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In This Moment: Stories and Reflections during the COVID-19 Situation

In the Spring of 2020, the PiAP team conducted brief audio-recordings with people who shared their stories of managing during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The eight stories below offer interesting insights into how experiences over a lifetime influence adaptation to situations like this. We invite you to listen to the recordings and/or read the accompanying transcripts that bear witness to this moment in time.

“This Too Shall Pass” – Peggy             Peggy C transcript 20200414 

“You Have to Make a Decision” – Brad       BradB transcript 04282020

“My Own Company” -Bonnie        Bonnie ITM transcript 20200508

“Dream House Delayed” -Kimberly        Kimberly ITM transcript 20200508

“Invest in the Life You Have” – Cathy      Cathy N transcript 20200528

“Awareness of Communication Needs” – Lisa/proxy     LisaF 05282020

“Patience Above All Else” – Jean      Jean ITM transcript 20200601

” Comfort from the Bethlehem Star” – Eva      Eva Transcript 20200610


Linking Generations in Northside (LINK) and the Northside Residential Fellowship (NRF)

The Linking Generations in Northside Program, or LINK, is a collaboration between the Marian Cheek Jackson Center and PiAP.  It serves to connect UNC students from various disciplines with older residents in the Northside community. Students form teams to visit residents’ homes where they can share, learn, and grow together in a mutual partnership of social support. The Jackson Center and PiAP provide mentorship to facilitate visits. For more details click here.

The Northside Residential Fellowship (NRF) program functions in partnership with The LINK program. The NRF program creates a living-learning household focused on aging and health equity. Northside residents and UNC graduate students are charged to learn from each other and become good neighbors in the process.  Research demonstrates the important role social connections play in the health and well-being of individuals. We aspire to create a space for graduate students to become active members of the Northside community and establish a multi-generational neighborhood where all residents feel supported. Read the NRF Program Overview to learn more.

Applications for the Northside Residential Fellowship 2021-2022 are currently being accepted. Those who are interested can apply here and contact with any questions.

UNC Students speak with Northside Residents during LINK
Northside fellows recently hosted their first “Porch Revival Tour Pop-Up.”

Aging in Community: The Story of Crescent Magnolia

Eight graduate students in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at UNC-Chapel Hill will partner with PiAP and Habitat for Humanity of Orange County to document the process of building the Crescent Magnolia community. Crescent Magnolia is a community developed by Habitat that offers affordable homeownership options for adults 60 and older.  It is the first initiative of its kind by Habitat in the United States and consists of 24 small-scale attached homes embedded in the edge of an existing neighborhood in Hillsborough NC.  In order to understand the impact of Crescent Magnolia in the lives of the residents as well as on the surrounding community, students will explore processes of community building, transitioning into new homes, and developing a neighborhood.   In particular, the students will explore various aspects of the built environment and the interaction between the physical structures, which have been designed with aging-in-place principles, and the older adults who buy them. In addition, they will explore the everyday occupations of the residents and how they are shaped by a new environment, as well as the impact of the community on the surrounding neighborhood and partners in the project. The ultimate targeted outcome of the project is the development and dissemination of a resource toolkit for other affordable housing providers who might consider similar senior housing solutions. A resource manual for housing providers to foster the development of senior
housing in an affordable homeownership model was recently published. CRESCENT MAGNOLIA RESOURCE REPORT 2021. To learn more, visit the OC Habitat for Humanity site.

Crescent Magnolia Design and Location


FEAST: Folks of Every Age Sharing a Table

FEAST is an initiative of UNC’s Partnerships in Aging Program. We are creating an intentional space where people of different generations can learn from one another and cultivate age-embracing perspectives.  Each month, dinner party guests include UNC students from different disciplines, faculty, older adult volunteers, and community leaders in aging. FEAST believes in the power of intergenerational connections and the joyful wisdom that comes from sharing a table.

On the evening of April 25, 2018, eight men and women, ranging in age from 22 all the way up to 87 years old attended the inaugural FEAST dinner party.

Diversity in Aging Symposium

On January 21, 2021,PiAP hosted the inaugural Diversity in Aging Symposium. The theme for this years’ event was Eldercare: Diverse Perspectives and Diverse Needs.

The Diversity in Aging Symposium is designed to spark conversation about contemporary issues in aging. For our first event, we addressed the intersection of aging, race, ethnicity and eldercare with opening remarksopening remarks by Dr. Tamara Baker (UNC Department of Psychiatry) as well as a discussion led by panelist Carolina Avary (Piedmont Health), Chasity Hunt (Carolina Compassion Care), and Kathy Atwater (Marian Cheek Jackson Center).


Orange County Master Aging Plan

Orange County Department on Aging has completed the planning and begun implementation of the 2017-2022 Master Aging Plan.  The Partnerships in Aging program is providing consultation and technical assistance to this initiative.  The cornerstone of the Master Aging Plan is broad-based citizen input.  During public meetings held in July and August 2016, at 13 locations around the County, we heard from over 60 people. An electronic survey was distributed to people of all ages throughout the County, and Janice Tyler, Director of the Department on Aging, conducted multiple interviews with County leaders and stakeholders.

To advance the Master Aging Plan process, Orange County has become the first North Carolina county to join AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly Communities. As such, we are now part of a nation-wide effort to transform our neighborhoods and communities into age-friendly places. Never in modern history have we lived this long. Orange County is already a great place to age, but we can make it even better. We want to continue to develop new models in all areas, including how we live, how we die, and how we connect with each other on a daily basis. Key domains of interest in the Plan include Housing, Transportation, Community Services and Health, Employment, Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, and Communication Pathways.

Pocket neighborhood
An example of an elder-friendly neighborhood equipped with accessible housing and green space.

Interprofessional Education in Geriatrics

Over 235 UNC students from 10 health disciplines (nursing, medicine, social work, dentistry, dental hygienist, pharmacy, PT, OT, nutrition, and speech and language pathology) work in teams to explore complex social and medical issues common to older adults.  Along the way, students learn about each of their classmates’ educational preparation, typical practice environments, and dispel common myths and stereotypes about aging.

Students from different disciplines participating in care planning for an older patient.


Arts Across Ages- Carolina Seminars

The Arts Across Ages seminar series aims to build knowledge, collaborations, and strategies for UNC students and older adults to share arts experiences and make connections to each other through arts. Believing that “Art helps us identify with one another and expands our notion of we–from the local to the global” (Olafur Eliasson, World Economic Forum, 2016) the series is built around older and younger people sharing and creating art across many venues – visual arts, theater, dance, and more. Conducting this seminar series is a joint venture among UNC faculty from diverse disciplines and community leaders in aging. Sue Coppola, UNC Clinical Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy, leads this exciting seminar series.