I have joined the faculty of Saint Joseph’s College of Maine to offer a new online course entitled Communication Skills with Seniors (Sl 320). Here is the course overview:
The purpose of this course is to assist you in developing compassionate and effective communication skills with persons 65 years and older. To do this, it asks you to look beyond society’s stereotypic view of seniors as simply diminished versions of their former selves and see them as more complex and capable than was previous thought.
Updating assumptions about seniors provides you with valuable insights into the three factors that influence effective communication. These include conflicting and unappreciated tasks of senior’s developmental agenda, predictable disabilities of aging, and cross-culture dissonance. Each factor presents challenges and opportunities. The goal of the course is to help you develop an updated fluency regarding the challenges combined with factor-friendly communication skills that allow you to build positive relationships with seniors.
The course is designed to assist you in integrating the updated information from psychology, medicine, and cultural studies into a “context-based communication” system. This holistic model will help you craft and apply context-based communication skills in your work with seniors. By completing exercises, case studies and a final project, you will gain competency in utilizing this system both personally and within your community.
The course is divided into four units that focus on the components of the context-based communication system:
1. Updating Assumptions About Seniors
2. Psychological Factors
3. Health Factors
4. Cultural Factors
The course is designed for collaboration with your instructor. Your texts, suggested readings, and video presentations provide the foundation for an ongoing dialogue about the course material. Keep in mind communication is a very personalized skill that takes practice, customization, and finding the right comfort level. Discussion questions, concerns, setbacks and success with your instructor is an essential part of both understanding the benefits of context-based communication and how to make it work for you. In this fashion, it is hoped your learning experience will be collaborative, individualized for your professional needs, and academically rewarding.