On May 20, D19s Tabitha Lewis, Kareema Roushdy, Michelle Kalil, and Jacqueline Liu visited the Walnut Avenue Community House in Roxbury, MA where they spent time promoting oral health to the underserved population of older adults living in assisted housing. Because of the oral health disparities and lack of access to care that plague older adults, the D19 community service committee has taken a significant interest in addressing their needs. The main goal of this oral health promotion event sought to engage and educate the guests of the home in proper oral health and preventive methods. They brought along a Senior Jeopardy board game to play and toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss to distribute. Tabitha Lewis shares some wonderful words on her experience:
“This was such a great experience. I had a great team with Jacqueline Liu, Kareema Roushdy, and Michelle Kalil. We laughed, educated, and, most importantly, positively impacted a community that is often forgotten. Since this crowd was an older and small group of around 10 people, it was important that we started session with an icebreaker where we had each of them tell us unique fact about them and their first name. It is also important to use a loud voice and read clearly. While engaging in the Senior Jeopardy game, it is also important to take the time for teaching moments if question was answered incorrectly. The coordinators of Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly and of the Walnut Avenue Community Home were shocked that all of their members stayed the whole time. It was the most amazing feeling hearing the coordinators say that they have never seen the seniors that happy and that engaged. We cannot wait to go back and further this community outreach.
One man who was there had his jaw broken in war. Because of lack of insurance and other factors, he could not get the proper surgery and it has negatively impacted his oral health/overall health. I took the time to meet with him individually because I realized that the tips we were giving were of no use to him because of his complex medical history. This was a great learning moment for me. I ultimately learned the importance of being flexible and adapting oral health tips on an individual scale.”