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Psychogerontology 2017/2018

  • 5 ECTS
  • Taught in Portuguese
  • Both continuous and final Assessment


At the end of the course, students should be able to:
• Know and reflect on characteristics of the elderly, old age and aging;
• Identify family conditions related to the aging of its members and the experience of chronic illness in the family context;
• Evaluate the informal care from the point of view of its social value and the caregivers’ skills/role, as well as the social impact and psychological consequences of care in informal caregivers;
• Know and characterize the specificities of old age in the experience of sexuality, psychopathology associated with aging, conditions related to the end of life cycle and elderly maltreatment;
• Know psychological assessmente and intervention techniques in old age.

Recommended Prerequisites

No prerequisites

Teaching Metodology

Expository methods and active methods will be used. The first sit on the use of audio-visual and electronic media. The second will be based on practical activities, including analysis text/paper analysis and discussion, analysis of case studies and activities in pair/group within the class.

The evaluation of the course will take place in the Mixed Assessment (class attendance is mandatory).

Body of Work

1. Aging, old age and ageism
1.1. Charcateristics and dimensions of aging
1.2. Biological, psychological and social aging

2. The elderly person and the family
2.1. Changes in family life cycle
2.2. Experience of chronic illness and dependence in the family
2.3. Elderly caregivers

3. Psychopathology of aging
3.1. Psychological distress and anxiety
3.2. Depression
3.3. Dementia

4. The end of the life cycle
4.1. Death, mourning, widowhood
4.2. Suicide in the elderly

5. Psychological assessment and intervention in aging
5.1. Psychological assessment in the elderly
5.2. Active aging promotion
5.3. Cognitive impairment rehabilitation
7.4. Intervention in informal caregivers

Recommended Bibliography

Bastida, J. D. (2012). Manual de intervención clínica en psicogerontología. Barcelona: Herder.
Fontaine, R. (2000). Psicologia do envelhecimento. Lisboa: Climepsi.
Fonseca , A. M. (2006). O envelhecimento: Uma abordagem psicológica (2nd ed.). Lisboa: Universidade Católica Editora.
Mendes, A., Relvas, A. P., & Sousa, L. (2007). Enfrentar a velhice e a doença crónica. Lisboa: Climepsi.
Paúl, C. & Ribeiro, O. (2012). Manual de gerontologia. Lisboa: Lidel.
Sousa, L., Figueiredo, D., & Cerqueira, M. (2004). Envelhecer em família: Os cuidados familiares na velhice. Porto: Ambar.
Ribeiro, R., & Paúl, C. (2011). Manual de envelhecimento activo. Porto: Lidel.
Rossell, N. Y., Herrera, R. R., & Rico M. A. (2004). Introduccion a la psicogerontologia. Madrid: Piramide.

Complementary Bibliography

Notwithstanding other literature that may be suggested, the following references are suggested as supplementary literature for the Curricular Unit of Psychogerontology:

Alves, J., Magalhães, R., Machado, A., Gonçalves, O., Sampaio, A., & Petroyan, A. (2013). Non-pharmacological cognitive intervention for aging and dementia: Current perspectives. World Journal of Clinical Cases, 16(8), 233-241.
Evans, C. (2007). Cognitive-behavioural therapy with older people. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 13, 111–118.
Figueiredo, D. (2007). Cuidados familiares ao idoso dependente. Lisboa: Climepsi Editores.
Kessel, B. (2001). Sexuality in the older person. Age and Aging, 30, 121-124.
Vaz, E. (2008). A velhice na primeira pessoa. Penafiel, Portugal: Editorial Novembro.
WHO. (2002). Active aging: A policy framework. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.
Tardif, S. & Simard, M. (2011). Cognitive stimulation programs in healthy elderly: A review. International Journal of Alzheimer’

Weekly Planning

Week 1: Presentation of the Curricular Unit;
Week 2: Biological, psychological and social aging
Week 3: Families and aging: The final stage of the life cycle
Week 4: Experiencing chronic illness and dependence in the family
Week 5:Experiencing chronic illness and dependence in the famil
Week 6: Family caregivers of dependent elderly
Week 7: Family caregivers of dependent elderly
Week 8: Mini-test
Week 9: Anxiety and depression in old age
Week 10: Dementia
Week 11: Death, grief, widowhood and suicide in old age
Week 12: Psychological assessment in the elderly
Week 13: Psychological intervention in aging
Week 14: Psychological intervention in aging
Week 15: Clarification of doubts and knowledge exercises; Critical Review adn evaluation of the Curricular Unit Assessment

Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

The content relative to the characteristics of aging will be essential for the knowledge and questioning of the realities associated with aging. The characterization of the specificities of family life in old age - particularly associated with relational changes, experience of chronic disease and characterization of family care for dependents - is crucial to characterize the family conditions that influence the quality of life of older people and to reflect on the impact of caregiving tasks. The treatment of subjects related psychopatology of aging and death and mourning will enable the characterization of these processes, considering their specificities in old age. The contents related to psychological assessment and intervention in aging will enable reflexion on psychologists’ role in this context.

Demonstration of the teaching methodologies coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

The use of the lecture method to present the theoretical content is a fundamental process for the acquisition of knowledge about the most common realities associated with aging, family relationships and experience of chronic illness and dependence in the family, as well as to characterize the specificities introduced by old age in several psychosocial dimensions (e.g., psychopathology, death and bereavement). The use of active methods, through text/paper analysis and discussion, practical case analysis and peer/group activities within the classes will develop students’ skills of interpretation and application of acquired knowledge to practical situations. The combination of different methodologies will thus enable the pursuit of the objectives proposed for the Course.

relevant generic skillimproved?assessed?
Achieving practical application of theoretical knowledgeYesYes
Analytical and synthetic skillsYesYes
Commitment to effectivenessYesYes
Commitment to qualityYesYes
Ethical and responsible behaviourYes 
Foreign language proficiencyYes 
Initiative and entrepreneurship capabilityYes 
Problem Analysis and AssessmentYesYes
Relating to othersYes 
Research skillsYes 
Written and verbal communications skillsYesYes
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