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Home for the elderly - VinUnians trying to make a difference

VinUni students' senior housing initiative and their hope to create a better future for humanity.

The Research Assistant team presenting their "Senior Living" model at VinUni's Career Day 2022. 

For those who tend to pass by discussion room A114, chances are you have seen the familiar figure of Thanh Ngan, sitting upright in front of her laptop and scanning every word on the screen. Though only a freshman from the College of Business & Administration, Thanh Ngan is currently working as a Research Assistant for the Provost’s Office. To her, it was just another day of her rummaging the web for APA7-worthy sources.

She and her team’s latest project, though, went beyond mining the Internet. For the past few months, they have been researching intensively on the Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) model, from how it works, its strengths and weaknesses, to its implications for big countries, such as the U.S. and China. Their goal was to contribute to the creation of a comfortable and affordable living community for seniors in Vietnam.

Despite its inherent benefits, the project might come across as a little  far-fetched and ambitious for a group of university students, most of whom are in their first or second year at VinUniversity. “Why the focus on senior living?” was our first question for Ngan.

As it turns out, this research was inspired by President Le Mai Lan herself. She saw the potential of Vietnam as the new destination for the elderly. However, it was not until Ngan and her work-study mentor - Dr. Bui Thanh Tuong Thuy, Program Manager at Provost’s Office, showed their interest in the topic that the project got assigned to Ngan and her team.

The CCRC model is expected to work as a multi-layer community, including independent living, assisted living, and nursing care. The more medical care one needs, the closer they will live to the center.

In reality, carrying out the project was no mean feat. As senior housing was still a fairly unfamiliar concept in Vietnam, the team had a hard time gathering sufficient data and conducting comprehensive analysis within tight deadlines. It was not uncommon, according to Ngan, for them to work late hours to finish tasks on time.
It was at this point that Ngan started to get emotional. She felt extremely grateful for her supportive and inspirational mentor - Dr. Thuy, who, she said, had invented the notion of fun meetings and friendly deadlines. She also reflected on one special occasion that helped bring the research assistant team together.

“We were preparing for our final pitch at Career Day. I remember it was the first time the team actually worked together in person. We only had one Friday to complete everything from the pitch draft to the Powerpoint. Everyone pulled their weight and the result definitely paid off.”
The team shared cute moments with their mentor, Dr. Thuy, who, Ngan said, had invented the notion of fun meetings and friendly deadlines.

Ngan and her team’s research project ended up being chosen as the first pitch in Career Day 2022's Student Project Showcase. Her advice for students who wish to pursue research at university was simply to read more. Ngan recalled a time when  her team had to scan through dozens of papers and data sheets to complete a two-page report.

Now that their project on senior living model has been approved, Ngan and her team are working on other innovative research and ideas in the hopes of “creating a better future for humanity.”



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