Psychology Retooling Institute and Seminar for the Mid-AtlanticI



Visit the Prism II Pages on Aging
Index for Prism I & II


Florine Greenberg
Northern Virginia Community College

Rebecca Reviere
Howard University
Prince George's Community College

Paul Van Cleef
Prince George's Community College

I.OverviewII.Learning Objectives  III. Contents and Activities   V.Contact Us


The topic of aging has become increasingly important as our society continues to get older. In this module, we briefly present topics and activities on aging that a General Psychology class might reasonably cover. For a week of classes (three 50 minute blocks), we suggest one day of lecture and two classes of experiential learning.

II.Learning Objectives:

III. Contents and Activities

Lesson 1

The Facts on Aging Quiz is a good way to introduce the topic and to introduce discussion on the changes that occur during aging.

A questionnaire can be easily adapted from Erdmore Palmore’s The Facts on Aging Quiz, 1988, New York: Springer. The book has regular facts on aging quizzes, as well as a facts on aging and mental health quiz. We did not incorporate actual questions here due to copyright issues, but there are many that are both interesting and relevant to students in general psychology classes.

Additionally, if there is time in the first class, the lecture might focus on other selected objectives. We suggest the following starters:

Erikson's stages of adulthood

This is a good chance to review the stages of adulthood and focus on his stages of integrity versus despair. This stage is characterized by reaching the balance between feeling that one's life has been fulfilling and meaningful or feeling that one's life has been a series of disappointments and failures. The Demographics of Aging two important ideas on the population of the elderly are:

graying of America--the aging of the population due to increased life expectancy and decreased birth rates

life expectancy--average amount of time an individual can expect to live. According to the 1994 Census, life expectancy varies by gender and ethnicity.

Mental health issues of aging
  • Depression
  • Suicide
  • Drug use
  • Dementias
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Assignment: After the lecture students can develop questions for the panel of elderly adults.

    Lesson 2

    Assignment: Lesson 3

    Gathering Data and Developing Empathy: A Simulation of the Aging Process

    Time: One 50-minute class period.

    Advance preparation:

    Instructions:                                                                                                                      Top of Page

    Visit the Prism II Pages on Aging
    Index for Prism I & II

    For further information contact:

    Florine Greenberg
    Professor of Psychology
    Northern Virginia Community College
    8333 Little River Turnpike
    Annandale, VA 22003
    703-323-3719 (fax)

    Rebecca Reviere
    Associate Professor
    Department of Sociology and Anthropology
    Howard University
    Washington, DC 20059
    202-806-4893 (fax)
    Adjunct Professor, Prince George's Community College

    Paul Van Cleef
    Associate Professor, Psychology
    Prince George's Community College
    301 Largo Road, A-201
    Largo, MD 2074
    301-336-8315 (fax)

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