Fall 2020 - GERO 404 D100

Health and Illness in Later Life (3)

Class Number: 6780

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 9 – Dec 8, 2020: Thu, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 17, 2020
    Thu, 12:00–12:00 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units, GERO 300.



An examination of issues related to health and illness among older adults, drawing upon theories and concepts from biological, social and public health sciences. An introduction to assessment and intervention skills useful to persons working with older adults in a broad range of practice settings.


This course examines the way aging is related to the experience of health, illness and wellness. The course recognizes the diversity of the aging experience in relation to health, looking at factors such gender, socio-economic status and ethnicity. Four key themes will be addressed: ·           The concept of health and how this pertains to later life ·           Patterns of aging, health and ill-health at the population level ·           The individual experience of health and aging ·           Policy and practice approaches The course takes a multidisciplinary perspective (e.g. demography, epidemiology, policy, nursing, medicine, occupational therapy, psychology and sociology) and is appropriate to students from a wide range of disciplines who want to increase their understanding of aging in contemporary society.


By the end of this course, the student should be able to
1.       Work collaboratively with classmates in a supportive manner that draws on each other’s strengths to solve problems.
2.       Identify and summarize key points about topics that comprise the gerontological literature on health and illness in later life as set out in the weekly themes
3.       Apply critical thinking to interpretation of assigned readings as evidenced in class discussions, mini-presentations and writing
4.       Interpret course materials through the theoretical lenses taught in class, i.e. intersectionality, three bodies, life-course approaches
5.       Describe and assess policy and practice responses to the topics covered
6.       Integrate evidence on different topics in order to identify priorities for research, policy and practice in the area of health and illness in later life.


  • o In-class pop quizzes/exercises: 10%
  • o In-class group work: 10%
  • o Poster presentation – topic 1 10-15%
  • o Paper outline – topic 2 15-20%
  • o Pecha Kucha presentation of final story 15-20%
  • o Final story (exam period) 30-40%


In order to accommodate your learning style and exploit your strengths, you can select your grade breakdown for the story-building components of this course, i.e., the poster, outline, pecha kucha and the final story (within specified parameters). The agreement between us is a contract. The grade breakdown cannot be changed subsequent to submission of the contract.



All readings are available on Canvas and can be found in the weekly modules. They are also listed in the course syllabus/calendar on Canvas. You are responsible for knowing this material as well as topics covered in lectures and in our workshop discussions.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).