Spring 2023 - GERO 408 OL01

Families over the Life Course (4)

Class Number: 7641

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:


  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 21, 2023
    Fri, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units. Recommended: GERO 300.



This course entails a comprehensive interdisciplinary study of families and aging. In addition to providing an overview of theory and research on this topic, a variety of substantive issues will be critically examined, including: families in mid life, sibling relationships, divorce and remarriage, dating in later life, care giving, poverty, elder abuse, and policy development.


This course is designed to provide an overview of contemporary issues relevant to aging families over the life course. Emphasis will be placed on understanding middle-generation and older-aged family development from a life course, multidisciplinary perspective. It will include critical evaluation of theory and research on a variety of substantive areas, such as: midlife parenting and “launching” young adult children; sibling and extended kin relationships; ethnic diversity and cultural practices; childlessness; divorce and remarriage trends; LGBT families; sexuality and the older adult; caregiving and dementia; elder abuse; grandparenthood; death and dying; and social policy/community program issues.


The primary goals for this course is to create a positive learning environment so that you can develop your skills in critical thinking, self-reflection, writing, leadership, and discussion/debate. My personal goal as an instructor is to facilitate a supportive class environment that encourages you to meet a number of learning outcomes. By the end of the course, you should be able to:
1. Understand major trends and issues relevant to contemporary later life families from an interdisciplinary life course perspective.
2. Critically evaluate and reflect upon how our personal family experiences, values, and meanings are both similar to, and different from, theoretical and research findings.
3. Recognize the diversity of cultural and social contexts within which family relationships develop and change during the aging process.
4. Connect circumstances of vulnerability and related issues of (inter)dependency of aging family members to specific applied/practical issues and implications.


  • Mid-Term Test 20%
  • Assignment 15%
  • Final Exam 30%
  • Final Paper 35%



Connidis, I.A. and A. E. Barnett. 2018. Family Ties and Aging, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

A collection of additional required readings and supplementary film/video clips will be available through our CANVAS web links (at no cost)


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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