West Windsor, N.J. – When Hamilton resident Barbara Holt received her catalog from Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Center for Continuing Studies (CCS) in the mail last year, she browsed through it to see what classes might be of interest.
“I kept going back to the certificate program in Gerontology,” recalls the staff member at Hamilton Continuing Care Center, where she wears multiple hats -- as a hairdresser, a receptionist and Medical Records assistant. The nursing home is located directly across the street from MCCC.
Beyond Holt's professional life lay an even stronger connection to the topic -- her 99-year-old grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s Disease and was living alone at the time, assisted on a daily basis by Holt’s 78-year-old father.
“I realized that if anything happened to my dad, we did not have a plan in place. I needed to understand the steps to take; I needed to know how to help him,” she explains.
In all, Holt took seven CCS Gerontology courses from October 2014 to April 2015 and earned her certificate following the completion of her capstone project this summer. CCS will start the series again this fall with “The Study of Aging” (Sept. 17-Oct. 15), the first of four fall courses. (All courses may be taken on an individual basis.)
Holt says she learned all kinds of valuable information about the aging process, approaches to interacting with the elderly, especially those with significant mental and/or physical impairments, medications and their potential side effects, senior housing options, and public policy related to the elderly. Her classmates included nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants and caregivers.