UC Experts on Aging Offer Free Online Training to Assist With Understanding the Elderly
Generational differences can be quite significant in just 10 or 15 years. Recognizing the need to help health care and social services professionals better understand the older population, eldercare experts at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Nursing have created a free online generational diversity and sensitivity training series to educate and enlighten people who serve and support older people.
"The older population is so misunderstood and often mistreated, and unfortunately, many older people are not treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” says Charles Puchta, the director of UC’s Center for Aging With Dignity, where the training program was developed.
Many people who serve and support older people know very little about them. "In order to base our interactions with older people on a foundation of knowledge, we need to know about aging and be able to differentiate between the truths and the many myths and stereotypes,” added Evelyn Fitzwater, PhD, the center’s associate director.
The new training program, called "Look Closer, SEE ME,” is an online series of modules that provide essential information to help professionals and service workers better understand and interact with people age 60 and older. Each module has a run time of 10 to 12 minutes. The modules are:
1. Aging & Older People: Experiencing the Reality 2. Aging & Function: Examining Impact on Daily Living 3. Aging & Communication: Engaging Older People 4. Aging & Change: Exploring Life Transitions 5. Aging & Ethnicity: Embracing Cultural Differences
Puchta and Fitzwater at the Center for Aging With Dignity—an initiative of the College of Nursing—collaborate with experts in a variety of fields such as criminal justice, medicine and social work in order to educate the public and private sector on the needs of the elderly. Their focus is keeping people "SAFE After 60” by advocating for, advancing and developing best-practice programs for the prevention of elder abuse, exploitation and mistreatment.
According to Puchta, the "Look Closer, SEE ME” training series is based on a poem by the same name. Years ago, when an old woman died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital in Scotland, it was believed she had nothing left of any value. Later, when nurses were going through her belongings, they discovered the poem. Today, the woman who authored it is known as "Anonymous."
The training program, Puchta says, allows participants to take note of generational differences and how wrong-minded attitudes about older people can be detrimental to their care and well-being.
"By better understanding the aging process and addressing common age-related concerns, we can enhance safety and well-being,” says Puchta.
The training series is now available online, free of charge. Click here for more info.