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Bridging the Age-Related Communication Gap: An Encounter Between Senior Citizens and Communication Students Towards Social Integration

  • Bantugan, Brian Saludes (St. Paul University Manila Philippines) ;
  • Bantugan, Fe C. (St. Paul University Manila Philippines) ;
  • Urbano, Ricardo C. (St. Paul University Manila Philippines)
  • Received : 2018.01.17
  • Accepted : 2018.02.22
  • Published : 2018.02.28

Abstract

This paper is built upon an attempt to answer the question: "What can be done to facilitate social integration between the elderly of Bagac, Bataan and the communication students of St. Paul University Manila?" The research was designed as a qualitative inquiry that involved an outreach activity by 24 dominantly female students of Development Communication to the senior citizens of Bagac, Bataan (Philippines) and a reflection period involving the students. The students were tasked to pay special attention to the digital engagements and/or disengagements of the elderly to allow them to learn more about the difficulties and potential of using social media in development-related projects involving senior citizens. The actual two-hour encounter involved socialization between the elderly and the students. The students, prior to the encounter, were tasked to generate the funds, use them to acquire and prepare the gifts, develop the program during the actual encounter based on research-based guidelines, and photo document the entire activity. They were given guide questions for reflections a week after. The reflections were thematically analyzed and revealed that in order to facilitate greater social integration between the elderly and the communication students. The university should address the health and digital aversion issues that intensify the sense of isolation of the elderly experience daily. This can be done by enhancing the communication skills of the communication students in 16 areas.

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