Gerontology and Counseling – PACO 630

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course introduces students with the issues and problems unique to the elderly in American society. Topics such as grief and loss, suffering, societal attitude, and family structure are examined.




The increasing percentage of elderly in the population of the United States will require an increasing provision for their counseling needs. To offer effective counseling for the elderly, those working with them in many life areas must know the physiological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors that are significant in aging.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Relate the AAPC (American Association of Pastoral Counselors) and AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors) Codes of Ethics to practice with elderly populations.
  2. Appraise research in gerontology in order to provide a foundation for understanding the physical processes, cognition, and personality factors that characterize the elderly.
  3. Interpret the uniqueness of death, dying, and bereavement for each individual in terms of relationship, manner of death, complicating emotions, age, circumstances, etc.
  4. Evaluate cultural and historical changes and attitudes toward dying through selected readings, films, and discussions.
  5. Predict factors of social relationships associated with the aging process.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 300–400 words, demonstrate course-related knowledge, and reference at least 2 sources in current APA format. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 1 other classmates’ thread. Each reply must be 200–250 words.

Elder Connection Selection

The student will write a 450–500-word explanation on the elder he or she plans to observe for the Elder Connection Analysis.

Movie Critique Assignment

The student will view 3 death or loss-related movies and complete a 2–3-page critique for each. While no title page or abstract is necessary, the student must include a reference page that contains the movie information as well as any other cited references.

Loss/Death Paper

The student will develop a 2000-word or less (4–5-page) current APA/Turabian style paper that will review all personal experiences with loss and death during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Lossography/Deathography Graph

Using the information from his or her Loss/Death Paper, the student will construct a loss-history graph (similar to a genogram) that represents the loss events in his or her life.


The student will construct a PowerPoint presentation with a minimum of 40 slides on one of the major aging, death, or loss aspects covered in this course.

Elder Connection Analysis

The student will spend at least 10 hours with the elderly (over 75 years of age) either in a one-on-one relationship (family or acquaintance) or by attending a local support group for the same age group. The student will write out his or her experience, including a breakdown of the hours spent, in a 2–3-page report. The report must emphasize what he or she has learned about the elderly and their social interaction, as well as the general content of their average daily routine.

End-of-Life Planning Project

The student will complete a cost estimate for a funeral or memorial service, write a will, and write a eulogy or poem to be read at the service. The project must include at least 2 references in current APA format, including the textbook, the Bible, and scholarly articles.

Code of Ethics Exam

The student will complete an exam which covers the Code of Ethics of the AAPC and AACC. The exam will be open-book/open-notes, contain 25 multiple-choice and true/false questions, and have a 45-minute time limit.

Content Exams (3)

The student will complete 3 exams that cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned modules/weeks. The exams will be open-book/open-notes, contain 25 multiple-choice and true/false questions, and have a 1-hour time limit.