Thomasville Gerontology class gets national attention - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomasville Gerontology class gets national attention

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May 22, 2006

Thomasville-  Fifteen students in Georgia's first Gerontology diploma program will graduate in less than four weeks. The demand for health care workers that specialize in elderly care is so great that all 15 already have jobs.  Southwest Georgia Technical College is expanding their program to meet the growing needs.

Laughter sometimes is the best medicine. It's part of the lesson these 15 Gerontology students are learning in their clinicals at Southern Pines Retirement Community.

"When we come to assisted living, it's mostly just exercise, activities, and just spending quality time with them," said Christy Sherley, a Gerontology Student.

"There's a lot of people retiring down here in south Georgia and it gives me an opportunity to work with them and learn," said William Frazier, a Gerontology Student.

Thomasville and south Georgia have become top destinations for retirees and older adults. Adults who may experience physical, mental, and social changes as they age. Southwest Georgia Technical college recognized that need and developed the state's first Gerontology program.

"Thomasville was declared a retirement center, so what better way to add to people coming into Thomasville then to train people to take care of them once they get here," said  Tamara Bryant, Gerontology Program Director.

The program teaches the normal aging process and problems that result. Demand for graduates has prompted the school to add another class this fall.

"I also found last week, that with all of them graduating, people are calling saying I need people to work and they're already employed, all of mine are already employed in the field," said Bryant.

"There's a need in south Georgia for adult day care right now," said Sherley.

That's why graduating students are considering starting their own adult day care center, something Thomasville doesn't have, but may need as it grows with its new aging population. 

This program has gained national attention. NBC Nightly News was in Thomasville Monday for a story on the program. The 15 students will be pinned June 15th.  

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