Aug. 4, 2006
"There really isn't anyone who's not affected by the process of aging, whether it's in the family, the workplace, or socially. It's really the only thing we have in common. Everyone could benefit from an introductory course in gerontology," said Steve Niebler, director of the Adams County Office for Aging.

Neibler will be one of the instructors for an Introduction to Gerontology program offered this fall at HACC-Gettysburg Campus. The first in a series of four courses will begin August 22 and the last course will end December 14. Participants can enroll for any one of the four courses or for the entire gerontology series, and can enroll for college credit (1 credit per course) or choose non-credit enrollment status. Each class will meet for about four weeks on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:05 PM at HACC-Gettysburg Campus.

The four courses will provide 1) an introduction to the study of gerontology and relevant aging resources; 2) an overview of changing demographics as they relate to the area of social services, including federal and state mandates, public and private funding for aging services, retirement, powers of attorney and advance directives, and housing options; 3) an overview of the physiology and pathology of aging, addressing the nutritional needs of the elderly, drug therapy in the elderly, and sexuality in aging; and 4) an overview of mental health and aging, psychiatric mental disorders, organic mental disorders, and maintenance and enhancement of mental function in later life.

Barbara Grandia, associate professor of counseling at HACC's Lebanon Campus and coordinator for the HACC Gerontology program, said that "These courses are relevant to so many different career fields. They can enhance workplace skills for anyone working in a setting serving older people. They can help anyone exploring a career change who wants to learn more about the aging population."

Grandia also says that "Taking the gerontology courses can promote awareness, competence, and sensitivity for family members who have older folks they're taking care of. The course credits can also be applied to many HACC associate degrees and are generally transferable to other college programs."

Representatives of area health care institutions have acknowledged the value of HACC's gerontology program for their employees. Karen Coleman, Director of Nursing at Homewood at Plum Creek, Hanover, said that "Coursework in aging would definitely be a benefit to anyone pursuing a career in long-term care. I would look at the gerontology courses as a real plus when considering prospective employees. And Homewood is willing to cover the tuition costs for any of our current employees who take HACC's gerontology courses."

Gretchen Pierce, Director of Human Resources at the Brethren Home Community, said that "HACC's gerontology courses provide a valuable resource for our employees and will enable us to identify and promote staff members who have leadership potential."

For more information about HACC's gerontology coursework in aging, contact Lisette Newhard at HACC-Gettysburg Campus, 717-337-3855 extension 3032 or send her an email at the contact address below.

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