SOC 189: Gerontology
Professor: Dr. Pam Haldeman
Chair, Sociology and Gerontology Department
Telephone: (310) 954 4366
Aging, the Individual, and Society, 7th Edition, by Susan Hillier and Georgia M. Barrow
A cross cultural exploration of aging as experienced in the United States. Ageism, societal attitudes regarding the elderly, and the process of aging itself is examined. Resource and service availability is also assessed.
The purpose of this course is to gain a greater understanding of the range and nature of the bio psycho social responses to aging over the life course, with an emphasis on how the sociological dynamics of aging impacts the biological and the psychological. A variety of theories related to the aging process will be presented. Public policy implications as the national and world population ages will also be examined. Fieldwork will be conducted in order to delve firsthand into the issues on aging and the kinds of resources available to our senior population.
BASIS FOR YOUR GRADE
Community Engagement & Analysis 10 visits @ 10 pts. ea. = 100 points
Senior Analysis Papers, 5 @10 pts. ea.
Carondelet Journal 25 pts.
10 Online Quizzes @ 10 pts. each
2 Tests (midterm and final) @ 100 pts. ea.
5 Online Discussion Board Inputs @ 10 pts. ea.
2 News Reviews @ 25 pts. ea.
Internet Resource Guide = 25 pts.
TOTAL = 600 points
There are many ways to learn and as many ways to view one’s place in society. Community engagement is an excellent method of not only seeing ideas addressed in the classroom come alive, it is also our ethical and civic responsibility as citizens and professionals. In our community of seniors in America, millions are isolated, too frail to remain active outside the home or lack nearby family members who can or will visit, support or contribute to meeting their needs whether psychological, sociological, or biological. In this class, you will learn firsthand through serving retired Sisters of St. Joseph residing in the Carondelet Center what those needs are and how each of us, whether as professional caregivers or family members, can address them. Your challenge is to apply your experience to our guiding theoretical framework of understanding aging as a biopsychosocial process.
Over the course of the semester, you are required to conduct ten visits to Carondelet Center (one hour minimum). Activities Director, Alma Torres, in collaboration with your professor, will establish a schedule for each class member based on student availability and the sisters’ daily schedule at the residence facility. Each student will be assigned to a sister as your semester partner. The sisters look forward to these exchanges and understand they are making a contribution to your education.
Using a 7 /12 X 9″ spiral notebook, create a Carondelet Center journal, dividing it into three sections: Description, Analysis, and Feelings. In the first section, “Description,” write about what you experienced, talked about or did while with your senior partner. In “Analysis” discuss what you consider to be connections observed from your experience and your classroom and text material. In “Feelings” reflect upon how you felt while visiting your partner, whether happy, pleased, sad, or distracted. This is where you can express yourself freely, and thus helping to ensure analysis is not influenced by the emotional dimension to your visits. Your journal will be turned in bi-weekly to your professor. Your grade on it will be based on consistency of entries and skill in analysis.
Enjoy the journey! Students before you typically say this is the most rewarding and enjoyable assignment of this course!
Go to http://msmc.blackboard.com for course web site for access to quizzes and all other course content. Your username is the same as your MSMC email name and your password is your student I.D. number (without the first zero, if you have it). You may change your password if you wish. The quizzes are timed for one hour. Once you have opened a quiz, you cannot leave it and re enter later. Be sure to click “submit” after you have answered all quiz questions.
Technology glitches do occur, so plan submission of all of your work with this in mind. Late assignments will not be excused due to computer/web problems. Points will be deducted for late work. You can complete work before the due date, which is highly recommended if you plan to go out of town. Give yourself at least 24 hours to submit work prior to deadline to ensure its submission.
Online Discussion Board Inputs
In Blackboard, there is a “Discussion Board” where we will conduct threaded, asynchronous discussions on topics on aging. Your professor will introduce the topic on the Discussion Board and you are asked to submit at least two well thought out analyses on the topic. Opinion is acceptable if it is backed up by text material, intellectual analysis, or example. Be particularly careful to think through your comment in order to avoid stereotyping, prejudiced remarks, overly simplistic, or global remarks about any individual or groups of people. The discussion assignment is intended to engage students in civil discourse with one another and we want all to feel comfortable and welcome in voicing informed thoughts on each question posed. Please remember to exchange ideas in a respectful, tolerant, and civil manner.
After your first submission, please check back and respond to an input from another student at a later time so that it is apparent to your professor you have read comments and reflected upon them. The points given you for each discussion session will be based on the combination of apparent thoughtfulness and quality of your individual statement and your replies to other students. Apply critical thinking to each topic and join us in a sustained discussion.
This does not mean opinion! Approximately two pages of summary and one page of analysis (about 750 words’ total) will be acceptable. A high quality summary and analysis, however, may consist of more than this average minimum, depending on the length and complexity of the article. NOTE: Clearly indicate your summary section and your analysis section in your paper. Remember, analysis means examining implications and what the ramifications are of a given topic, Take the topic to a deeper level for analysis, applying gerontological theory and research to discuss it. The quality of your writing will contribute to your overall score, so take care to do spell check and grammar check. Proofread all of your work as well. Late papers cannot receive full point credit.
Midterm and Final
These tests will be short answer and essay in format. Please bring large bluebook. No make up exams are permitted without written documentation.
WEEK 1: JANUARY 19
Course Introduction. Community work overview.
WEEK 2: JANUARY 26
The demographic map for the future: The graying of America and the world
READ: CH. 1
WEEK 3: FEBRUARY 2
Stereotypes on aging and the social construction of what it means to be “old.” Is being old relative to the culture one lives in or is it purely biologically determined?
READ: CH. 2
TAKE ONLINE QUIZ #I (chapters 1 2)
DISCUSSION BOARD INPUT #1
WEEK 4: FEBRUARY 9
Theories and research on adult development
READ: CH. 3
TAKE ONLINE QUIZ #2 (chapter 3)
SENIOR ANALYSIS QUESTION 1:
Get to know your partner. Share something about yourself with her. Write how it felt to be with and talk to an elder who is not kin.
Did you feel comfortable, anxious, happy, sad? Consider why you felt as you did.
WEEK 5: FEBRUARY 16
Theories on responses to the aging process
READ: CH. 4
NEWS REVIEW #I ~turn in via email attachment)
TAKE ONLINE QUIZ #3 (chapter 4)
SENIOR ANALYSIS QUESTION 2:
The retired sisters belong to an age cohort. Discuss with your partner what American society was like when she was your age.
Gather information on the historical context of her place and time.
WEEK 6: FEBRUARY 23
The Importance of social bonds: Marriage, family, social networks and sexual intimacy
READ CH. 5 & 6
DISCUSSION BOARD INPUT #2
TAKE ONLINE QUIZ #4 (chapter 5 & 6)
SENIOR ANALYSIS QUESTION 3:
What have been the important social bonds in your partner’s life? How have these bonds influenced her in the choices she’s made, challenges she’s encountered, or life satisfactions she enjoyed?
WEEK 7: MARCH 2
Health and aging: Chronic vs. acute conditions, theories on aging, optimizing health.
READ CH. 7
TAKE ONLINE QUIZ #5 (chapter 7)
SENIOR ANALYSIS QUESTION 4:
As you talk with your partner, apply one of the theories of aging to her. Use examples to support your application.
WEEK 8: MARCH 9
Work, leisure and the multiplying aging tracks: Lifestyle trends after 65.
READ: CH. 8
DISCUSSION BOARD INPUT #3
TAKE ONLINE QUIZ #6 (chapter 8)
SENIOR ANALYSIS QUESTION 5:
As you listen to your partner’s life story, what has was her life’s “theme”? How has her work and sense of purpose possibly impacted other aspects of her life, such as sense of self and overall health?
SPRING BREAK MARCH 10 16
WEEK 9: MARCH 23
MIDTERM. On material from weeks 1 8.
WEEK 10: MARCH
30 Finances and living environments
READ: CH. 9 & 10
TAKE ONLINE QUIZ #7 (chapter 9 10)
SENIOR ANALYSIS QUESTION 6:
What do you think about the living environment at Carondelet? What are its strengths and what could be improved? How might the physical structure of the living environment affect social life and psychological well being?
WEEK 11: APRIL 6
The psychology of aging: Cognitive processes, functional disorders vs. organic disorders.
READ: CH. 11
DISCUSSION BOARD INPUT #4
TAKE ONLINE QUIZ #8 (chapter 11)
SENIOR ANALYSIS QUESTION 7:
As you talk with your partner, do you observe any cognitive impairments? If so, what kind? How are they manifested? If not, what do you think has contributed to your partner’s cognitive acuity?
WEEK 12: APRIL 13
Caregiving for the oldest old and special problems of the elderly
READ CH. 12 & 13
NEWS REVIEW #2
TAKE ONLINE QUIZ #9 (chapter 12 and 13)
SENIOR ANALYSIS QUESTION 8:
What do you observe the special problems of the elderly are, based on your partner’s biopsychosocial status and of those around her?
WEEK 13: APRIL 20
DISCUSSION BOARD INPUT #5
TAKE ONLINE QUIZ # 10 (chapter 14 and 15)
SENIOR ANALYSIS QUESTION 9:
Has your partner shared her thoughts about death? What are they? In sharing her life story, what have you learned about how gender and ethnicity may affect
one’s attitude on age and being old?
WEEK 14: APRIL 27
Semester wrap up roundtables and in class “conference” on community engagement and our senior partnership experience.
SENIOR ANALYSIS QUESTION 10: On saying good bye. What works? How does it feel? Towards closure how can this best occur for you?
WEEK 15: FINAL TEST. On material weeks 10 15.