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Course Descriptions

GRN 500 Opportunities and Challenges of Aging

This course addresses the special challenges and opportunities associated with aging with a special focus on growing old in small towns and rural communities. In addition, it centers on the assessment, treatment, and service delivery implications of gerontological practice for a range of health and human service practitioners. The experience of aging, gerontological theories of aging, and current health and human service policies and programs which impact older adults and their families will be considered. The role and status of older adults as a population group and a potential patient/client group will be considered recognizing that elders bring both needs and resources to families, communities, and the professional helping relationship. This course partially satisfies the requirements for obtaining the University of Maine’s Interprofessional Graduate Certificate in Gerontology as well as the University of Maine School of Social Work’s
Certificate in Leadership in Rural Gerontological Practice. [ 3 credits]

GRN 501 Life Transitions and Health in Aging

This course provides a multidisciplinary and cross-cultural overview of late life transitions, wellness, functionality, successful aging, and quality of life issues for the older adult. The health, financial effects and satisfaction of role changes in later adulthood will be explored. The physiology of aging, health promotion and evaluation, prevention and management of acute and chronic health problems, mental health illness and service needs will be examined. Controversial topics such as voting and driving regulations and qualifications for older adults will be debated and discussed. Ethical issues and challenges and end of life preparation for older adults and their families will be explored. [credits: 3]

GRN 502: Interprofessional Care of Older Adults in Diverse Settings

Best practice strategies for professionals who work with older adults and caregivers in a variety of settings will be presented. Through study of the health-illness trajectory and transitions in care-settings of older adults who develop chronic and acute health problems, students will gain knowledge and skill in performing assessments and in developing comprehensive interprofessional case management approaches to meet the needs of older adults and their caregivers. Diversity and complexity of health-illness needs, functionality, coping with chronic illness and transitions in care-settings, harm reduction, and a strengths-based approach inform the holistic perspective of this course. Special issues for rural elderly and caregivers are addressed. This course is one of three required courses for the University of Maine Interprofessional Graduate Certificate in Gerontology program. [credits: 3]

Additional Optional Course:

GRN 503: Health Policy Issues of an Aging Population

This course focuses on the social, economic, and health challenges confronting our society with regard to the aging of the population from policy and program planning perspectives. Students will examine and critically analyze current social and health care policies and trends and resultant service delivery systems as they impact families generally, and older adults specifically. This course will consider the historical context out of which the current aging infrastructure has evolved. An appreciation for the role policy plays in enacting health care practice and the reciprocal role that health care practice plays in informing policy will be major points of emphasis. Policies to be considered that impact on older adults and their families include but are not limited to the Older Americans Act, Medicare, Medicaid, OASDHI (i.e., Social Security), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Affordable Health Care Act. These policies will be examined in the context of a scarce resource environment, special interest group politics, and matters of equity, social justice, and fairness. Learning will underscore the importance of student competencies in promoting the effective and humane operating of health and human service systems that provide resources and care to older people and their families as well as contributing to the development and improvement of social and health policies that support persons throughout the life span. [credits 3]