Internship Program Brochure
AgeSong Institute promotes a caring, loving and inspiring living environment that feeds body, mind and spirit and reflects the true value of who elders are. When it comes to caring for our elders, we ask for a deep and loving care from our interns. Because we know that working with elders can involve traversing challenging new territories, we often refer to our interns as Warriors of the Heart (based on the term Warriors of the Light coined by Paulo Coelho) and/or Midwives of the Soul (Doris Bersing).
AgeSong Institute interns work with premier health care systems throughout California to support transitional care services for older adults in need of residential milieu support before they return home. AgeSong Institute interns play a vital role in ensuring the success of this program.
We know that being an elder brings with it many gifts and lessons of life that only those with much life-experience can offer. Elders are our teachers and mentors, our leaders and guides. If we deeply listen to them with all of our senses as well as our heart and soul, we gain much wisdom and understanding for our own journey through life.
Who Are Interns?
With backgrounds in psychology, gerontology, counseling, grief and loss support, and/or human development, interns come from a variety of schools and universities in the Bay Area and beyond. We select interns who show an authentic interest and passion to work with the aging population, and with an interest in being part of a movement that views aging with respect and awareness. This is a view that looks at the gift of years that aging or maturing affords us.
The AgeSong Institute teaches a humanistic-existential, process oriented approach to working with individuals in general and elders specifically. This approach refrains from pathologizing and labeling and tries to understand the appearance of symptoms as important messages to be explored and understood. In such a phenomenological approach, symptoms are understood as solutions to whatever ails or burdens a resident rather than a problem to be eliminated.
Each intern is supervised by a licensed professional and required to attend trainings and group supervision sessions weekly. Many of our past interns, following a year-long internship program, have returned licensed and re-joined our team. Others stay in touch from afar keeping us abreast of the work in which they are engaged.
What Do Interns Do?
All residents have an opportunity to connect with interns who, if they so desire, provide emotional and therapeutic support individually and/or in group settings.
Interns spend two or more days a week in an AgeSong community and may accompany residents to group programs, share stories while on walks, connect in a painting class, listen to music, and read poetry together. They also plan trips to the opera or share in a quiet moment. Groups focus on meditation, expressive arts, movement, humor, national and international news, literature, travel and much more. Our interns follow the lead of elders; they show us what is important to them.
Interns support the community should a crisis arise, if a fall occurs or when residents become ill. Individual counseling and support groups are provided as requested for residents and families, as well as training and support for care partners and staff. Families and friends are invited to be a part of our community and to be as active as they choose to be. Interns may be in contact with families and friends to pass along information, to set up meetings when beneficial, to gather history or valuable information, or to invite families and friends to events and programs.