Course Code: aap
In the first lesson, you'll learn a few tools and techniques for effective communication that will sustain you as your parents age.
In this lesson, you'll explore ideas that can help you help your parent to maintain their zest for life as circumstances change. You'll discover some activities that you might not have thought of before. Remember that you can only suggest that your parents get involved with a new interest; it can be frustrating if they refuse and you have to watch them lose their will to live. The intent of this lesson is to give you many tools so that you can keep trying until something works. If the only behavior you can change is your own, remember that your parent can't help but respond differently to that change, so at least that is in your control. You'll find suggestions on how to make the most of that fact in this lesson.
This lesson will talk about ways to change how you think about accumulating things. It will give you some ideas about what to do with the things you and your parents already have once you decide to free yourselves from the burden of excessive possessions. You'll learn about trusts and gifting away financial assets in Lesson 8, but for now the goal is to look at artifacts and material possessions—the things that fill your rooms, have to be dusted, insured, provided space, and otherwise cared for. You'll learn how to protect yourself from excessive advertising and a culture of getting and spending. At last, you'll have the awareness to control your own spending habits and help your parents start to unload their lifetime accumulation of stuff.
People often live under the delusion that they're immortal until something, like a death in the family, reminds them of their vulnerability in this world. They may not even think about what would happen to their pets if they got hit by a bus, let alone how they would like their worldly goods distributed. If they think about their health care wishes at all, it's to hope that they don't have to endure a painful or prolonged decline or death.
Advance directives are written documents that serve as an individual's instructions regarding disposal of their property. In this lesson, you'll learn what documents you must have, as well as those you should have for yourself and your parents. You'll take a close at each of the important documents and learn how to acquire and prepare them for yourself and your parents with minimum cost and effort. If you're at least 18 years of age, you should have your preferred medical, resuscitation, and funeral instructions officially documented, even if you don't yet have assets to worry about. You'll find out how to address this critical need in this lesson!
Even if you think you know your parents inside and out, you might be surprised by some of the things you don't know, and some of those things may be important to you should a parent have to move to assisted living, become incapacitated, or die. In this lesson, you'll learn about some of the things you should find out while you still can. In addition to the documents that were discussed in Lesson 4, you or your parents may have cash, valuables, investments, pensions, insurance policies, safe deposit boxes, a personal safe combination, and account numbers that will be invaluable to the executor of an estate. Do you and your parents have all those things neatly filed in one place? All of that and more will be covered in this lesson.
You'll learn about practical and material matters in several of the other lessons in this course; this lesson will take a different tact. Every emotion that there is to experience can surface at some time when you're involved in the inevitable changes that come with aging. This lesson will help you learn what emotions to expect in yourself, your parents, your siblings, and others. You'll revisit some of the communication techniques that you learned in Lesson 1 as tools for handling feelings that surface. You'll also explore some new applications of pacing and leading, and ways to manage your own emotions.
In the past, it was the norm for family to absorb whatever additional burdens came with the declining health and abilities of elders; community and government services were limited or nonexistent. That's no longer the case. You are not alone, and the good news is that there are services available no matter what financial situation you or your parents are in. In this lesson, you'll explore what's available, where to find it, and the levels or progression of help that you may need over time. You'll also learn how to tell when to move from one level to another. After that, the lesson will go over some strategies for handling that moment when you introduce the idea of getting help to your parents. This can be a delicate matter, so it's best to be prepared. Issues of self-esteem and layers of emotion may arise when your parents find that they just can't do all the things they used to. The lesson will teach you to be on the lookout for this as you explore finding help.
The home care services you learned about in Lesson 7 can postpone a move to assisted living quarters, but there may come a time when it's no longer feasible for your parents to stay in their current home. You'll learn how to discuss the idea of a move with your parents, and ascertain their preferences, fears, and concerns. There are now several possibilities for increased care or services other than your home or a nursing home. This lesson will discuss some of the common alternatives. You'll explore the options progressively, from fully independent living to full-care nursing. The lesson will also talk about downsizing, as well as relocation and other services that you may need. Finally, you'll learn to choose wisely if sudden illness or impairment strikes, making a progressive approach impossible.
In this lesson you'll learn the five symptoms that reveal when it's time for your parent to move to a nursing home. Selecting a nursing home is one of the most important decisions you can make. You'll receive a checklist for selection that will serve you well whether you find yourself in a sudden crisis or just ahead of a parent being released from hospital. You'll be able to use the information in the lesson to enhance your confidence in selecting assisted living or other residence options.
When the time comes to move your parent to a nursing home, your behavior can make a big difference in how well they accept the change. You'll have to face the emotions of your parent and other family members and control your own. The communication skills based on neurolinguistic programming (NLP) that you have learned in previous lessons will serve you well: pacing and leading, gaining and maintaining rapport, and using disassociation to control emotion. This lesson will give you some more tips for applying your skills during this stressful time.
This lesson will invite you to consider death as a life event, another rite of passage in the ever-flowing river of existence. What you learn will serve you well if you're dealing with the impending death of a loved one. If you aren't yet facing it, the information in this lesson will help prepare you for that eventuality. You'll learn practical tips to help the dying person, and a few more to help you cope. You'll be encouraged to conquer your fear and reluctance enough to be fully present when death is imminent.
Lesson 11 talked about ways to handle the experience of a loved one dying. You were urged to choose to be fully present for that experience. The final lesson will address what to expect after the death. You'll become familiar with various theories about grief. The lesson will also cover some tips on handling issues that might arise. Finally, the lesson will offer you encouragement and suggestions for getting closure on this life experience, and ideas for getting on with the living.
Steve Alcorn is the CEO of Alcorn McBride Inc., a leading theme park design company that creates products used in all the world's theme parks. He is a proponent of advance planning and has experience with wills, living trusts, advance directives, and power of attorney. His experience also includes arranging for in-home care, nursing home selection, retirement community evaluation, memory care facility selection, and the analysis of Medicare and other insurance paperwork. He is a counselor to his employees, possessing insight into the varieties of relationships, problems, opportunities, and legal issues that can arise in the field of eldercare.
Steve is the published author of a wide range of fiction and nonfiction works. During the past decade, he has helped more than 30,000 students turn their story ideas into reality, with many of his students publishing novels they developed in his classes. His books include A Matter of Justice, Everything In Its Path, Molly Builds a Theme Park, How to Fix Your Novel, Theme Park Design, and Write Your Life Story.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits.
Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two weeks after each lesson is released, so you're encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The final exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the final exam has been released, you will have two weeks plus 10 days (24 days total) to complete the final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
A very timely course in this day and age when the number of elderly is increasing at record levels. I had been searching for information on a variety of elder care issues for quite some time and this course provided me with answers to my questions in one place. With my parents entering their golden years, I needed a roadmap to guide me with helping them through the aging process. This course was that roadmap."
Excellent course, and it could not have come at a better time in my life. I feel I got an enormous amount of direction and information! I would highly recommend it to others!"
For many, the journey down the path of assisting aging parents is full of uncertainty and emotional highs and lows. This course lights the way for our journey through the experience of others. Knowing what to expect and being equipped with tools to handle the challenges along the way makes me more confident and better prepared to deal effectively with whatever lies ahead."
I found the course to be very informative. My father passed away at home after a lengthy illness & the course reinforced the way the family handled his illness and passing. Your course gave me some valuable things to think about. I would definitely recommend the course. The course was very well organized. Thank you for all your personal experiences."
I thoroughly enjoyed this online class on Assisting Aging Parents. The lessons and supplemental information have been valuable. The instructor was knowledgeable and caring, and taught from first hand experience. I feel that I am more prepared and have more confidence to deal with the complexities of dealing with my aging parents. This was my first on-line class and I must say, I found it very enjoyable and look forward to taking other courses in the future."
This was a very timely class for me. My parents are elderly and I am struggling with their care and wellbeing. The scope of the course was amazing to me - the instructor covered information from the very beginning of the aging process (retirement) through searching for alternative living conditions and ending in the finality of death. All topics were covered candidly and with compassion. I think one of the greatest benefits was the outside reading and resource list."
Your class was so much more than I expected! Beyond helping me with the practical matters of resources and approaches, ultimately I realized that in order to be effective for my dad I have to dismantle the roadblocks in my head. After almost forty years of cynically rejecting "clichés," light bulbs were going off in my head as I read your material. It finally sunk in and empowered me -- I can change myself! As a result I have a confidant in my sister and a healthier relationship with my mom. Thank you for truly helping ME to assist my aging parents!"
I retired seven years ago. During the first six years my husband and I enjoyed lots of travel, taking care of our nephew's children, and volunteer work. In the sixth year of retirement I started missing the world of work. I missed getting a paycheck and working. My thoughts, however, were "who would hire an old lady who hadn't worked in six years?" During my sixth year of retirement I stared taking courses with ed2go.com. I felt revitalized again learning what was new in office software. I took a certificate course in gerontology and during that course I perused medical office websites. I updated my resume and applied for a job as an activity aide in the dementia section of a nursing home. I went through two interviews and was hired on my 65th birthday last summer."
Marsiea did a fine job with this course. I felt a personal connection with her, as she not only listened and responded to my communications but also shared some of her own experience with challenging life situations. Thank you, Marsiea!"
The instructor was very thorough in covering all the phases of "Assisting Aging Parents." Her writing and responses were well written and very helpful. I really enjoyed hearing about her personal experiences in her own family. Thanks to Marseia, I am less unsure of myself in this area of life and have grown as a person."