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Understanding Normal Aging

Understanding Normal Aging
Ron Carson, OT, OTD, MHS, CLT
January 16, 2019

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Editor’s note: This text-based course is a transcript of the webinar, Understanding Normal Aging, presented by Ron Carson, OT, OTD, MHS, CLT.Learning OutcomesAfter this course, participants will be able to discuss successful aging principles.After this course, participants will be able to discuss normal aging principles.After this course, participants will be able to identify normal age-related dysfunctions.After this course, participants will be able to implement successful and normal aging principles in clinical goals and therapies.Ron: I appreciate the nice introduction, and welcome everybody. There's a lot of people here today, which is very exciting for me as a teacher. It's good to see so many people taking their CEU courses. I know in Florida, it's getting that time of the year, so again, good to see a lot of people here. Just to add a couple things about what Fawn said, I have been a therapist for a long time. I've spent a lot of time teaching at two different universities, and I've done some adjunct teaching as well. Part of why this course came into being, really, it's a take off from a course, a geriatric course that I used to teach at a university, I taught it for seven years. As a practitioner, I think it's important that we understand, all of us as practitioners understand what it's like to work with people who have abnormal aging. And abnormal aging of course is people that have disease processes or syndromes or something like that, so we're all familiar with what that presents as a patient. But what I think we don't understand is what is the normal aging process? What should a person who is 85 years old be able to do if they didn't have the disease? I kind of feel that if you don't know what the norm is, if you don't know what a person without the disease should be able to do, then it's kind of hard to understand how the disease is impacting somebody. So I think my, overall, my goal is to change or at least give you some insight as to how you could look at your patients differently and see potential where maybe you wouldn't have before. And I can tell you from my own practice, even though I've taught this material for quite a while, it's really difficult, and I'm working in home health now, so I know when I walk in to see a patient, it's really difficult to not focus solely on the disabilities and the impairments that you see. It's really challenging to step back and say, "I wonder what this person should be able to do." Now, so that's part of my goal is to help people understand the norm of aging. The only thing that I want to try to help people understand is that aging is a very diverse event, it's a very diverse process. There is no, we're gonna talk in issues of black and white here that this person with this should have this effect or that effect, but that's not the way aging happens. Aging is a very, very individual process, and a 65 year old, one 65 year old is very, very different from the next 65, or 85, or 100. The diversity with age is much, much more than it is with younger people. For example, if you took 1,000 18 year old people and compared their diversity with 1,000 85 year old people, the diversity of the 85 years old would be significantly greater. Not to say that there's not diversity at younger age, but because of aging effects, because of life experiences, because of how we progress individually, aging people present a very, very diverse population. Which makes it hard to sort of give just why parameters affect everybody, but that's what we're gonna try to do. Just keep in mind, as a practitioner, that everybody is a unique individual. I also want to encourage you to ask questions. It's hard to be interactive in a situation like this, especially if I don't get questions, so feel free to type your questions and I'll be able to read them on the screen. It may take a few minutes to recognize 'em, but I'll do my best. We do have a case study that I'm going to present, I'll introduce it at the beginning, and then we'll go over it at the end. So with your questions, if you have especially clinically-related questions like what does this person, or should a person, or this is what I've experienced, please free to type those in. All right, so let's take a look at what the learning objectives are. In addition to normal aging, I'm going to introduce a concept called successful aging. Now, we'll get into that, but most of this course is on normal aging, but I also want you to understand those people who surpassed normal aging and go into what's called successful aging, so we're gonna talk a little bit about that, and I'm going to do a course in February that has a lot more detail about what successful aging is and how you can implement those concepts into your practice as well. So we're gonna talk a little bit about that, then we're gonna look at normal aging, we're gonna identify normal aging dysfunctions, and then we're gonna have that case study about how to implement these into practice. So keep in mind that, again, that we're talking about normal aging. We're not going to talk about any impairments, we're not gonna talk about strokes, we're not gonna talk about cataracts, we're not gonna talk about any of the things that you normally come in contact because those are what are considered abnormal aging. And again, it's hard to keep that apart and understand what is normal, what is abnormal, but again, we're all well-versed on abnormal aging, diseases and conditions, but this course is not about that. So hopefully, this will add to your understanding...

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ron carson

Ron Carson, OT, OTD, MHS, CLT

Dr. Carson has been an occupational therapist for 20 years, graduating from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1997 with a BS in OT and an Masters in health sciences. Since graduating, he has worked in rehabilitation, home health and owned a solo private practice. He has been an OT professor for nine of his 20 years of practice. In addition, Dr. Carson has published several articles on occupational therapy practice and occupational therapy education. Prior to becoming an OT, Dr. Carson served in the U.S. Navy’s submarine service, where he spent four years instructing advanced electronics.



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