Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
SOC 231
Course Title:
Sociology of Health & Aging
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces age-related health issues in social and cultural context. Includes the social structuring of age, health and illness; demographics and patterns of health and illness of diverse older adults; issues related to medical and healthcare services; health and long-term care policy and programs. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Course will examine the formal and informal systems of support for aging adults with age-related health conditions and concerns. Topics include demographics and patterns of health and illness; social values, concepts of care, and policies influencing the delivery of health service; and service programs and systems related to a continuum of care and the curse of age-related illness.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Students who complete this course will be able to:
1. Use sociological theories and multi-disciplinary perspectives to provide quality care for older adults, based on the knowledge of how the health and aging process is influenced by social structural and cultural factors, including age, abilities, nationality, race/ethnicity, social class, gender, sexual orientation, and religious or spiritual community.
2. Use resources and services to work with families and older adults to plan for culturally and socially appropriate aging in place, healthcare needs, and care management.
3. Develop health policies, programs, and care plans to ensure a safe and healthy aging process.
4. Work with increased confidence as professionals in the field of Gerontology and further the development of their professional portfolios.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The student will

  1. Participate in the preparation and presentation of oral and written reports which describe and analyze (a) formal community programs for aging adults, (b) systems for friends, organizations, and family providing informal support, and (c) methods which coordinate the systems of support
  2. Participate in groups utilizing hypothetical case studies for the purpose of identifying appropriate resources for client-oriented care plans
  3. Demonstrate through written examination knowledge of the aging population, trends in the health-related needs of the aging population, and historical and contemporary responses of society for meeting those needs.
  4. Explore underlying values and issues which influence the delivery of services to aging adults through classroom discussion, group participation, and personal introspection
  5. Attend class and participate in all classroom activities and assignments.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Course Content:

  1. Basic concepts in gerontology which apply to the course study
  2. Definition of terms relevant to the course content.
  3. An historical review of health care services for the elderly emographics describing the aging of society with specific relevance for the study of health and aging.
  4. Identifiable trends affecting the planning of appropriate responses to the emerging health needs of an aging society.
  5. The course of acute vs. chronic illness
  6. The continuum of care representing integrated service systems
  7. Underlying social values and issues, which influence the delivery of health services to the elderly.
  8. Formal and informal systems of support for the elderly
  9. Methods for linking the formal and informal systems of support
  10. Public and private policies and funding sources, which influence the delivery of services.

Competencies and Skills:
The student will

  1. Use knowledge to make informed decisions regarding appropriate methods of service delivery
  2. Use analytical and evaluative methods for researching community resources
  3. Practice self-analysis to identify personal values and belief systems
  4. Use critical thinking to understand the rolf of social policy in contemporary society
  5. Integrate data to develop increased understanding of complex social systems

Approved Tests: Instructor Discretion.
Instructional Delivery Mode: This course has been approved for classroom, hybrid, and distance modalities.