Course Title: Ageing: Myths and Realities

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ageing: Myths and Realities

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008

Course Coordinator: Dr Keri Chater

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7445

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.7.11

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Eligible for registration as a Division 1 nurse. It is also assumed that students will currently be working in aged care nursing either in an acute, residential or community setting.

Course Description

This course examines the biological, psychosocial as well as the complex social and cultural processes that shape the aging experience in contemporary society. Concepts of health, culture and developmental needs are explored in relation to successful ageing. Students will examine what it means to grow older from both a macro and micro level. From the macro level students will examine global demographic and epidemiological trends within a framework of policy and economics. On a micro level, students will look at contemporary issues such as images of ageing, retirement, sexuality and empowerment.
Key areas:
• Biological and psychological theories of ageing;
• Policies relating to aged care;
• Social structure and aged care;
• Cultural understandings of ageing.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The dimensions of capability developed in the course include:
1. Ability to apply advanced skills in assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation in a variety of clinical care settings and context;
2. Analysis, synthesis and integration of knowledge and application to practice;
3. Advanced knowledge in specialist area;
4. Professional responsibility and accountability to make ethical decisions.

At the completion of the course you should be able to:
• Articulate the cultural construction of ageing, sickness and health;
• Critically examine complex cultural and social processes which shape our understanding of ageing and health in today’s global society;
• Articulate some myths associated with ageing Understand health maintenance of older people in residential and community care;
• Differentiate between normal and pathological related changes in the older person;
• Skills in understanding the multi-disciplinary nature of aged care;
• Understand the impact of issues such as retirement, housing, sexuality and grief on the older person;
• Critically analyse how policy impacts on aged care;
• Synthesise a range of different ethical positions in relation to aged care nursing;
• Incorporate the role of law in aged care;
• Be able to access a wide range of information including policies and procedures from a range of different sources Review relevant literature and nursing knowledge in relation to aged care;
• Understand the role of policy in aged care;
• Be aware of how problem based research impacts on aged care nursing;

The underpinning knowledge and skill developed in the course includes:
• Ability to use theoretical frameworks to inform questioning and research;
• Ability to incorporate social issues into assessment;
• Utilise demographic information to understand and plan care;
• Ability to critically analyse media representations of older people as well as analysis of policy;
• Make adequate and accurate assessments of the older person and their environment;
• Ability to observe procedures and legal regulations in practice;
• Synthesise a range of different models of aged care delivery Ability to evaluate policies and procedural guidelines on relation to individual/group rights;
• Knowledge of and skills to discuss critically the ethical dimension of aged care nursing;
• Skills is utilising library data storage and accessing policy information from the web or libraries;
• Skills in critically analysing and evaluating research findings;
• Able to discern where a policy needs to be created;
• Apply lateral and critical thinking to problem solving;
• Understand the necessity for problem based research in aged care.

Overview of Learning Activities

This course has been developed as a Distance Education (DE) package and may also be delivered face to face.  Students who choose the DE option will be expected to attend a set number of workshops throughout the semester. Alternatively, students may attend seminars and tutorials throughout the semester, as well as use the DE Package.

Students will be expected to read online notes and related articles and links before participating in online group discussion and e-journaling.  The lecturer will periodically give feedback via online groups, e-journals and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.

In discussion groups, students will be expected to explore their own feelings about topics presented.  As students progress through the course, it is expected that students will move to a more analytical and critical framework. Students will be expected to relate topics to "real" clinical experiences.

Students will also be expected to contribute to an online journal.

Overview of Learning Resources

Computer Access:
You will be able to have online access as a student of RMIT University. You will be given a generic password, which you can then change if you wish.
This will enable you to:

1. Access the Distributed Learninig System (DLS) where the entire course for Ageing" Myths and Realities is located
2. Ask your coordinator questions via email
3. Register and send your assessments when indicated in the Learning Guide
4. Access programs online where indicated in the Learning Guide
6. Talk to students at other campuses in forums or as part of a group activity
7. Access announcements relevant to your study. Make sure you access announcements at least once a week.

The online learning package contains links to the reading material for this course.  Students will also have links to relevant websites pertaining to aged care policy.

Overview of Assessment

This course has three assessment modes:

  • Online discussion: Students are expected to participate  in all online discussions.  As the completion of the course, sstudents are expected to choose their two best contributions to be submitted for examination.
  • Online journaling: Students are expected to maintain an e-journal for the duration of the semester.  The e-journal is designed to plot the student’s development of analytical skills.  As this is a hurdle task, the exercise attracts no marks. 
  • Written assigment: Students are to present a substantive piece of written work at the end of semester.  Students may choose from topics suggested or, in negotiation with the lecturer, may choose their own topic.