Perspectives in Gerontology [CRN 29397]

Discipline: Human Development and Family Studies
Instructor: Vega
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1230
End: 1350
Field Work: Day 2 Hong Kong | February 5, 2018 | China
Prerequisites: One (1) human development/family studies course OR one (1) general psychology course OR one (1) general sociology course Download Syllabus

In this course, we 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.

Field Work

Country: China
Day: 2 Hong Kong
Date: February 5, 2018

Hong Kong is the city with the longest life expectancy in the world, and with a population of adults 65 and over that will reach 31% in 2044 (Alma M. L. Au, et al.,2017). Knowing these characteristics, the Hong Kong City Government has a variety of projects that aim to create an age-friendly city, a concept that is based on the framework for active ageing defined by the World Health Organization. This field class will help students evaluate the age-friendliness of the city of Hong Kong by participating in Tai Chi class and by sharing with the residents of a Senior Center. Tai Chi is a graceful exercise that combines thought and action and is developed from an ancient martial art that reflects Taoist philosophy. The essence of Tai Chi is a combination of control and balance.  We will join local people in a public park to practice Tai Chi with the guidance of a Tai Chi Master. During this practice, we will have a break, then we will have a chance to discuss the history and benefits of Tai Chi with Tai Chi master, including the different forms of Tai Chi. Afterwards, we will visit a senior center where 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 our home countries in the class. We will also share some organized activities with the residents. Throughout the day, you will be asked to keep a journal about your experience. You will then create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to help raise awareness to the issues we saw in Hong Kong and throughout the world. You will need to use both the field lab experience and the information we learn in class to create this PSA. The PSA can be in the form of a pamphlet, advertisement, song, video, etc. Be creative and more importantly effective!

Learning Objectives:

  1. To learn about a Hong Kong´s elderly facility and the services it provides for seniors and their families and under what circumstances
  2. To interact and work with a group of senior citizens of Hong Kong
  3. To experience and learn about Thai Chi as a traditional practice
  4. To evaluate the age-friendliness of the City of Hong Kong