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RE-THINKING LIFELONG LEARNING AND CONTINUING EDUCATION: A GROWING NEED FOR EDUCATION IN THE CARE OF AN ELDERLY POPULATION

M. Cheang1, R. Nakamura2, C. Osajima2

1University of Hawaii at Manoa (UNITED STATES)
2Project Dana (UNITED STATES)
Never before in human history has the older adult population grown in such significant numbers and proportion across the world. For example, in 1900, about seven percent of the population in the US are 60 years of age and older. In the year 2000, older adults make up 16.3 percent, and in the year 2050, one out of four persons (25.5 percent) in the US will be an older person. People are living longer lives than ever before to the extent that many will be living as much as one third of their lives as older adults.

Unfortunately, despite advances in medication technology, better sanitation, and food supplies, increased longevity has not been necessarily accompanied with good health, independence, and good quality of life. In fact, increasing numbers of older adults are faced with serious chronic illnesses, impairment, disability, and dependence. Hence, long term care can now mean decades of caring for an older adult. Ultimately, adult children, those in the health and helping professions, and governments need to come to terms with this avalanche of serious and significant long term care needs of older adults.

This presentation describes a form of lifelong learning and continuing education with respect to the growing need to be familiar with the fields of gerontology and geriatrics as an aging population trend seems to emerge across the world. This presentation describes an example of a continuing education program that assists adult children, and those in the health and helping professions to effectively care for older adults who have long term care needs.