Class Helps People Help Elders

February 28, 2012
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From the LA Times…

Valencia’s College of the Canyons in Ca. has designed a course to train students to help the elderly cope with chronic medical conditions and live more comfortably. The semester-long pilot program is the first of its kind in the country, administrators told the Times.

During the term, students study what it’s like to grow old, learning the physical and mental changes involved, and how aging affects behavior and communication. And they learn practical skills to help seniors remain healthy as they age: strategies to prevent falls, reduce stress and improve their nutrition.
The students earn a certificate in Skills for Healthy Aging Resources and Programs. 
The program, which includes fieldwork, differs from a regular degree course in gerontology because it’s more hands-on and emphasizes practical, care-giving skills. Students come away with skills to work in senior centers and homes and service agencies. 
Most students are women, some in their 50s and 60s. Some already had degrees and had worked in other careers. Many hoped to make themselves more marketable. And most cited stated a personal connection as their primary motivation.

More colleges should consider this program.