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The Chair provides knowledge on mistreatment towards older adults in multiple university classes

Themes: Students Training

Improving the training of future practitioners is an important goal to achieve for the improvement of knowledge and change the practices.

In the United States, systematically adding gerontological content in curricula has been shown to be positive regarding the interest of students to older adults as well as for their career opportunities. Émilie Rousseau-Tremblay[1], M.A. in gerontology, questioned the initial training on aging in the curricula of social work schools of eight universities in Québec.

Her study shows that, globally, social work schools consider training in gerontology as the meeting of two individual choices, the student’s, and the professor’s, and this, despite conclusive data that shows the inefficiency of this strategy. Fortunately, this conception changed at the University of Sherbrooke in autumn of 2012 where, in the new bachelor’s program, the gerontological social work is now mandatory for all!

More specifically in regard to training on mistreatment towards older adults, many studies, one of them being Canadian[2] with a small sample of healthcare professionals, highlighted the fact that almost half of the respondents did not receive initial training nor continuous training after graduating on the subject. Yet, those who received training after graduating had more success in identifying risk factors of mistreatment.

The Chair brings its contribution to change the states of things, notably by including, the theme of mistreatment towards older adults in many university classes. For example, the winter semester of 2013 is very complete on the subject. Marie Beaulieu is the professor responsible for the class Problèmes sociaux du vieillissement et travail social (Social Issues of Ageing and Social Work) of the Bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of Sherbrooke. She also intervenes in the class Profils vulnérables(Vulnerable Profiles) given with the Victimology certificate at the University of Montréal (campus of Laval) and in the class Dimensions biopsychosociales du vieillissement (Biopsychosocial Dimensions of Ageing) of the graduate micro-program in Counsel and support in gerontology. Louise Belzile is responsible of the class Intervention auprès de la personne âgée (Intervention with Older Adults) part of the graduate micro-programme in Intervention in gerontology.


[1]  Rousseau-Tremblay, É., & Couturier, Y. (To be published). Adéquation des formations universitaires en travail social aux défis que pose le vieillissement au Québec. Revue canadienne de service social.

[2] Wong, C. et Marr, S. (2002). Factors influencing health-care professionals in identifying and managing elder abuse: a preliminary report. Geriatrics Today, 5.