends
- Positively impacts the lives of younger generations
- Set and accomplish personal goals
- Improve the quality of life and health status
Student Legacy Builders
Legacy Builder Training (Curriculum)
The goals for Tellegacy in connecting students with older adults is to decrease a sense of isolation and loneliness in older adults, and also to increase a sense of resiliency, connectedness, and self-efficacy, amongst other benefits, such as increased activity and involvement within their respective communities. In order to accomplish this, the Legacy Builders are trained in the following areas:
Students are introduced to Telehealth etiquette. These can be related to preparations that help avoid distraction, ensure top audio quality, and reinforce edifying video presence.
Building Connection / Rapport
Legacy Builders are trained in the art of listening, as individuals feel a clear sense of connectedness and rapport when they feel they are being listened to. Students are introduced to the Geriatric 4 Ms of What Matters, Mentation, Medication, and Mobility to remain generally aware of and sensitive to Older Adult needs as they meet with their respective Legacy Holder. Students are able to contact Tellegacy directors when they feel an older adult may need professional assistance.
Studies show that goal-setting at any age builds resilience and a sense of purpose for the individual. Visualization of goals can magnify goal setting in multiple ways.
Mindfulness also builds a sense of awareness and connectedness. This practice keeps the students present and mindful not only of themselves but also of the Legacy Holder during the conversation.
When conversing with an older adult, the students are trained to ask questions that encourage a growth mindset. For example, when an older adult shares a difficult past experience, the legacy builder is trained to first appreciate the sharing of the older adult’s story, and then redirect to what they both can learn and grow from the particular experience.
Reminiscence Therapy / Photo Reminiscence Therapy
The students are introduced to a spectrum of legacy questions that explore the older adults lifetime. The students are trained to extract the memories that are most valuable to the Legacy Holder, as this will enrich the creation of the legacy book and reinforce the value of the older adults’ memories.
Appreciation/Sense of AWE
Throughout each conversation, the sense of AWE and appreciation is reinforced in the conversations between the older adult (Legacy Holder) and the Legacy Builder. A sense of appreciation and AWE does many valuable things to enrich a conversation, but mostly reinforces and reaffirms the value of the older adult sharing their very precious and valuable stories to their new friend.
Redirection does not suggest that what the older adult shares is ignored if not desirable to the student. Students are trained to first acknowledge the older adults story, and direct the conversation in a way that is most edifying and constructive to enrich the conversation further.
At the end of the sessions, the Legacy Builder is given opportunities to practice what they've learned with Tellegacy leaders and/or seasoned interns in the program. They will have access to the Tellegacy team before and throughout the program.
Jeremy Holloway, PhD
Jeremy Holloway is a Geriatric Education Professor at the University of North Dakota. The focus of his research is concentrated on the social determinants of health, specifically self-efficacy, connectedness, and resiliency of older adults. Dr. Holloway developed a curriculum focused on intergenerational programs that include growth mindset, reminiscence therapy, mindfulness, guided imagery/visualization, and S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting practices to nourish internal qualities, resiliency and self-agency of older adults. These best practices address needs related to loneliness and isolation. Dr. Holloway is also an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion of all peoples.
For more information about the Tellegacy Program, contact:
Dr. Jeremy Holloway
Office: (701) 777-5617
Cell: (419) 270-7511