ORONO, Maine — Former school nurse and longtime Orono resident Joan Logue spends a lot of time at home alone these days. But a new program at the University of Maine has connected the sociable 92-year-old with a student visitor who each week brings a spark of youthful energy and ideas into the older woman’s home, brightening her day and shortening the time she spends on her own.
In return, Logue shares her life stories and the perspective of her years, enriching the student’s educational experience and building a warm, intergenerational bond between the two. It is, you could say, a win-win.
For 21 years, Logue was the school nurse for all public school children in Orono, from kindergarten right up through high school. She and her late husband, Joe, were married for nearly 60 years and raised four children who have interesting careers and families of their own. She has led a busy, engaged life, and maintains an avid interest in young people and the world they inhabit.
“Being an old school nurse, I really like having young people around me,” she said. “Nothing I hear or see ever shocks me.”
Now she is widowed and lives in her own home in the university town. She has some problems with her physical mobility and uses a walker to get around the house. She cannot drive. Her grandson Nate is staying with her while taking graduate classes at the University of Maine. Her neighbors are attentive. Her adult children are in close contact and visit often. But for long hours during the day, she often is on her own.
Cheerful by nature, she makes the best of it. She reads. She knits. She talks with family members on the phone and spends hours on her new iPad Mini. But sometimes, she admitted, the time does drag. When a visiting social worker inquired recently if she was interested in learning Tai Chi, she recounted with a chuckle, “I told her no. What I want is someone to talk to, for some companionship.”
Logue was pleased to learn about Project…