Perspectives in Gerontology [CRN 77148]

Discipline: Human Development and Family Studies
Instructor: Vega
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 0800
End: 0920
Field Work: Day 1 - Friday, 9 December | Costa Rica
Prerequisites: One (1) introductory sociology, psychology, OR human development/family studies course Download Syllabus

This course will introduce the social, psychological, cognitive and biological aspects of aging grounded in aging theory and research. A global perspective on aging will be provided with a special focus placed on the diversity that exists within the older population. Students will be encouraged to explore their own attitudes and beliefs about aging. Additionally, specific topics such as the phenomenon of population aging and changing demographics, aging stereotypes, retirement, grandparenting, caregiving, older adult health promotion, and issues associated with the end of life will be considered within the context of the countries visited on the voyage. Students will have opportunities to observe and interact directly with older adults from diverse cultures during field experiences. Methods of evaluation will include exams, a paper, field reports, and in-class global reflections.

Field Work

Country: Costa Rica
Day: 1 - Friday, 9 December

In this field class, we will visit the “Centro Diurno Luz de Amor” and learn about the aging issues facing the elderly in Puntarenas. “Luz de Amor” is a community based senior center dedicated to increase the quality of life of the Costa Rican elderly. It serves senior citizens 65+ with no family or economic resources. We will meet with the center’s director who will explain to us about the services they provide. We will have an opportunity to discuss how these issues are similar and different from the issues in the home country of the students in the class. We will also share some organized activities with the residents. Then we will visit “Clínica San Rafael”, a first level of attention facility where its director, Dr. Hannah Diermissen, will explain to us about the Costa Rican universal health care system that has made the country life expectancy indicators comparable to those of European developed countries. Finally, we will cap off the field lab with a walking visit to Puntarenas’ Cathedral, and “Paseo de los Turistas” where we will have lunch and enjoy a typical “Churchill” (snow cone).  Learning objectives:

  1. To learn about a Costa Rican´s non-government elderly facility and the services it provides for elders and their families and under what circumstances
  2. To interact and work with a group of elder citizens of Costa Rica
  3. To learn about the structure and operation of a Costa Rican´s Health Clinic and the Costa Rican´s health system in general
  4. To observe attitudes toward and custom of elders on the “Paseo de los Turistas” (a tourism site)