Fall 2024 Schedule of Classes and Syllabi are now available! Registration Begins Aug. 1st!

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Aging and End of Life Issues

This course explores the critical social issues facing our aging society.  Coverage includes the major social, psychological, and biological perspectives in aging and old age from the standpoint of the individual, family, and community.


  • Understanding aging within its evolving historical and social context.
  • Examining the changing demography and assessing the direction of social change brought on by the aging society.
  • Exploring issues in aging related to race, ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic position, and gender, including bereavement and widowhood.
  • Comparing policies and practices of other countries in meeting the needs of older people.
  • Exploring how older people construct their self-concept, individuality and actions in old age and how this affects meaning, value and purpose in their lives.
  • Examining the physical, social, psychological, spiritual, and economic realities of growing older.
  • Discussing variations in household structure, patterns of home ownership, and alternative living arrangements among the aged to include family and institutional care options.
  • Identifying the major issues regarding elders in the health care system, labor force participation and retirement, and legislation affecting health and economic well-being.
  • Exploring the role of employers, human resource managers, and public policy makers in increasing support for career and work life extensions among older workers.
  • Exploring how new lifestyles and improved health among today’s elderly challenge traditional views of old age.
  • Evaluating strategies for assessing older persons’ needs for care, ensuring their safety and seeking elder care options.
  • Understanding the importance of the individual, family, neighborhood, community and societal contributions to optimal aging.
  • Discussing the essential topics of elder law – advanced directives, patient rights, social security, guardianship, elder abuse.
  • Identifying rituals, traditions, and responsibilities in matters of death and dying among different cultural and religious groups.
  • Identifying special problems among the aging including suicide, elder abuse, fraud, crimes against older people and drug abuse.
  • Developing a source of information for use by professional caregivers, families of the aging, and the public who are addressing issues of aging.
  • Identifying myths regarding sexuality in the elderly, identify the intimacy needs of the elderly, and ways communal living situations can respect their needs.
  • Understanding the ageist attitudes of different age groups and be able to identify ways to change negative attitudes to more positive attitudes.
  • Describing the caregiving of the oldest-old by spouses and the adult children and the effects of gender, ethnicity, and the number of siblings on the care given.
  • Differentiating between functional mental health disorders and organic mental health disorders, analyzing the need for improved mental health services for the elderly, and identifying good mental health safeguards.


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