Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for SOC 231 Fall 2023

View archive version »
Course Number:
SOC 231
Course Title:
Sociology of Healthy Aging
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

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 cause of age-related illness. Recommended: an introductory Sociology course.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Explain quality of life and care for older persons using sociological theories and multi-disciplinary perspectives.
  2. Describe how an individual’s health and aging experiences relate to social structures and cultures (e.g., race, class, gender, sexuality, age, etc.) using the sociological imagination.
  3. Use social research to analyze and develop health policies, programs, and care plans to ensure a safe and healthy aging process.
  4. Explain the ways in which social inequality and systems of power impact health and aging over the life-course and result in differential outcomes for older individuals.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

Sociology offers a unique perspective that helps us understand how our lives are connected to each other and the larger society. Sociologists use scientific methods to study how societies are organized, why they change, and the different ways that social forces impact people’s lives. The sociological perspective allows us to understand micro and macro dynamics, through the power of social contexts, with varying structures, cultures, and groups shaping our opportunities, attitudes, behaviors, and identities and the broader social world.

Aspirational Goals

We hope that the careful study of health and aging from a sociological perspective will empower our students to develop the insights, empathy, and skills to analyze and address the complex social issues affecting our aging population today. It is also our hope that the knowledge gained from this course will help to increase our student’s confidence as professionals in the field of Gerontology and further the development of their professional portfolios.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Outcome Assessment Strategies

In addition to following guidelines for assessing General Education outcomes, including a required Signature Assignment, instructors will assess student learning of course-level outcomes by using various assessment tools, per instructor discretion, such as:

  1. Oral and/or 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. Group discussion utilizing hypothetical case studies for the purpose of identifying appropriate resources for client-oriented care plans
  3. Written examination of 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. Classroom discussion, group participation, and personal introspection which explorers underlying values and issues which influence the delivery of services to aging adults.
  5. Class attendance and participation 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 older persons including demographics 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 older persons.
  8. Formal and informal systems of support for the older persons
  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.

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