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Certificate in Gerontology

Program Description

This certificate is practice-orientated, preparing students for work in the field or credentialing students already working in the field. Students will be drawn from a wild range of public and private agencies involved in the programming and care of older people. Many student would be able to complete this certificate as part of their elective courses with in degree programs, graduating with a degree with both a concentration and a certificate.



Required Courses (5 courses)

SHS 120 Introduction to Gerontology
SHS 310 Social Gerontology
SHS 320 End of Life
SHS 324 Multi-Cultural Perspectives on Aging
SHS 408 Counseling Theory & Skills
HCA 413 Moral and Ethical Issues in Health Care
SHS 451 Geriatric Mental Health Care Management
SHS 440 Social & Health Services Practicum
SHS 430 Special Topics in Gerontology
Course Descriptions

SHS 120 – Introduction to Gerontology
This course is required for the Certificate in Gerontology and is a prerequisite for upper level courses in the Gerontology Certificate Program. This is a multidisciplinary course that provides students with an introduction to the study of again. The course covers many aspects of aging, including those associated with biology, physiology, medical care, psychology, culture, sociology and social policies. We will examine the anticipated developmental changes that occur from adulthood into later adulthood. Students will be introduced to basic theoretical models, research methods and current information on the psychology of adulthood and aging. We will also focus on the particular concerns of racial and ethnic minorities and the issue of ‘ageism’ as a form of discrimination in our society. Aging will be examined from multiple perspectives that include the social, political and biologicals sciences, arts and humanities, care giving, social services and social policy.

SHS 310 – Social Gerontology
Provides a broad base of knowledge about the process of the aging experience and the diversities in the older population. The impact of the changes in life expectancy and the consequent increase in the number of elderly will be addressed. Through a combination of reading, videos, presentations, and discussions, older Americans will be studied in a multi-disciplinary manner. Students will distinguish the realities of usual and successful aging from the societal stereotypes surrounding this phenomenon and consider how such attitudes affect social policies and services. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

SHS 320 – End of Life
Designed for personal growth related to issues of death and dying for professionals working in the field, as well as non-professionals. A developmental, life cycle perspective is used, examining such concepts as bereavement theories, cultural differences, clinical intervention with various types of mourning, and coping with caregiver stress and grief. Students will have an opportunity to examine their own beliefs and attitudes, expand their understanding of the grief process within families, examine traditional and non-traditional closure rituals, and learn new caregiver skills to prevent burnout. (3 credits) Fall

SHS 324 – Multi-Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Prerequisite: SHS 120 This course is required for both the Nursing Home Administration Certificate and for the Certificate in Gerontology. This course provides students with a knowledge base from an international and cross-cultural perspective necessary for social and health services with the aged and their families. We will examine demographic data on global aging and introduce basic concepts such as culturally competent care of elders. Students will learn geriatric social and health service practice concepts values, skills and theories. Emphasis is placed on the role of the social network and social exclusion on the availability and accessibility to formal and informal care services of the aging population. Students will analyze critical questions about age and ageing around the world. (3 credits)

SHS 408 – Counseling: Theory and Skills
Co-listed as PSYCH 356 A brief theoretical overview of counseling is discussed in conjunction with the application of practical skill development. Skills included are listening, observation, presentation of self, rapport development, interviewing, and empathy. (3 credits) Fall, Summer

HCA 413 – Moral and Ethical Issues in Health Care
Introduces students, currently employed (or intending to be employed) in the health care field, to the moral/ethical issues and dilemmas facing the healthcare industry/employee(s) today and into the future. A sampling of selected topics that will be discussed and researched include: informed consent, euthanasia, rationing of health care services, advance directives, biomedical research, heroic measures, the uninsured and underinsured. (3 credits) Spring, Summer

SHS 451 – Geriatric Mental Health Care Management
This course is required for the Nursing Home Administration Certificate and is The Capstone course for the Certificate in Gerontology. This course offers insights and practical approaches to working with older adults who may have mental illness. We will review evidence based screening tools as well as the criteria and ‘best practices’ for treatments related to mental illnesses and aging. The emphasis is on working more effectively as care managers, using a strength based approach to care. We will examine a range of topics, including the impact of social, economic and ethnic factors in the care and treatment of aging populations; the ethics of in-home care; working with family caregivers; spiritual challenges; chemical dependency and elder abuse, and the importance of care coordination, documentation and monitoring. (3 credits)

SHS 440 – Practicum in Social and Health Services

SHS 430 – Special Topics in Gerontology