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The rapidly aging population of industrialized countries will impact or change all aspects of our society over the next 50 years. This course will provide a historical perspective and overview of aging in Canada. A study of theories of gain, demographic trends and current research will lead to an exploration of the implications of aging in our culture.

Palliative care is the unique way caregivers think, respond, and act as they give skilled and compassionate care to a dying person and the support system of that person.  This course begins by helping each nurse understand their own personal and cultural perceptions of death and palliation by reflecting on their experiences with dying people.  After exploring the concept of a Palliative Approach each participant will gain specific and current knowledge about symptom assessment and management, and how to deal with selected palliative emergency situations.  Particularly unique aspects of caring for the dying, e.g, family care, communication, grief, and self-care will be explored.

Mental decline is not synonymous with old age. Mental health may be negatively affected by particular mental illnesses, by depression, by stress and poor adaptability, or by medical factors. Mental wellness and brain health can be boosted by timely assessment and diagnosis with appropriate treatment, education or social support. This course will explore vulnerabilities that predispose older adults to mental distress or illness with a focus on stabilizing and improving ability to problem-solve, improving ability to sound personal decisions, and maintaining personal integrity and dignity.