LSLC 3423: Biology of Human Aging
Old age comes for all of us. This fact is particularly relevant now, as the United States faces one of the most dramatic demographic shifts in the nation’s history. In the next 25 years, the U.S. and the world at large will experience an expanding number of geriatric residents as babies born in the middle of the 20th century begin entering retirement. More employers are looking for people skilled in the field of gerontology in an effort to face the challenges associated with the demographics of an aging American society head on. Very soon, professionals and others who provide services to older populations will need to be prepared for addressing their needs and desires, and planners for services will need to be informed of the parameters of handling them. Biology of Human Aging lays the foundation for the gerontological knowledge they seek by providing a survey of the effects of age on the human body.
What’s really cool about this class is that it tackles a subject many would elect to ignore: the realities of our own mortality. Through a systematic analysis of the human aging process, students become more aware of all of the effects that aging produces as we grow older. This makes what might seem like an intimidating subject more manageable, and equips future care providers with the skills they need to face the inevitable challenges of living in the 21st century United States.
The class begins by introducing both natural science and social science methods used to study aging in humans and other creatures. It then offers a synopsis of the demographics of aging in human populations and provides the students with basic terms and theories of aging. Finally, instructors lead students in the discussion of the mechanisms of aging at the cellular level – how cool is that?! – before concluding with a review of how the body ages, system by system.
At their heart, all of the assignments in this class are designed to provide students with a better understanding of the human experience throughout the aging process. At the end of the class, students will have reviewed many topics related to aging at the biological level, and will possess the knowledge they need to tackle the challenges of working in lifespan care.
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