Updated December 2022
There's no doubt about it. We are in the midst of an aging phenomenon. The most recent census pegged the Canadian population of 65+ seniors at a whopping 19 per cent (seven million).
And that number is expected to jump to nearly 25 per cent by 2051.
People across occupations are feeling these challenges. From health care to social services to law enforcement—we need better strategies to respond to the unique needs of our aging community members.
For many, this means seeking out gerontology training and certification to develop a deeper understanding of the impacts of aging—psychologically, physically, financially, and socially.
If your work puts you in close contact with seniors, you may be considering a gerontology certificate to strengthen your skills and do your job more effectively.
What will you gain from a quality introduction to gerontology? These are four practical takeaways you can expect a solid program to deliver.
1. A deeper understanding of the aging process
What is it like to grow old? What typical physical, social, and psychological challenges do people face as they age? What are the dominant theories of aging that professionals use to understand and respond to these challenges?
An introductory gerontology certificate will explore these issues, offering students a grounding in what it really means to be an older person in today's society.
You'll understand relevant terminology, research, and concepts; how to speak the "language" of aging, and discuss key issues with colleagues.
This framework is key for what comes next—building real-world skills that help you address aging-related challenges in your own work.
2. Common mental health conditions among today's seniors
Health challenges are an inevitable part of aging. And there are certain physical and mental health conditions that are common among older members of our communities.
Unfortunately, lack of awareness, stigma, and limited access to health services have made treating these illnesses a growing problem in countries across the globe.
Quality gerontology training briefs students on the most prevalent and problematic health issues facing older people today. You'll learn about symptoms, intervention and treatment strategies, and challenges related to conditions such as:
- Anxiety disorders
- Concurrent disorders
Elder abuse is also a serious health issue facing our aging population. Research suggests that approximately 1 in 6 older people experience elder abuse.
Students in gerontology training will learn about abandonment and neglect of seniors, loss of dignity and respect, as well as warning signs of physical, verbal, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse.
The key takeaways? Knowing how to identify and intervene in cases of elder abuse and effectively support and respond to seniors struggling with mental health issues.
3. How to promote a healthy lifestyle for seniors
Having information about the challenges of aging is only useful if we know how to translate that knowledge into action.
A comprehensive introduction to gerontology will include practical activities and techniques students can use to help seniors adopt healthier lifestyles.
You'll explore recreational programs and social activities that encourage physical and mental well-being as well as social inclusion. You can also expect to explore issues that commonly interfere with participation in such programs—like chronic pain, debilitating illness, and sleep problems—and how to approach those obstacles.
4. Better grasp of legal issues & community services for seniors
How do we assess the capacity of an aging person to make decisions about their own care? When should substitute decision-makers get involved, and how do we deal with issues of consent? What about medically assisted dying?
These are key issues for anyone involved in palliative and long-term care. Training in this area will include a close examination of laws and ethics that pertain to aging, the rights of seniors, and how to create an effective plan for advanced care.
You can also expect to look at social policy and community resources for seniors. What are some of the biggest challenges seniors are facing in terms of housing, pensions, poverty, transportation, isolation, and access to local services?
Be ready to discuss how policy-makers are dealing with these issues, how they're impacting senior care at the grassroots community level—and practical solutions for facing these challenges in our everyday lives and work.
Interested in learning more?
If you believe gerontology training would improve your professional practice, we welcome you to learn more about our certificate program.
Kompass offers an online Gerontology certificate that can be completed within three to six months.
Click below to see complete program details and chat live with an admissions advisor. We're here to help.