Barbara Krier ’14, a counseling psychology major, came to DelVal at the age of 50 for the convenient location and strong program in her field. She stayed because of the atmosphere on campus and the opportunities to grow professionally.
At DelVal, she worked with other students to start the University’s Smile Station chapter, which matches people in long-term care up with regular visitors.
Krier is hoping to gain experience working with older patients through the program while making a difference in someone’s life.
“There are people who are in care for the rest of their lives who no one comes to visit,” said Krier. “We’re trying to make sure that doesn’t happen. Once you have that information, how do you not do something about that?”
Loneliness in older patients can have serious health consequences.
A report published in 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine found in people over 60 loneliness was associated with an earlier than expected death and a decrease in their ability to function independently.
In the study, nearly one in four people who sometimes struggled with loneliness, reported a decrease in ability to perform basic tasks such as eating, dressing, and getting up without help.
Krier wants to use her DelVal education to help with this issue.
After she graduates, she wants to do reminiscence therapy.
“I would love to spend my life listening to people’s life stories and helping them work through any past conflicts,” said Krier.
She is entering the field late, but doesn’t think age should stop someone from pursuing a true passion.
People respond differently when she tells them she went back to school at 50.
“I’ve had a lot of people say, ‘I give you a lot of credit, I wouldn’t be able to do it,’ or some ask ‘why?”
She tells people “you’re never too old to learn.”
“We are never at an age where we have reached our full potential,” said Krier of nontraditional students. “There’s always something else to learn and we have a lot to offer through our life experience.”
At DelVal, she is packing her résumé with experiences that will be valuable to her as mental health professional.
In her first two years back in school, Krier joined a team of students researching diversity on campus, traveled to California with a faculty member to present that research at a national conference, and traveled the world to study global mental health with Semester at Sea.
With Semester at Sea, she visited locations such as Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize.
“Through my involvement with DelVal I’ve just grown and expanded in ways I never even knew possible,” said Krier.
Krier said the faculty have been a big part of that growth.
“The professors are extremely empowering and encourage students,” said Krier. “They want to bring up that level of professionalism. I’ve been very impressed with their teaching styles, the sense of respect in the classroom. There seems to be a real sense of unity and community on campus.”
Krier lives in Doylestown and has two adult children, a son who is a Marine, and daughter who lives in the San Francisco area. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching arts and crafts for kids in supportive housing through the Bucks County Housing Group.