UC Clermont College, Colleges Around Cincinnati, University of Cincinnati

UC Clermont Offers Online Health and Aging Course

Class focuses on understanding the needs and experiences of older adults.

Date: 7/24/2017 12:00:00 AM
By: Amanda Chalifoux
Phone: (513) 558-8199

UC ingot   Like many, Professor Deborah Moffatt learned about the challenges of aging when her mother — who had a balance disorder and bipolar disorder — moved into her home and lived with her family for 15 years.

“I became her caregiver for the last five years of her life,” says Moffatt, who is an adjunct associate professor of social work and human services at UC Clermont College. Her mother remained active until her final years. She died of a stroke in 2014 at age 90. “It taught me about how older adults experience the world and how to be an advocate for her health and care.”

Moffatt’s experience is hardly unique.

More than ever, understanding and caring for older adults is a key component of work and home life for younger generations. According to data from the 2014 Census, there are more than 76 million Baby Boomers living in the United States. “There’s a lack of people across the nation who know enough about working with older adults,” says Moffatt, who adds that healthcare isn’t the only industry concerned with targeting the elderly population, many of whom are staying busy and engaged into their golden years. “Older adults go on trips, buy RVs, visit their kids and travel overseas. In response, more companies in all industries are trying to meet their needs.”

Now, Moffatt is applying her social work knowledge along with what she learned from caring for her mother to teach UC Clermont’s Health and Aging course, offered exclusively online. The gerontology course teaches students about basic communication strategies and community resources for older adults through case studies and other exercises — for example, students interview an older adult about their life, and take part in activities that simulate how a senior citizen experiences the world.

“Students put cotton balls in their ears and listen to conversation to simulate hearing loss,” says Moffatt, who explains that students take video of themselves performing the simulation exercises as part of the online course. “To practice distracted walking, they navigate an obstacle course. They walk with lentils in their shoes to simulate diabetic nerve pain.”

The course is available this fall and open to anyone. UC Clermont also offers a Gerontology Certificate, which can be combined with other academic degree programs or earned alone to fulfill continuing education credits. For more information about the Health and Aging course, contact Moffatt at moffatd@ucmail.uc.edu. For certificate information, contact Jill Gomez, program coordinator for Social Work at jill.gomez@uc.edu.