An overview of the structural and functional changes that characterize normal aging and consideration of the extent to which physical activity can influence the aging process through its impact on physiological function and on chronic disease and disabling conditions.  Also considered is the emerging body of evidence indicating significant psychological and cognitive benefits accruing from regular exercise participation by older adults.

This course introduces the subject of population aging from a multidisciplinary perspective. Topics to be discussed include: the status of aging in Canada and the world, ethnicity, social change, gerontological theory and the physical and psychological aspects of growing older.

This course will provide an introduction to social-psychological aspects of the aging process from young and middle adulthood through to later life. By means of lectures, readings, discussions, assignments, videos, and special speakers, you will consider various theories of lifespan development, plus normal changes in both physical and cognitive functioning with advancing age, in terms of memory, personality, relationships, meaning, and spirituality. Since gerontology is a multi-disciplinary field, our review of these topics will bear in mind the complex ways such features as environment, health, social networks, culture, and gender interact to shape a person’s experience of aging.

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to basic concepts, terms, and perspectives in the sub-field of gerontology known as narrative gerontology.
One of the things we can enjoy about being with older people is listening to their stories. In this course, we will take this fact as our starting point and explore what, in general, stories are and do. We'll explore how human beings are storytelling beings; and how the stories we tell (ourselves and others) about ourselves are, in many ways, the stories by which we live, the stories we are. We'll explore how our lifestories expand and evolve over time, and the effects of these changes on our experience of aging, and vice versa. We'll also consider the intimate relationship between our stories and our memories, emotions, relationships, personalities, and sense of identity; in other words, our who way of thinking and believing and being in the world. We'll look, too, at one of the most critical elements in working with older adults, namely narrative care - i.e., respectful story-listening that helps people to develop thick, strong, resilient stories with which to meet the challenges of later life.

Various aspects of aging and health are addressed in this course. Topics considered include: theories of biological aging; normal vs. pathological physical changes that accompany the aging process; various chronic conditions that affect quality of life in later life; the implications of physical aging for medication use and nutritional status among older adults; and the impact of an aging population on the provision of acute care, long-term care, and home care for older adults. Prerequisite: GERO 1013 and GERO 1023.