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Courses in Elder Care

by Tim Brugger

Helping to take care of the nation's senior population is a growing concern for many. With the aging of America, it is likely that many people at some point will need to help care for an elderly friend or family member. As with any activity that carries with it such a level of responsibility, taking the time needed to learn the various techniques of caring for seniors is often time well spent. Courses in elder care can help people feel more confident in their care giving abilities.

Care Levels

You can find the right elder care classes for you by first determining what level of education you want. Using the standard definitions in the long-term care industry can provide some indication of possible educational needs. Educational courses are not necessarily arranged to coincide with the industry definitions, but a better understanding of these levels may help you determine the appropriate course options for you. There are four basic levels of elder care. The first is home or adult day care, the least amount of care needed by the elderly. This may involve little more than helping out a little around the home or driving to the store, as well as simply being there in case of emergency. The next level is custodial care, in which care takers assist with a few basic needs, like cooking or cleaning. The third level of care is intermediate. This requires at least occasional access to medical personnel for on-going, though not debilitating, medical conditions. Finally, skilled elderly care requires consistent, daily rehabilitative care by medically trained personnel.

Basic Courses

You can begin your elder care education by pursuing courses that will lay a foundation for additional senior education, if needed. Some examples of these types of classes are strategies for independent living designed to provide ideas on assisting the elderly with remaining self-sufficient. Care giving from a distance and classes on the emotional aspects of care giving can also provide a sound educational foundation. Classes that promote actively using the mind via brain exercises and how to communicate with family elders are two additional types of courses that can help.

Advanced Courses

Those looking to advance their education of elder care can enroll in a course emphasizing advocacy of the elderly. While not directly applicable to assisting with day-to-day functions, understanding the rights of senior citizens can help ensure you do not miss opportunities for government or other types of assistance. A more well rounded course focused on caring for the elderly at home may encompass a wide range of classes. Some examples of these are the role of a caregiver, treatment options, living with elderly people who are losing their faculties and physical care. For the most advanced course, you might consider studying to be a registered nurse or licensed nurse practitioner with an emphasis on senior care. Also, for those interested in working at assisted living facilities, there are requisite courses for owning or the administration of a site. These are the Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) and Adult Residential Care (ARC) and require advanced study.

Where to Find Classes

Elder care courses sometimes are offered at local churches. Often, the congregation's demographics make elder care courses a popular topic at churches. As these tend to be informational in addition to educational, you are more likely to have basic education addressed via church courses. The local community college is worth investigating as well, as they often offer courses that are designed to be practical in nature. Also, schools are apt to have more advanced educational options for those wanting a more comprehensive education. In addition, some hospitals and assisted living facilities provide educational options for those interested in assisting the elderly. These are likely to encompass courses offering some of the foundation, or basic classes needed in caring for senior citizens. Finally, online education options provide the chance for both basic and more advanced courses, if desired.

About the Author

Tim Brugger has been writing professionally since 1995. He has published newsletters, white papers and informational articles for organizations such as IDS Financial Services, Red Chip Review and Western Independent Bankers. His fiction has also been published online. Brugger majored in business studies at the University of Oregon.

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