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Health Studies
Course Code
Anna Walsh

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HLTB01H3Y: Health, Aging and the Life Cycle
Department of Health Studies
University of Toronto at Scarborough
Summer 2010
May 3/2010.
Introduction to the course: course outline, assignments and exams.
Brief overview and discussion: What is aging? Introduction to basic definitions and
Models of Optimal Aging.
A&G: Chapters 1 +12.
What is wisdom?
- Definition is debated
- the knowledge that comes with experience
- countries: seek out the elderly for counsel, and opinion because they are wise
- part of the reason that we look at the elderly here more than often as being a
burden/challenge is because we have a fear of getting old ourselves. It is the
last stage before we die, and we discriminate against them because we are
scared of going through these processes that we learn about.
- We want to stay young forever, and part of the research about the elderly
looks at ways that we can trick the aging process and deny the inevitable.
- We try to look younger (buy products). When we are younger we try to look
older and when we are older we try to look younger.
- It is the way its perceived because of the research and theories of aging that
make us believe certain things
- The aging process is plastic > able to be bent, change them
Theories of Aging
- See theories in the textbook!!
- strikingly different way that aging was thought of 2000 years ago
- 21st century: aging isnt seen as optimistic, today we know there is more than one
way to age successfully
- Erikson: aging is a process that continuously occurs and is affected by the choices
that individuals make
- No specific way to define optimal aging
- Ageism continues to exist because research about ageism has virtually offered
inconclusive results
- Problem: no one tells you about the good things with aging, only of the negative
- Medical community has demonstrated ongoing success of treating chronic
x Biogerontology: study of biological processes giving rise to old age
x Gerontology: the study of the elderly, and of the aging process itself. It normally
refers to the study of the biological process of aging, not its medical
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consequences. It concerns itself with the social, psychological and biological
aspects of the aging process. Gerontology covers the social, psychological and
biology aspects of aging. The field of gerontology is still much unknown.
x Geriatrics: the study of the diseases of the elderly.
When does late life began?
x Age the number of yrs a person has been alive
x Cohort - a group of people who share the same birth yr or historical event
x Period – time in which a measurement is taken
x Age Effect - phenomenon that always occurs, irrespective of age, cohort, or
period with aging ( ex. getting gray hair)
x Life span absolute time that an individual may live, no matter what you do you
will not live forever
x Life expectancy is how long, on average, an animal can be expected to live. The
length of time that an individual of a particular cohort could expect to live. It
refers to the age at which half of a particular cohort will have died. Its calculation
must take into account unforeseen historical circumstances that involve a number
of assumptions
x Longevity- the length or duration of life
x Age-specific life expectancy the average number of years that members of a
given cohort who have reached a specific age can expect to live
x Epidemiology - The branch of medicine that deals with the study of the causes,
distribution, and control of disease in populations
x Etiology – the cause of a disease/illness
x HEALTHdoes this definition make sense? We have to reform attitudes because
we tend to make assumptions. We make assumptions because of our definitions in
a skewed, bias way. None of us wake up and are “healthy according to this
x Mortality refers to death
x Morbidity – refers to illness
x Objective - clinically what a doctor will see on examination
x Subjective - persons own feeling or own status
x Morbidity raterefers to the prevalence or total number of cases of a specific
disease in a population
x Mortality rate refer to the number of people who die during a given period of
x Incidence Rate - refers to the number of new cases in a year
x Acute illness are often self limiting and/or can be successfully treated with
- differences in the hospitals, there are acute care hospitals
- a rehab facility would specialize in the treatment and care of chronic conditions
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