Teaching today’s youth about aging

University of California at Los Angeles is offering students a glimpse into the future, but not in the way you might think.

The university teaches first-year college students about aging through a course called Frontiers in Human Aging. The course discusses the biomedical, social and policy aspects of aging and exposes students to possible new careers in geriatrics beyond medicine, such as psychiatry, technology, law and social work.

“We try to make it clear that aging is going to be big business,” says Rita Effros, PhD, professor for UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and one of three instructors for the class to Kaiser Health News. “Whatever their interests are, they should think about serving the elderly.”

About 120 students are currently enrolled in the course, which runs from September to June. The broad spectrum curriculum includes student-led debates, guest lectures from experts in the field, elder interview project and 20 hours of volunteering with seniors.

UCLA has been offering the course since 2001, which has gained attention because changes in healthcare reform and retiring baby boomers has created a growing workforce need. 

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