Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bioethics from a Gerontological Perspective

[Thank you to HR Moody for compiling and contributing this great collection of news items and stories from a bioethics and gerontological perspective]:


What are they letting children learn in college these days? One of the great things for gerontologists who teach college students is that we get to feel old ourselves all the time.

Consider the latest points about this year's freshmen, the Class of 2012, as reported by Beloit College's well-known "Mind Set" compendium. For our freshmen this year:

-GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available

-"WWW" has never stood for World Wide Wrestling

-The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents

-IBM has never made typewriters

-Lenin's name has never been on a major city in Russia

-Off-shore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited

Are you feeling old yet? For lots more about the class of
2012 and how they're different from us oldsters, click here.



Twelve innovative in-home caregiver training programs are being awarded up to $25,000 through the 2008 Community College Caregiver Training Initiative of the International
Longevity Center-USA's Caregiving Project for Older Americans, supported by MetLife Foundation. Winners of the competition are:

-Brookhaven College (Farmers Branch, TX) for two new training programs for Home Health Care and Hospice Aides and the Family Caregiver.

-Capital Community College (Hartford, CT) for a new home care training program volunteers to provide home care to veterans.

-Cincinnati State Technical and Community College for training Home Health Aides to sit for state examinations.

-GateWay Community College (Phoenix, AZ) for recruitment efforts and bilingual programs addressed to the Hispanic population.

-Harford Community College (Bel Air, MD) for a training focused on caregiving and end-of-life issues, in collaboration with hospitals and hospice organizations.

-Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, KS) for an Advanced Dementia Care Certificate Program

-Kapiolani Community College (Honolulu, Hawaii) to expand its gerontology program for entry level paraprofessional training

-Madison Area Technical College (Madison, WI) to expand the College's Certified Nursing Assistant program

-Union County College (Cranford, NJ) to introduce an eldercare initiative providing job-related basic education and educational assessment and counseling

-Southeastern Community College (Whiteville, NC) to enhance its In-Home Aide and Certificated Nursing Assistant Programs

-Southwestern Oregon Community College (Coos Bay, OR) to launch an initiative including a "train-the-trainers" component and scholarships for low-income caregivers.

-Tulsa Community College (Tulsa, OK) to implement a Certified Home Health Aide program in its existing Certified Nurse Aide program.

For more about the Caregiving Project for Older Americans, click here.



According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people over 65 account for over half of all hospital visits and 60% of primary care visits. In recognition of these facts, nursing programs are now adding even more gerontological content into their curricula.

A notable innovation here is the "Longitudinal Elder Initiative," a Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing program which pairs students with older persons in the community. The Initiative leaders believe that this pairing will help the student understand the health needs and care
of older adults and give students concrete knowledge of how social, financial and health issues affect older persons over time. For details, click here.



We have become accustomed to hearing that osteoporosis is a disease with onset in adolescence and manifestation in later life. But the basic point may be true for other diseases as well. The life-course perspective and the idea of "cumulative advantage and disadvantage"
means we need to see long-range consequences of early life events. In short, teaching about aging means teaching about more than later life.

Could the origin of other disabilities of later life in fact be found in early life? That's the core idea of the so-called Barker's Hypothesis, named for British researcher Dr. David Barker at the University of Southampton who published his idea more than a decade ago. Barker looked at epidemiological data around the world and became convinced that what happens in the womb can have long-lasting effects in later life. His point is that fetal events-such as food deprivation or other adverse events-can show up as susceptibility to chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.

For more on the Barker Hypothesis, click here or here.


Are you and your students using AgeLine? AgeLine is a free, searchable bibliographic database containing abstracts from both academic gerontology and popular publications.
Abstracts summarize both journal articles and books, as well as research reports and dissertations. AgeLine current offers more than 90,000 citations. For an overview of AgeLine, visit here.

For tips on how to use AgeLine in your teaching read "Using AgeLine in the Classroom" by Dr. Donna Konradi, Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Center for Aging and Community, University of Indianapolis.


Andrew said...


I'm only in my early 30's and sometimes I feel old.

I still use email instead of IM or skype, and I don't use my phone for anything other than making phone calls.

Moreover, I teach English as a second language, and when I choose a pop song to learn in class, I have to remember that the bands and artists which I like typically belong in a retirement village as far as my teenage students are concerned.



Linda MacDonald Glenn said...

My nephew, who is only in his 30's, was whistling a Rolling Stones tune when one of his twenty something colleagues asked what it was he was whistling -- when he replied, "the Rolling Stones", the young colleague said, "who? never heard of'em'. Geez.