Spring 2022 - GERO 406 E100

Death and Dying (3)

Class Number: 6562

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 10 – Apr 11, 2022: Thu, 4:30–7:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 14, 2022
    Thu, 11:59–11:59 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units. Recommended: GERO 300.



The focus of this course is to provide the student with an in-depth understanding of the process of dying. By examining the process of dying, one's personal response to death as well as society's reaction and responsibilities toward dying, the student will gain new insights in caring for the dying person.


A course about death is in effect, a course about life. Life expectancy and the quality of living and dying shift across historical time and geopolitical space, and our cultural values, social organization and psychological orientations to death and dying vary accordingly. The media commonly portrays and often sensationalizes stories of death and dying, and these reports shape popular opinion. In this class, students are encouraged to adopt a wide view of the topic so as to be able adopt a more critical stance that considers how death and dying might be variously encountered depending on the intersections of age with ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, stigma and cultural values. Topics of enquiry include but are not limited to advance directives and living wills, the right to die/physician-assisted suicide, palliative care and hospice, dying at home vs. an institution, life-sustaining technology and DNR orders, burial rites, the meaning of death and the afterlife, and grief and bereavement. In the sixth week of the course, up to ten Continuing Studies 55+ students join the class. This blended format provides an opportunity for all students to learn from one another’s diverse experiences in relation to course materials.


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 themes in the literature on death and dying as it pertains to older adults;
3. Apply critical thinking to interpretation of assigned readings as evidenced in class discussions, mini-presentations and writing
4. Use the evidence available to present balanced arguments with respect to controversial media coverage of death and dying issues;
5. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the diversity of meanings and experiences associated with end-of-life by older adults in Canada.
6. Integrate evidence on different topics in order to identify priorities for research, policy and practice in the area of death and dying.


  • Participation 12%
  • Reading/lecture comprehension 35%
  • Draft thesis staement A and peer reviews 8%
  • Revised thesis statement A cited examples 10%
  • Thesis statement B and outline 10%
  • Final Essay 25%


[1] 11 opportunities, so 1 free week; bonus points (max 1) - 0.5 for additional contribution to RR

discussions; 0.5 for participation in SLC workshop (go to assignment and follow instructions)

[2] 7 weeks (@ 4 pts for individual prep; 1 pt with group)

Evaluation philosophy

Evaluation in this course—especially as reflected in the steps involved in the Ladder series of assignments—is based on the following premise: “Feedback is a process in which learners make sense of information about their performance and use it to enhance the quality of their work or learning strategies”1 and aligns with the goal of building students’ capacity to write critical research papers.



None – all readings will be uploaded to Canvas.

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 spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.