International College Announces New Allied Health Course for Fall 2004: Dynamics of Aging

Beginning September 9, International College’s School of Allied Health will offer a new course of interest to students who plan to pursue a career in the healthcare or social service field, called Dynamics of Aging.

The course takes an interdisciplinary approach to a wide variety of issues affecting the elderly and aging process, including public policy, legislation and legal issues, ageism, and healthcare. The course follows a seminar format with various guest speakers sharing their expertise on topics relating to aging. Sue Maxwell, Director of Older Adult Services for Lee Memorial Health System, is the first scheduled speaker. Others will include geriatricians, elder law lawyers, social workers, nursing home and hospice administrators, and an AARP of Florida associate director.

Students in the class will be required to participate in an Adult Mentor project in which they must find an older adult mentor (age 70 or older) to meet with face-to-face five to six times during the 15-week term. Students must keep a journal detailing the meetings/discussions with their mentors and use the journal entries for a final research paper.

Each week of the course will cover a new aspect of the dynamics of aging, explained William Griz, Ph.D., one of two professors teaching the new course, which will be offered in Naples and Fort Myers. A total of 34 students have enrolled in the course.

“We have students who will earn their degrees and move into administrative and clinical careers affecting various fields of aging. This course will give our students real-world, first-hand experience in the areas of aging through the expertise of our guest speakers and the adult mentorship,” Griz said. “It’s important that our students talk with and learn from their mentors so that they can look at these aging issues through someone else’s eyes.”

The latest Administration on Aging statistics show that persons age 65 or older numbered 35.9 million in 2003 and represent 12.3 percent of the nation’s population. By 2030, there will be an estimated 71.5 million older persons, representing 20 percent of the population. This increase will impact everything from Social Security to healthcare and long-term care.

Ann Marie Flannery, Associate State Director the AARP of Florida, said she supports the new course wholeheartedly and will drive in from St. Petersburg twice to be a guest speaker in early October.

“This course will be a great opportunity to share with students AARP research as well as new statistics and information about the aging population. A lot of people are not aware of what this population has to offer,” Flannery said. “American society, as a whole, tends to lessen the significance of an individual once they reach a certain age. A lot of stereotypes need to be changed. My hope is that this course will make people more knowledgeable and, thus, make them better healthcare and social service professionals.”

Professor Harold Russell, Ph.D., who will teach the course along with Professor Griz, shared his enthusiasm for the program.

“International College is affording students the integration of theory and reality within the Dynamics of Aging course. Our speakers are on the front-line of delivery services to aging. This is access our students would otherwise not have available to them. Students will also have the experience of mentorship with an older person,” Russell said. “We’re attempting to bring the student and world of aging together.”

Healthcare Administration major Samantha Bellamy said she is looking forward to gaining insight from guest speakers.

“I think the Dynamics of Aging class will reinforce what I’ve learned in other courses. It will bring a broader understanding of the different areas of aging,” said Bellamy, 26, of Fort Myers, whose long-range career goal is to be an administrator for an assisted living facility or nursing home.
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