Syllabus Samples

Psychology of Aging

Sample


As a requirement for this course you are asked to participate In the  Service Learning Program which involves spending approximately one to  two hours per week for 8 weeks with an older adult at one of the  Service Learning Program placements (see me for other options).  Remember that your placement is a learning environment. You will be  required to maintain a log (journal) in which you will document your  thoughts, feelings and observations regarding these experiences. Your  log book counts for 30% of your final grade. I will collect and grade  your books periodically throughout the course, with one week notice  when I will collect them. I prefer that your log be kept on computer  and printed out on paper, but if this is not feasible, please write  your log clearly in a note book. While visiting, keep the following  questions in mind and answer these in full and thoughtful sentences in  your log book. You are not limited to these questions. Please see me  immediately if you have any questions, problems, or other issues  associated with your placement.


*Log Book Assignment 1*: Before your first placement visit, write  down a few of the myths of aging that you have held or currently still  hold. Additionally, question approximately 10 people regarding some of  the myths that are associated with aging. Try to survey people of  different ethnicity and backgrounds. What are their views of aging?  Would you say that, for the most part, the people you surveyed have a  positive or negative view of aging? What about your views on aging,  primarily positive or negative?


Visit 1 Make sure you are comfortable in this situation and  also that others feel comfortable around you. What do you notice about  the people here'? Are they generally happy or sad, agitated or calm?  During your first visit, are any of the myths that you thought were  true about the elderly evident here? While at your first visit, keep in  mind the biopsychosocial method of study outlined in your book. Why do  you think these three branches of study are necessary to fully  understand what is happening as we get older? Discuss the various  definitions of age and find examples in your placement.


Visit 2 During the second and third weeks of the course we  will discuss various biological changes that naturally occur in the  brain and body of people as we get older. For your second visit, keep  in mind what we learned in class. Are any of the changes that we talked  about evident in this population? How can you tell? What methods are  used for compensation? Do you think the facility is aware that the  environment that elderly people are in can either help or hinder their  sensory limitations?


VISIT 3 What health factors do you notice at your placement?  Do these older adults typically smoke? Drink alcohol? Does the  atmosphere appear stressful for the patrons?


*Log Book Assignment II*: Changing behaviors. This involves informal  interviews of a few of your classmates or acquaintances. If you know  someone who smokes, find out if they are aware of the long-term effects  of smoking (emphysema, lung cancer). Describe these diseases to them  (outline your presentation in your log book). If they are aware of the  dangers that await them, do they still choose to smoke? Why? What are  your thoughts? If you can't find a smoker, have a similar discussion  with people you know who are interested in keeping that California tan.  Warn them of the dangers of exposure to the sun and how that may affect  them later in life. Will they change their current behaviors to avoid  disease in later life'? Why or why not? You may choose your own health  hazard as well.


VISIT 4 At this point we have discussed information  processing. Are you able to detect any deficits in attention in the  person you are with this quarter? If yes, is it in selective attention,  the capacity of attention, or vigilance? Do you notice that their  psychomotor speed is slower than yours? What might account for this? Do  they still drive? If yes, do you think they should? If no, do you think  they could? What kind of arguments could be given for both sides?


VISIT 5 A common complaint among the elderly is that their  memory isn't the same as it used to be. Is there an obvious memory  impairment in the person you are in contact with? Does s/he complain of  memory failures? What kind of an impact does this have on this person?  What is his/her outlook on his/her future? Is s/he looking forward to  it?


VISIT 6 What do you think intelligence is? If an older person  appears less intelligent, what might be some other factors responsible  for this decline? What are some difficulties with research on this  topic (compare and contrast research methodologies). Can you detect a  difference between fluid and crystallized intelligence in this person?  If you are studying a person with Alzheimers disease, is any aspect of  his/her intelligence spared? How could this be measured?


VISIT 7 Discuss the usefulness of adopting the biopsychosocial model in the study of older adults.


VISIT 8 Your last visit. What have you gained from this experience?

*Log Book Assignment III*: Your task is to design a facility for  senior citizens. Assume you have unlimited funds. Include specifics  about the building layout and also social programs for older adults.  Include justifications for your facility.


VISIT 3 What health factors do you notice at your placement?  Do these older adults typically smoke? Drink alcohol? Does the  atmosphere appear stressful for the patrons?


*Log Book Assignment II*: Changing behaviors. This involves informal  interviews of a few of your classmates or acquaintances. If you know  someone who smokes, find out if they are aware of the long-term effects  of smoking (emphysema, lung cancer). Describe these diseases to them  (outline your presentation in your log book). If they are aware of the  dangers that await them, do they still choose to smoke? Why? What are  your thoughts? If you can't find a smoker, have a similar discussion  with people you know who are interested in keeping that California tan.  Warn them of the dangers of exposure to the sun and how that may affect  them later in life. Will they change their current behaviors to avoid  disease in later life'? Why or why not? You may choose your own health  hazard as well.


VISIT 4 At this point we have discussed information  processing. Are you able to detect any deficits in attention in the  person you are with this quarter? If yes, is it in selective attention,  the capacity of attention, or vigilance? Do you notice that their  psychomotor speed is slower than yours? What might account for this? Do  they still drive? If yes, do you think they should? If no, do you think  they could? What kind of arguments could be given for both sides?


VISIT 5 A common complaint among the elderly is that their  memory isn't the same as it used to be. Is there an obvious memory  impairment in the person you are in contact with? Does s/he complain of  memory failures? What kind of an impact does this have on this person?  What is his/her outlook on his/her future? Is s/he looking forward to  it?


VISIT 6 What do you think intelligence is? If an older person  appears less intelligent, what might be some other factors responsible  for this decline? What are some difficulties with research on this  topic (compare and contrast research methodologies). Can you detect a  difference between fluid and crystallized intelligence in this person?  If you are studying a person with Alzheimers disease, is any aspect of  his/her intelligence spared? How could this be measured?


VISIT 7 Discuss the usefulness of adopting the biopsychosocial model in the study of older adults.


VISIT 8 Your last visit. What have you gained from this experience?


*Log Book Assignment III*: Your task is to design a facility for  senior citizens. Assume you have unlimited funds. Include specifics  about the building layout and also social programs for older adults.  Include justifications for your facility.

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