New Gerontology Program at Langara to Train Strong Candidates to Care for Aging Population
For the first time in Canadian history, older persons outnumber children
Reported by Amanda Poole
Responding to a demand in social service work and the growth in the senior care industry, Langara has created a new diploma program in gerontology, the study of older and aging adults.
The program will be the first diploma program for gerontology in Western Canada and will be filling a gap in the labour market for skilled workers to care for older people.
Aging population needs emotional and social support
The program comes soon after Statistics Canada reported that for the first time in Canadian history, older persons are outnumbering children.
Gerontology instructor and program creator, Frances Grunberg, said the growing population of older people will be putting a lot of pressure on the current services.
Grunberg said that there is also a current lack in services that aid an older person’s emotional and social well-being as majority of current services are focused strictly on older peoples physical health.
“[The program will] create advocates who can speak and communicate with older people,” Grunberg said.
Grunberg said many older people prefer to age at home and services are needed to assist them to stay within their daily living and social dynamics within their communities.
Isobel Mackenzie, from the Office of the Seniors Advocate B.C. said older people without family members are “slipping through the cracks” when they need assistance with tasks such as grocery shopping or banking.
“Nobody is connecting them together,” she said. “We need to do a better job of connecting people who need them with the services [they require].”
An applicant of the program, Rita Horta, said she believes improvements can be made in services for older people.
“We will all grow older and I hope we can have better outcomes for the younger generation,” Horta said.