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October 4, 2002

Purdue offers gerontology certificate to professionals

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A new Purdue University gerontology certificate for professionals will help health care employees better care for the needs of the elderly.

The new certification will be announced Friday, (10/11), at the Indiana Governor's Conference on Aging during a special session that features Purdue speakers.

"There are many people in the service field for older adults who were forced to learn on the job," said Gerald Hyner, associate director of Purdue's gerontology program and professor in health and kinesiology.

"The age group 65 and older is the nation's fastest growing population, and often those serving and caring for this age group seek additional training to handle the needs of the elderly. This certificate will provide the knowledge and training that health care professionals need to improve the quality of life for those 65 years and older."

The certificate is designed for practicing professionals who want to increase their knowledge in areas related to the study of aging, such as nutrition, physical activity, economics, cognitive function and language disorders, by taking graduate courses offered by the Purdue Gerontology Program's faculty.

Some of the program's faculty also are speaking at the Indiana Governor's Conference on Aging. The conference, which will be at the Airport Adams Mark Hotel, begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday, (10/10). On Friday, Purdue staff and graduate students from the departments of foods and nutrition and health and kinesiology are sponsoring a health fair, including health assessments.

"Purdue is being viewed as a primary resource for aging and gerontology issues," Hyner said. "By inviting Purdue faculty to speak at the conference, the state has recognized we have an excellent gerontology program at Purdue.

"As the older population continues to grow, the elderly will place a greater demand on the health care system and community services. The Purdue Gerontology Program is devoted to conducting research and educating students about older individuals to meet that great demand."

The Purdue Gerontology Program includes 40 faculty in departments including child development and family studies, sociology, educational studies, veterinary clinical sciences, nutrition and audiology and speech sciences. The faculty members cooperate by bringing their diverse disciplinary expertise to study disability, social, economic and health issues in the elderly population.

The new gerontology certificate is available to individuals who have already earned a bachelor's degree. The certificate requires 10 hours of course work, including two mandatory classes – "Biology of Aging" and "Multidisciplinary Perspectives of Aging." No thesis is required to complete the certification; however, the student must complete the certificate within three years. Graduate students can add a gerontology minor by completing 15 hours of credit in the program.

Home health care nurses, senior center employees, dietitians and social workers are some of the professionals who are expected to pursue certification.

Hyner will announce the new certificate during his opening remarks Friday morning at the Indiana Governor's Conference on Aging. Purdue's health fair will run 8 a.m.-noon.

Other sessions include:

8-8:15 a.m., introduction by Gerald Hyner, professor of health promotion and disease prevention, Department of Health and Kinesiology.

The speakers are:

8:15-9 a.m. Dena Targ, associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Child Development and Family Studies, "Older Hoosiers and Their Families: Making Sense of the Census Data."

9-9:45 a.m. Roseann Lyle, professor of health promotion and disease prevention, Department of Health and Kinesiology, "The Implementation of the National Blueprint for Increasing Physical Activity in Indiana."

Concurrent sessions:
10-11:30 a.m.

• Elizabeth Kiss, assistant professor and extension specialist in consumer sciences and retailing, "Adult Children and Aging Parents: Conversations between Generations."

• David Waters, professor of comparative oncology in veterinary clinical sciences, "Research Update on the Biology of Aging: Implications for Extending Human Health."

• Shirley Reitdyk, assistant professor of biomechanics in health and kinesiology; and Aimee Surprenant, associate professor of psychological sciences, "Maintaining Balance: How and Why People Fall and How Falling May be Reduced" and "Memory and General Cognitive Changes with Aging: What Gets Worse?"

• Alan Beck, professor of veterinary medicine, and Nancy Edwards, professor of nursing, "Older People and Pets: Real and Robotic."

Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Source: Gerald Hyner, (765) 494-3151, hyner@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes, bforbes@aes.purdue.edu; http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/AgComm/public/agnews/

Related Web sites:
2002 Indiana Governor's Conference on Aging and In-Home Services
Purdue Gerontology Program

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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