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gerontology

Week One

Lesson 01 - Introduction to Gerontology
Wednesday

Opportunities are unlimited for the individual who knows the field of gerontology. Demographic changes and changes in health care have influenced the development of a variety of roles in this field. This course will provide a broad overview of the field of gerontology and discuss the characteristics of older adults, the sociology of aging, theories of aging, stereotypes and ageism, physiological and psychological changes of aging, mental health, wellness and aging, and complementary and alternative health care methods that may benefit the older adult.

Lesson 02 - Physiology of Aging
Friday

There are more elderly adults in the United States than ever before in history, making this segment one of the fastest-growing portions of the population. The appropriate care of older adults requires healthcare providers to have a solid understanding of the physiologic changes that accompany aging. This course explores aging, reviews the theories of aging, and examine the physical changes in body systems associated with aging.

Week Two

Lesson 03 - Mental Health and Aging
Wednesday

The enormous increase in the diverse elderly population has prompted a vital societal challenge: the design and delivery of mental health services to the older adult. Because the elderly population in the United States and globally is projected to grow rapidly, the need for geriatric mental health services will also increase dramatically. Continued intellectual, social, and physical activity throughout the life cycle are important for the maintenance of mental health in later life. This course explores the issues of mental wellness strategies for the aging adult, cultural diversity as it relates to mental health, and traditional as well as integrative therapies to support mental health in the aging population.

Lesson 04 - Healthy Aging
Friday

As the number of people age 65 and older increases in the United States and the world, we are faced with challenges and opportunities in every aspect of our society. Policymakers, businesses, healthcare providers, and families must make new decisions that will meet the needs of our aging population. Aging individuals have the opportunity to live a longer and healthier life than ever before, bringing adventure and optimism to the later years. A diverse aging population, alternative methods of health care, nutrition, physical activity, spiritual growth, social activity, lifelong learning, leisure pursuits, second and third careers, and volunteerism are important factors in healthy aging.

Week Three

Lesson 05 - Pain Assessment and Management in the Older Adult
Wednesday

Pain is a symptom that signals distress in virtually every population and every age. To provide quality care to aging adults, healthcare providers must be particularly skilled at assessing pain, understanding misconceptions of pain management, addressing cultural issues in pain management, and providing effective pain therapies. This course provides an overview of pain and its effective management, including cultural considerations and pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic management techniques.

Lesson 06 - Death and Dying
Friday

What is grief? What are normal grief responses? What is involved in the final life transition—death? These are some of the questions that will be discussed in this course. The role of culture, palliative and hospice care, advance directives, and the role of spirituality in death and dying will be described. Interactions, healing strategies, and rituals that use the senses and bring comfort and peace for the dying will also be explored.

Week Four

Lesson 07 - Sleep and Aging
Wednesday

Sleep is essential to a healthy, productive life. While sleep disorders and changes affect all of us as we age, older adults undergo many sleep-related changes that can affect their physical and psychological well-being. This course presents a review of the normal stages of sleep, describes common sleep measurement tools, discusses sleep characteristics, identifies the changes that affect the quality and quantity of sleep as an individual ages, and identifies methods the health care provider can use to assess and assist clients with sleep changes as they age.

Lesson 08 - The Older Woman
Friday

America is growing older and most older Americans are women. Today's older woman is part of a diverse group that varies in income, education level, health, functional abilities, living arrangements, and access to support services. Because women live longer than men, they face unique economic, social, and health challenges. This course provides an overview of demographic trends related to the older woman and examines key challenges faced by aging women.

Week Five

Lesson 09 - Elder Abuse
Wednesday

Older adults today are vibrant, independent, living longer, and in better health than their ancestors. However, as this growing population increases, so does the issue of caring for elderly individuals. Caregivers must often cope with stressful economic and personal burdens when caring for the elderly who pay the price for this stress and may be abused, exploited, or neglected.

Lesson 10 - Aging and Disorders of Communication
Friday

Communication links all human beings together. As individuals age, their ability to perceive information through their senses is often distorted or impaired. Age-related sensory changes impact the quality of life and the quality of communication. Age-related sensory changes impact the quality of life and the quality of communication. Aging adults must compensate for these changes and families must be sensitive to the often silent process of sensory deterioration in their aging family member.

Week Six

Lesson 11 - Alzheimer's Disease: Mysteries and Possibilities
Wednesday

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a condition in which the concept of loss is central – the loss of one's memories, independence, the ability to recognize loved ones, and the loss of dignity. Often referred to as "the long goodbye," AD is the most common type of dementia, affecting approximately millions of Americans. It is responsible for billions of dollars annually in health care costs. However, new research is providing hope for those with Alzheimer's disease as well as for their families and caregivers.

 
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