NDSU nursing students gain insight through documentary

November 21, 2016 – Bismarck, North Dakota – NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health in Bismarck partnered with community groups to sponsor

More than 150 nursing students and members of the public attended the event, gaining insight into the aging process and the human need for connection. The eye-opening documentary provides a rich portrait showing that love is ageless, as it candidly follows a speed dating event for those over 70.  screening of the documentary titled “The Age of Love” at the Heritage Center in Bismarck on October 27. 

“We sponsored the screening in conjunction with AARP of North Dakota and Sanford Health,” said Wendy Kopp, NDSU associate professor of practice and certified gerontological nurse. 

“The event provided students an opportunity for greater understanding of the needs of people as they age. Students encounter some aspect of the older adult population in almost every course and clinical they have. Understanding human needs, no matter where a person is on their life journey, is important when working in health professions,” said Kopp. 

Kopp moderated a panel discussion at the event, which included Dr. Andrea Huseth-Zosel, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health in the NDSU College of Health Professions; Dr. David Field, family internal medicine provider at Sanford Health; and Reva Kautz, marketing director of Edgewood Vista in Bismarck. 

Directed by Steven Loring, the film looks at seniors through shared, human experiences. “I set out with one question: Do decades of life and loss constrict our hearts, or might time develop them in unexpected ways?” 

In press materials about the documentary, the director noted: “As one 74-year-old speed dater puts it, ‘No one, not even my own children, asks me what’s in my heart anymore.’” 

In introducing the documentary, Kopp highlighted its importance. “The film is playful and revealing, as well as wise and inspiring, as our senior daters entertain and enlighten us with a candor that puts media stereotypes to shame.” 

Based on the success of the Bismarck event, Kopp is working with the director of the documentary to partner with other educational institutions. With people living active lives longer, Kopp said it’s important that current and future health professionals who interact with them have an awareness of their needs and challenges. 

Providing health education is a key component, said Kopp. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports significant increases in sexually transmitted diseases among adults 65 and over. “There remains a public health component,” according to Kopp, “to provide health education to all populations across the age continuum.” 

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