Career Connections

Morgan Varley

Major: Kinesiology and Health

Minor/option/emphasis: Gerontology

Company/Organization: Green Hills Retirement Community
Company/Organization website:
Title: Leisure Services Intern
Destination: Ames, IA
Timeframe: Summer 2017

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
During my time at Green Hills Retirement Community I worked in the Leisure Services Department and assisted with a variety of activities. I helped carry out group and one to one activities in all four levels of care (i.e. wheel chair strolls, devotions, readings, birthday parties, exercise classes, music events, special events, socials, arts and crafts, food socials/baking, garden visits, lunch outings/bus trips). I got to know a lot of the residents on a personal level and do multiple one to one visits. Additionally, I planned and implemented my own activity. Aside from helping with activities, I assisted with office work such as resident's care plans and progress notes and documenting attendance of activities. I also organized storage areas and and cleaned activity rooms.

I accomplished...
My greatest accomplishment from my experience at Green Hills was being able to work with all four of the levels of care (independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care). Going into the internship, I wasn't sure if I would gain exposure in each of these levels of care. I was extremely lucky to help with activities in each of these areas and gain experience with a variety of individuals throughout the community.

I learned...
The greatest lesson I learned from interning at Green Hills is that each resident is different. They all have a unique lives and stories to share. They are all different physically, mentally and spiritually. Each resident has different hobbies and interests. During the internship I learned what each resident likes to do and what activities they like to attend. It was really interesting to see how some residents are so involved and how others keep to themselves. Working in the activities department, I learned how important it is to remind and invite skilled nursing residents to activities. They often forget what is going on and when so a friendly reminder was always nice for them. I quickly learned who likes to attend what and those who would rather stay in their room. Obviously it is up to the resident to make the decision to participate in an activity or not and either way, what ever they choose is fine. And that has really showed me that each individual is different and unique.

Advice for others...
Start your search early and don't be afraid to call up a business and ask if they have internship opportunities. It doesn't hurt to ask and get your name and interest out there. You never know what connections you could get from a simple phone call or email. For those who aren't quite sure you would like to work with the elderly, take a risk and try it out. Working with the elderly is very rewarding and you can meet so many wonderful individuals that can teach you a lot.

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