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Finding Gerontology — Jenn Berg (PBD Student)

January 16, 2020

Finding Gerontology is a series of stories highlighting the students that make up the Gerontology Program at SFU.

What drew you to working with older persons?

I used to be in a children’s choir where we would often sing to older adults in long term care homes over the holidays. I remember enjoying their reactions to our various renditions of the songs and having conversations about music they used to listen to when they were my age. I don’t think I had an ability at the time to appreciate the setting I was in, but I believe the interactions I had during these visits as a child persuaded me to find a career where I could work with an aging population. 

Not long after this, I was confronted by the reality that not all moments as you age are as easy as what I naïvely assumed from my brief visits to the LTC home as a child. I learned first-hand about the progression of dementia and Parkinson’s, and how chronic disease can significantly impact one’s life. I knew that if I were to work with the aging population, I had to understand the physiological mechanisms of humans which lead me to Kinesiology.

Do you have a background working with older persons?

With this goal in mind, it didn’t take long for me to utilize my degree towards the aging population. I was involved in volunteer opportunities that taught me a bit about the care of seniors with physical disabilities that required mobility aids. I also volunteered at a boxing studio in Ontario designed for people with Parkinson’s disease. Finally, I worked as a Kinesiologist where I supervised and facilitated exercise rehabilitation programs for older adults with a history of neurological degenerative diseases, post-MVA recovery, were rehabilitating from an injury, or had a desire to gain strength and balance. 

What brought you to the Department of Gerontology?

I knew I wanted to use my kinesiology degree to work with older adults however, I wanted to make sure that I was providing the most educated care to my clients. It was important for me to learn about the older adult holistically so that I am ethical