Certified Professional Consultant on Aging (CPCA)® Designation Curriculum Offered by the Age-Friendly Business® Academy
PHYSIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF AGING Key facts regarding age-related biological and physiological system changes are presented in this module. The fundamental and universal processes of aging, theories of aging, and some basic concepts of gerontology, are presented, in non-technical language. An understanding of these principles strengthens the students' approach to communication with, and age-friendly service to seniors.
AGING AND SOCIETY This module gives an understanding of the age-related and social interaction changes experienced by boomers and seniors. The roots of how cohort-effects can modify the value orientations, beliefs, attitudes, fears and behaviours of 50 + individuals are explained. Concepts of ageism and age discrimination are explored, as well as how the maturing individual's interaction in the community evolves during the progression through the various life stages. This knowledge is critical to understanding how an individual experiences the aging processes within our social and business communities.
TRENDS AND THE EXPERIENCE OF AGING This module provides an understanding of the relevant demography of aging; and market-useful knowledge of social, economic and health patterns in the over-50 population. This information is vital in understanding the overall profile of seniors nationally and internationally. With a better understanding of the predictive strengths and limitations of our forecasting tools, professionals are better prepared to respond to some of the fundamental questions their clients are facing in preparing for the later years. It examines the underlying implications of demographic trends, longevity, and how these extra years are being experienced and expressed now, and potentially in the years to come.
CANADA'S HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Here, the genesis, historical development and current status of Canada's Health Act and the Federal/Provincial Health systems are described. The guiding principles of Federal/Provincial health agreements are emphasized, as well as the entitlements of Canadian residents covered by these agreements. The healthcare system as one of the determinants of health is reviewed, with a special focus on how these health care services impact seniors. It is important for professionals serving seniors to understand the essential elements of Canada's complex health care system, what it was intended to offer, what it can offer, and the outstanding and emerging stressors on this system.
CANADA'S INCOME SECURITY PROGRAMS This module provides an understanding of the Federal programs that help Canadian seniors get the fullest possible financial benefits from the national retirement income systems. Comprehensive and current information is provided on OAS, CPP/QPP, and their various requirements to qualify for benefits, the ranges of such benefits and the nature of any special provisions. It is essential for professionals serving seniors in any capacity to know what benefits their clients may be eligible for and to be able to direct them to the appropriate resources to access these benefits.
ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION OF OLDER CANADIANS This module reviews the topic of 'abuse' of seniors in terms of acts of commission, omission and neglect as related to Human Rights theory and praxis. The various types of abuse are described and exemplified; these include: physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse. Students are instructed in the signs of abuse of older persons, and its most frequent sources. There is careful exploration of the possible roles and responsibilities of financial services professionals , legal considerations and our privacy legislation is discussed if/when senior abuse is known or suspected. This difficult area is discussed in terms of both legal and moral/ethical issues.
CAREGIVERS AND CARE-GIVING This module provides extensive information on these pervasive roles and functions which affect so many Canadian families, economically and psycho-emotionally. Topics discussed include the nature and duration of 'The Care Years'; the impact on care-giving on family dynamics; health status; morbidity and mortality; income and employment; the family budget; burn-out; retirement savings; vacations and recreation; respite; volunteerism; community involvement. It is vital for professionals to understand the importance of helping their clients to make appropriate provisions for their 'Care Years.'
LONG-TERM CARE Students become familiar with the range and nature of Long-Term Care (LTC) services available in Canada. This module also explores how seniors and their families address the relevant issues of Long-Term Care. Noteworthy among these are care facility review and selection; care facility costs; home-care services and costs; government eligibility and subsidization criteria; formal and informal patterns of LTC services and long-term care insurance, (LTCI).
SENIOR HOUSING OPTIONS This module helps students' awareness and understanding of the full range of housing options available to seniors. The gerontological concept of aging in place is developed in the context of the almost universally expressed desire of seniors to remain in their own home as long as possible. This discussion incorporates such features as, Assisted Living Facilities (ALF's), the campus concept, group home care, care facilities, and home-sharing. Professionals advising seniors and their families need to be equipped with this information, so that they can provide advice and support about the options that best meet the significant transition requirements, and where to get additional support or information about the housing options available in their community.
SENIORS AND MONEY The fundamentals of the true MEANING of money in the lives of seniors and boomers is explored from the standpoint of the relevant psycho-emotional processes and value systems involved. Options for aging Canadians are examined, with particular emphasis on the unique, differential financial needs of seniors and boomers.
ESTATE PLANNING The psycho-dynamics of Estate Planning are described in order to gain insight into the mechanisms that influence legacy-creating behaviours as well an end-of-life transfer of wealth and assets. Students become familiar with the role of various estate planning strategies, including durable Power of Attorney, wills, taxation factors, probate, trusts and tax-advantaged charitable giving options for Canadians; the importance of teamwork and communication is emphasized.
CHRONIC ILLNESS IN SENIORS While this module explains that longevity and independence are the norms among Canadian seniors, there are also widespread, common health challenges in the older age groups. Basic information is provided on the more commonplace medical conditions among seniors (e.g. heart disease and stroke; arthritis; diabetes; osteoporosis; visual impairment and hearing loss.) Students participate in practical demonstrations of sensory loss features to provide experiential learning and enhance their sensitivity to the impact of sensory deficits, when interacting and communicating with affected seniors.
ALZHEIMER'S AND RELATED DEMENTIAS Students learn to distinguish forgetfulness from dementia. They are instructed on how family dynamics change when a member is dealing with cognitive impairment, memory loss and the other manifestations of Alzheimer's Disease. They learn the health, social and financial implications, how to respond to these circumstances, and what services and options might be available for affected families.
THE FAMILY AND SOCIAL SUPPORT SYSTEM The dynamics of family interaction, and how these change over time as families age is emphasized in this module. The concepts of social support systems and social networks are explained. Life transitions, such as divorce, re-marriage, blended families, widowhood all bring about significant changes, and it is important for CPCAs to understand the impact of such events on the health, social and financial well-being of seniors and boomers.
MENTAL HEALTH, GRIEF AND LOSS The mental health issues of later life, including depression, anxiety states and suicide are explored via this module, students also discover how grief and loss, at various stages of the life-cycle, impact individuals and families in terms of their health, social, and financial behaviours. The descriptive models used include Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's 'Stages of Death and Dying', as well as the 'Task Model' of grief resolution. Students are shown how, in their professional practice, they can 'be there' for clients and families' experiencing the grief and loss journey, not only in terms of death and bereavement, but also in situations involving loss of independence and/or certain functional capacities.
ADVOCACY In this module, students learn about a role, poorly understood and little practiced. Advocacy, at various levels and in various circumstances, is explored and exemplified. Students learn the difference between advocacy and activism, and are made aware how different advocacy strategies can be mutually beneficial to the seniors (and their families) they deal with, and to themselves, as professionals.
SENIORS' NUTRITION AND FITNESS The content of this module helps the students appreciate the importance of sound dietary practices, good nutrition and appropriate exercise in the lives of Canada's maturing population. It familiarizes the students with the basic principles underlying seniors wellness and life-style issues, and enables them to discuss these matters with clients, while, at the same time, incorporating them into their own aging process as role models.
END-OF-LIFE PLANNING Students develop knowledge of hospice and palliative care, when these services are used and how they affect families. The different settings in which hospice palliative care is given are described. Advance directives, living-wills, heroic measures and DNR (do not resuscitate) instructions are discussed. Support with these factors can offer aging persons and families peace of mind and a measure of control when death occurs.
AGING AND SPIRITUALITY This module addresses an often-neglected aspect of the lives of seniors. Patterns of religious involvement, and how these change with age, are discussed. The distinction is made between religion and spirituality. Students are given insight into how the core-values and spiritual needs of older persons play a significant part in their decision-making and consumer behaviour. An understanding of these elements enhances the students' ability to build appropriate relationships with the older age group.
ETHICS This module examines ethics as a pervasive, core element of qualitative practice in all professional disciplines, and its special importance to CPCAs. The various value systems and attitude sets which are the basis for ethical professional practice are presented in detail. Students are taken, step-wise, through The Professional Code of Ethical Standards of Age-Friendly Business (AFB)™, and they are required to sign an agreement to abide by this Code as a condition of becoming members of Age-Friendly Business® following successful completion of the final examination. The investigative and disciplinary functions of AFB's independent Board of Standards is fully explained, as well as its role in dealing with complaints against CPCAs.
RESOURCES FOR SENIORS Students are shown in detail how to build a powerful data-base of all types of resources, which will be of great value to themselves as well as to seniors, boomers and their families. The instructor walks students through a complete array of web-sites, data-bases and free literature items and sources. All of these resources will prove to be invaluable to all professionals in maintaining and up-dating their own knowledge-base on seniors and boomers, in writing articles and making presentations and in providing sound information to clients and their families.
COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY WITH MATURING CLIENTS Information is provided on how to develop special marketing strategies for the aging population, based on the unique characteristics of this ever-growing group. Particular attention is paid to: the core value systems of different cohorts; the importance of building relationships of trust and confidence; the need to use certain communication techniques when faced by seniors' health issues, such as pain, disability, visual impairment, hearing loss; increased religiosity in seniors; and the importance of professional self-protection. Market research findings, bearing on seniors' media use, buying patterns, decision-making as consumers and risk-tolerance are presented to illustrate the optimal marketing strategies with the seniors and boomers groups.
ETHNO-CULTURAL ASPECTS OF AGING This module explores the ethnic and cultural factors encompassed within the demography of aging in North America. The impact of diversity, multi-culturalism and immigration are examined, with particular reference to their effects on the health, social and financial landscapes. Students are invited to consider the 'vertical mosaic' vs. the 'melting-pot' approaches to immigration policy, visible minority group profiles, and how these elements change over time. The determinants and characteristics of culture are clearly defined, as well as how they influence the practice of professionals who work with diverse communities of seniors and boomers.
THE NEW RETIREMENT Explores the ways in which the boomers are redefining retirement, and the different conversation professionals will need to engage in to meet the evolving needs and lifestyle of this important cohort. Myths vs. realities, the many stages of retirement, retirement stresses, the hardy retirement personality, creating a balance, retirement and women, and the development of a meaningful life plan are reviewed. This module shifts the perspective for the professional from advice giver to educator.
MAKING YOUR BUSINESS AGE-FRIENDLY In this module, students learn how to use their newly-acquired and valuable CPCA designation and training to optimize their professional activities, increase job satisfaction, and enhance client service to the 50+ population. The strategies discussed include how to incorporate the CPCA curriculum into their daily business practice, taking the client experience to a new standard of excellence. This module also discusses how to access and implement the exclusive membership marketing programs that have proven to be successful for the thousands of CPCAs in North America.
"After nearly 20 years working in the seniors' market I was amazed by how much I learned from this course. This may prove to be the most practical course I have taken, to help me provide the best level of service possible for my senior clients."
"Of the many courses/seminars I have taken over 30 years of working, this course has given me the deepest amount of direction!"
Stephen J. Defalco
"I have taken many courses in my 27 years in the insurance industry. This was the best course I have taken to help me understand the complexities of life, which will allow me to help my clients and friends and myself complete the journey of life. What a wonderful 3 ½ days."
"The course covers so many aspects of aging - health, social and financial - that can be applied on a day-to-day basis, and which helps us to be more responsive and sensitive to the needs of our older clients."
"I attend and have attended a plethora of courses and meetings in 28 years of financial business. This course is probably full of the most value I have been able to take away and put to use."
John W. Donnelly
" The entire course is very interesting. It shed a new dimension on seniors and their needs. What I learned the most, is to LISTEN, RESPECT and VALUE our seniors."
Maurice A. Briere
"This course definitely met or exceeded all of my expectations, thank you!"
"This course not only helped me in dealing with senior clients, but also helped me to understand what is or may be important to my own parents."
"Excellent exploration and challenge of our ability to serve seniors with dignity."
"An essential course for all professionals. Any individual practicing any profession to seniors that does not take this course is doing not only their senior clientele a great disservice, but themselves as well."
"I sincerely would recommend making the effort to learn about what are seniors' needs and guidance and would highly suggest this course as a must as part of that process."
Robert S. Mulloy
"The course for me is: A life changing experience, knowing that I now have the missing knowledge to really make a difference in the life of a senior."
"Very comprehensive. I have learned so much and made so many great contacts in the field. This course has inspired me to push harder to educate/support and share positively in the lives of the seniors I serve."
"A wonderful celebration and education on our treasured seniors."
"Helps me understand the senior population better. The course should be taught in high school to help the young generation understand and respect the senior segment of our society. It helps us become better people."
"This course addresses the concerns, fears and needs of seniors from a spiritual, health, demographic and financial viewpoint. The material is current, well-researched and presented by leaders in their fields. It opened my eyes to the "care years" that lie in front of me (all of us)."
J. R. (John) Willms
"What a difference 24 hours of learning makes! Every topic is relevant and valuable".
"Would recommend this course for all financial planners and advisors."
"This is the beginning of a new journey and this program has created the map. A wonderful insight into what is to come. A program that should be taken by and will benefit all people who deal with people, of all ages."
"I was totally unprepared for the level of professionalism of this course. I was expected to be bored, I was stimulated."
"Very good course content presented by very credible individuals in a very professional manner. Congratulations."
"My mother was director at a seniors centre for 28 years, so I grew up around seniors. This program renewed my respect for and understanding of older adults. I wish everyone who works with seniors could go through this program."
"This was moving and a new experience to add to my life and an enhancement to add to my new career as a financial advisor. We strive to make a difference in people's lives, and this will certainly help me."
"You have provided a life changing experience for me. On behalf of myself and all of those special seniors that I am now better equipped to advise, I thank you very sincerely."
"Prior to taking this course, I was "searching" for a direction in my senior years. This course was the "aha" or "eye" opener to the rest of my life - both secular and business-wise".
"This program provides an insightful foundation into how seniors live and think. A great start to build our future relationships, knowledge and business."
"The certification is a unique and totally worthwhile program that must be experienced to gain the most benefit. It is timely, relevant, needed and uplifting for all humanity, in my opinion."
"This course is something that I would recommend to many, as a valuable life tool."
"The whole course was well presented and very well organized. Thanks for a job well done."
Ben van der Vegt
"This course puts 'life' into perspective. Our past, present and our future. A must course for everyone in all aspects of the 'people business'. Thank you."
"This course helped me to discover at a deep level the richness that seniors could bring to the younger generations, only if they (The younger generations) took the time to listen to them (The seniors), from the senior's perspective."