Classes offered to mimic everyday struggles the elderly face

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PITTSBURGH —

UPMC is offering a class in hopes of teaching people about the everyday struggles facing the elderly.

Betty Robison, a gerontology educator at the Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services, is teaching the Ageless Wisdom class and said her hope is to leave people with a better understanding of the geriatric population.

“We all know what it’s like to be young, but we don’t all know what it’s like to be an older adult,” Robison said. “So having them do these exercises helps them gain an understanding. We take them through sensory changes, normal and abnormal. We show them functional changes that can occur due to diseases and disabilities.”

The participants look through different lenses to see what the world looks like through the eyes of a patient with macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts.

They also show how difficult it can be for patients to discern the colors of pills, and illustrates why they should never be mixed.

The program is for health care providers and offered to the public, specifically those who deal regularly with an aging population.

“We have fire departments who said they’re seeing individuals who are older adults and would like to get more training and experience to make sure they’re giving them all the services they need,” Taafoi Kamara, administrative director at the Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services, said.