New healthy aging program to aid students to working world

TERESIA SVENNERGÅRD, Channels Staff

City College is rolling out a brand new joint program with Antioch University aimed at educating students in caring for the elderly population, a growing field with the aging of the baby boomer generation.

The Healthy Aging Program prepares students for a future in the healthy aging business.

“I really think this is the up and coming area in the health field,” said Kathy O’Connor, physical education professor who helped create the program.

The program can help students become professionals who work with the aging population in areas such as gerontology, or the process of aging, health promotion, nursing, health maintenance, accident and fall prevention, and the physiology of aging.

The program originally started several years ago as the Shark Program within the nursing department. The one-semester program was started by Associate Professor Sheri Shields, and only had a few courses. The goal was for the student to complete the program, get a certificate, and get a job.

The Shark Program didn’t find success in the nursing department, so Shields asked O’Connor to help incorporate physical activities into the program.

They moved the program to the health education department with help from the nursing department, and renamed the program. O’Connor helped develop the program with several other professors.

Paula Congleton, physical education professor, is helping O’Connor establish a link with Antioch University. Their goal is to have students start out at City College and then transfer to Antioch University to get their certificates or associate’s degrees.

Ann-Marie Kopeikin, associate professor of vocational nursing, was one of the professors helping to incorporate Memory Care courses in the program so students had a variety to choose from. Students can start out at City College and then transfer to Antioch University and get a Bachelor in Psychology and after that go out in the Healthy aging field.

Since it is a brand new program, O’Connor, along with other professors, wants to get more students enrolled.

“It is a brand new program, people don’t even know we have it,” said O’Connor.

The program is focused on meeting the needs of elderly people. Through this program, students become qualified to work with the elderly in this new aging society. The program helps students become qualified health care professionals.

The program offers a variety of courses that will prepare students for their work out in the communities.

“The program is designed for individuals who are looking for a new career path,” Congleton said.