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Older Adulthood: Psychosocial Issues and Interventions

Course Code: THRT 2308
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Credits: 3.0
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging from 1 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Tutorial
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course examines the impact psychosocial impairments and loss of cognitive function has on quality of life in older adulthood. Dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s Disease, and changes in social structure and supports are addressed in depth. The impact of societal attitudes and political, economic and social structures on the life of older adults is examined. Innovative therapeutic recreation interventions for older adults with dementia are explored.

Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

Attitudes, Disabling Conditions and Aging

  • Attitudes toward the old in our society
  • Multicultural perspectives on aging
  • Losses and disabling conditions
  • Coping with loss, the grieving process

Changing Social Structure

  • Impact on families
  • Environment and housing
  • Social support
  • Social role change
  • Self determination

Loss of Cognitive Function

  • Decision making and judgment
  • Memory
  • Spatial organization
  • Thinking and reasoning
  • Verbal communication
  • Quality of life


  • Description and definition
  • Risk factors and prevalence
  • Types including:  Multi Infarct, Lewy Body, Picks Disease, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Huntington Disease and Parkinson Disease
  • Treatment during stages of reverse development

Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Description and definition
  • Risk factors
  • Symptoms, diagnosis
  • Psychosocial stages of progression
  • Changes in brain physiology
  • Drug treatment
  • Psychosocial approaches to interventions

Interventions: Recreation and Therapeutic Recreation

  • Accommodations in communication
  • Sensory stimulation / sensory kits
  • Identity and personhood, life review, autobiography
  • Reminiscing, story telling
  • Pet therapy
  • Special care programming and strategies
  • Daily leisure activities:  plant care, walking, crafts, singing, word games, exercising, etc.
  • Intergenerational experiences
  • Strategies for redirecting difficult behaviour
  • Strategies for motivating clients
  • Environmental modifications

End of Life Issues and Processes

  • Fear of dying
  • Stages of dying
  • Communication strategies, relationship building
  • End of life choices
  • Environmental and emotional support
  • Stages of grieving

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture / Discussion
  • Group work
  • Student recreation leadership presentations
  • Community experiences
  • Media

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations.

An evaluation schedule is presented at the beginning of the course.  Typical means of evaluation will include a combination of written assignments, presentations and testing.

This is a graded course

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. analyze the impact of loss in relation to aging with disabling conditions
  2. analyze the impact of societal attitudes and changing economic and social structures on the life of disabled older adults
  3. discuss the loss of cognitive function and its impact on quality of life
  4. discuss dementia
  5. discuss Alzheimer’s Disease
  6. discuss the impact of dementia on the family
  7. apply therapeutic recreation interventions to enhance the quality of life of individuals with dementia
  8. discuss the end of life issues experienced by older, disabled adults

course prerequisites

THRT 1203

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.