Online Class: Caring for Seniors

Understanding the challenges and responsibilities of elder care, learning how to deal with day-to-day challenges and providing a safe and senior-friendly environment to loved ones is essential in the caregiving process.

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  • 15
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Course Description

The Comprehensive Guide to Elderly Care at Home

The responsibility of caring for an elderly individual, regardless of your relation to them, is regarded as an honorable obligation in many societies. The needs of the elderly are diverse and can range from basic assistance in daily activities to intricate medical care. For those contemplating becoming caregivers, or bringing an elderly loved one into their homes, understanding the potential challenges and responsibilities is paramount.

Dynamics of Aging and Care

The post-World War II generation, often referred to as the baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, represents one of the largest aging demographics in U.S. history. By 2015, millions from this generation reached the age of 65, marking the beginning of an influx of seniors requiring varying levels of care.

Current economic challenges, rising healthcare expenses, and uncertainties about governmental support programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security have led to an increased preference among seniors to stay in familiar home environments instead of transitioning to retirement communities or nursing homes.

This shift means many families are now taking on the role of caregivers. While in some cultures this role is anticipated, it invariably introduces complexities, potential disagreements, and stress within the family dynamic.

Understanding Senior Challenges

21st-century seniors are notably well-informed about health and wellness, thanks to their status as the most educated generation of elderly citizens in U.S. history. This knowledge facilitates their ability to lead vibrant lives well into their later years. However, they also face unique challenges, including the psychological impact of ceding control over daily activities, the apprehension of becoming a burden, and the profound loss of autonomy.

Health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and dementia may lead to diminished participation in social activities, fostering feelings of loneliness, devaluation, and hopelessness.

Caregiver Challenges

Family members who assume the caregiver role often find it an overwhelming commitment. Juggling responsibilities between their immediate family, work, and the elderly loved one can be stress-inducing. Ensuring the senior's safety and wellbeing, both mentally and physically, requires significant patience, time, and effort.

Mental health concerns, like depression among caregivers, highlight the need for strong family support systems. The physical demands, financial implications, and emotional toll of caregiving can strain relationships within the family.

Furthermore, caregivers must navigate an elderly loved one's changing behaviors while also promoting social interactions as per their health conditions. As the care requirements intensify, seeking external professional assistance might become inevitable. Making such decisions necessitates thorough knowledge, family consensus, and adequate resources.

Contrasting with the early 1900s average lifespan of 47 years, advancements in healthcare, nutrition, and overall lifestyle have seen current generations living into their 70s, 80s, and beyond.

Preparation for Home-based Elder Care

Most families don't anticipate the financial or logistical challenges of elderly care. Preemptive discussions and planning with elderly loved ones are essential to understand their preferences and establish a care plan.

For those dealing with diagnoses like dementia or Alzheimer's, these conversations become even more crucial. Decisions around care, living arrangements, and financial considerations should be addressed promptly.

Conversations about elderly care can be emotionally charged but are necessary. Addressing these topics sooner can ease the transition and ensure a better quality of life for the elderly.

In conclusion, taking on the role of caregiver is both a significant responsibility and privilege. With the right resources, knowledge, and support, caregivers can provide their elderly loved ones with a dignified, comfortable, and fulfilling life during their golden years.

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Course Motivation

Taking care of an elderly individual, whether that person is your parent, friend, or other relative, is considered a duty and responsibility in many cultures. The elderly require a variety of services that may be provided by relatives in the home environment. Individuals considering caring for an elderly person, or taking that person into their home, need to address a number of potential challenges and responsibilities.

In some cases, aging parents or other relatives, may need specialized care that requires physical, emotional, and mental strength and stability. This course for caring for seniors at home will help prepare potential and current caregivers with the day-to-day challenges of caring for an elderly person, creating safe home environments, learning how to take care of yourself, as well as how to deal with specialized behavior problems or issues caused by medical illnesses or medications.

From the moment you decide to care for an elder, to the point where you may need help from professionals, caring for an elder may be one of the most rewarding, beneficial, yet challenging experiences of a lifetime.

Understanding Challenges and Responsibilities

The baby boomer generation has arrived. Baby boomers, those individuals born between 1946 and 1964, are expected to be one of the largest generations of aging population in the United States. As of 2015, millions of baby boomers began hitting 65 years of age, leading off a decades-long trend of a large number of individuals who will need health care and medical assistance with daily living activities.

Due to rising healthcare costs, economics, and the uncertainty of the future of government programs -- such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits, more seniors are opting to remain in home environments, rather than planning on retirement communities, assisted living facilities, or nursing homes for their care.

Such trends will see more children of aging parents taking care of the elderly within their family units. While doing so is a standard and expected practice in many cultures and families, the burden of caring for an elderly individual also brings with it conflicts, disagreements, and stress.

Challenges Facing the Elderly

The elderly of the 21st century are unique in that they are considered to be the most educated generation of seniors in the history of the United States. Knowledge regarding health and wellness gives many of these seniors the opportunity to lead healthy and active lives well into their 70s, 80s, and 90s.

However, seniors also face a variety of issues when it comes to their care, including relinquishing control over their lives, concerns over burdening children or other family members, as well as the devastating loss of independence.

Individuals diagnosed with medical problems, such as arthritis, diabetes, or dementia, may find themselves increasingly isolated from family and social activities due to decreasing capabilities, leaving many open to increasing depression, feelings of worthlessness, and despair.

Dealing with the emotional, mental, and physical impact of the aging process is not easy for most seniors and might initiate a variety of responses, from frustration to rage.

Challenges Facing Caregivers

Children, friends, or relatives of aging family members who take upon their shoulders the responsibilities of caring for an elderly person may soon find themselves overwhelmed with responsibility. Challenges of balancing time between family, work, and an aging parent may create stressful situations and trouble both on the home front, and at work.

Making sure a parent is safe in a home environment, as well as watching over the physical, emotional, and mental care of an elderly person can be, and often is, extremely trying, frustrating and time-consuming.

Depression and stress among caregivers is a matter of great concern, which makes family support, cooperation, and help so essential in many scenarios. Physical limitations may also affect a caregiver's ability to care for an aging parent. Dealing with difficult siblings, lack of help from other family members, or the financial strain of helping to provide for an aging parent's care at home can be devastating to the family unit.

Caregivers dealing with the elderly must also be able to deal with a variety of behaviors, as well as attempting to encourage seniors to engage socially, as physical and mental limitations allow. There may come a time when a caregiver realizes more help is required, and making decisions regarding community services, nursing home, or hospice care may be extremely difficult and requires knowledge, support from other family members, and ample resources in order to make educated and well-informed decisions.

According to Census Bureau, the average lifespan of an adult living in 1900 was 47. Today, adults are living well into their 70s, 80s, and 90s, due, in part, to healthier lifestyles, nutritional education, vaccines, and better health care.

Planning for elder care in the home is something that every family should take the time to sit down and discuss. Plan ahead. Discuss options with aging parents or relatives to determine their preferences. Some will be adamant about staying home, while others won't really care. However, the goal of healthcare professionals -- and which should also be the goal of any caregiver -- is to encourage, improve, or maintain independence in seniors as long as possible.


Most children of aging parents don't really plan on putting money aside to take care of an aging parent. Most of us don't read books on how to take care of the elderly, and when we find ourselves in such a position, may be easily overwhelmed at the thought of many issues -- from taking a parent to the bathroom, to keeping Mom safe from the throes of Alzheimer's.

Preparation, information, and knowledge is the key to determining whether you are capable of caring for your parents or other elderly family members in a home environment. Understanding the basics of elder care in a variety of scenarios will help prepare you, your parents, and family for the responsibilities of caring for an aging parent or relative in a home environment.

If your parent or a senior relative has been diagnosed with early forms of dementia or Alzheimer's, take the time to discuss his or her wishes regarding care, where to live, and financial ramifications of any decisions made regarding that care.

Discussing elder care with aging parents or relatives isn't an easy topic to broach, but one that must be discussed openly and freely -- sooner, rather than later. 

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.6 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(4,117 votes)

Lesson 1: Caring for an Elder

Taking care of an elderly individual, whether that person is your parent, friend, or other relative, is considered a duty and responsibility in many cultures. 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Caregiver; Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Assessment: Lesson 1: Caring For An Elder

Lesson 2: Dealing With Day to Day Challenges

From one day to the next, a caregiver may face a number of situations that test our ability to balance time between family, work, and elder care -- as well as maintain a sense of humor. 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 2: Dealing With Day To Day Challenges

Lesson 3: Safety First!

Safety is a major factor when caring for an elderly person in a home environment. The first step for caregivers is to provide a senior family environment for the individual, whether it's in their own home or the caregiver's. Additional lesson topics: Cold Weather Tips 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 3: Safety First!

Lesson 4: Preventing Problems

There's no way a caregiver can anticipate all types of problems or situations that may arise in caregiving scenarios. However, there are measures caregivers can take to reduce the frequency of problems. 11 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 4: Preventing Problems

Lesson 5: Mobility Issues

Taking care of an elderly individual, whether it's a parent, friend, or relative, requires more than mental and emotional support, transportation to and from doctors' offices, and grocery shopping, cooking or cleaning. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 5: Mobility Issues

Lesson 6: Dealing With Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's is possibly the most feared and least understood of diseases that afflict the human brain. 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 6: Dealing With Alzheimer's

Lesson 7: Caring for the Caregiver

As mentioned earlier, caregiving involves physical, emotional, and mental involvement in the life of an elderly individual. Additional lesson topics: Caregiving: caring for yourself 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Caregiver Care
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 7: Caring for the Caregiver

Lesson 8: Body Works and Limitations

Caregivers take care of elderly individuals suffering from a variety of common medical conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, incontinence, and strokes. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 8: Body Works and Limitations

Lesson 9: Daily Routines

Taking care of daily routines, such as meal planning and preparation, bathing, and dressing may be mundane. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 9: Daily Routines

Lesson 10: Behavior Problems

Dad refuses to bathe and all of a sudden Mom is talking like a sailor. Grandma accuses family members of stealing from her and Uncle George has suddenly developed an affinity for biting. 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 10: Behavior Problems

Lesson 11: Recognizing and Preventing Senior Abuse

A study performed by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the American Association of Retired Persons determined that nearly 48 percent of caregivers to the elderly are elderly spouses, and that nearly 75 percent of them are women. Additional lesson topics: Preventing Elder Abuse 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 11: Recognizing and Preventing Senior Abuse

Lesson 12: Staying Active

There's an old saying, "Use it or lose it." This is very true, in both a physical and a mental sense. The muscles in the body and the brain need to stay exercised and active to perform adequately. Additional lesson topics: Benefits of staying active 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 12: Staying Active

Lesson 13: Respite Care Options

Anyone taking care of someone, regardless of age, needs a break once in a while. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 13: Respite Care Options

Lesson 14: Finding Help

No matter the situation, whether the caregiver belongs to a large or small family, in the middle of a city, or in a rural community, community services and professional help are available. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 14 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Elder Care Help
  • Assessment: Lesson 14: Finding Help

Lesson 15: Hospice

For many caregivers involved in long-term scenarios, the time for dealing with a dying patient must be addressed, and needs met. 52 Total Points
  • Lesson 15 Video
  • Lesson discussions: What do you think about this course?; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Complete: Lesson 15 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 15: Hospice
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe methods for providing care to the elderly.
  • Describe safety methods that must be observed when caring for the elderly.
  • Describe ways to deal with patients that have Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Describe daily routines and common behavior problems.
  • Recognize and preventing senior abuse.
  • Summarize the role and purpose of hospice care.
  • Describe ways to proactively prevent problems and dealing with mobility issues.
  • Describe methods for dealing with Alzheimer's.
  • Describe dealing with daily routines and behavior problems.
  • Identify how to recognize and prevent senior abuse.
  • Describe respite care options and hospice.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
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Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Caring for Seniors
Course Number: 8900165
Lessons Rating: 4.6 / 5 Stars (4,117 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: October 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.7 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "This course was really nice and easy to access, thank you so much! I learned new things and I'm really happy about it." -- Letizia B.
  • "Thank you very much for all the time and effort you put into this class. I have found this to be very knowledgeable and beneficial in where I stand right now as a friend and part-time caregiver. Again many thanks." -- Alicia L.
  • "The course was very informative, interesting, was in a language that was understandable to me. It was very helpful to me." -- Michelle R.
  • "The instructor is an expert and this class is excellent for anyone taking care of an elderly person." -- Joe L.
  • "The course is very nice, educative and has enlightened me with senior care skills." -- Paul B.
  • "This course was extremely helpful and informative and I don't think anything should be added." -- Donna H.
  • "It helped me a lot during my duty to serve a senior as a caregiver." -- Tevita S.
  • "The instructions was very intelligent, the explanation was very clear. The instructor was amazing." -- Helen M.
  • "I would love to do more courses since this is my first." -- Ponipate N.
  • "I appreciated how quickly everything was graded. I did feel she was available if I needed anything." -- Wanda S.
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