Ontario College Graduate Certificate
30 weeks

Gerontology - Interprofessional Practice


This one year program provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to care for aging adults. Students will learn geriatric mental health, cultural diversity, thanatology and therapeutic recreation.  Graduates are prepared for employment in senior centres, day and leisure programs, research and education services, retirement homes, long term care facilities, group homes and home support services. There are two semesters, which include a 200-hour field placement within a community organization.

Start Dates

Program Code




Estimated Cost

Program Highlights

For the first time in Canadian history, there are more people over the age of 65, than under the age of 15*, which means careers working with seniors are in demand. Gerontology is the study of issues that are associating with aging.

This graduate certificate program is designed to offer students the knowledge and skills needed while working with elderly clients in their professional practice. Students with previous experience in social work, recreation and leisure, occupational therapy, developmental disabilities and allied health, will develop expertise in the collaborative person-centred care of the aging person through advanced concepts such as geriatric mental health, cultural diversity, thanatology, therapeutic recreation and inclusive practice. Graduates often return to their original field of practice as essential assets within community organizations as they incorporate these new skills to better meet the needs of their clients.

Students will also be provided a 200-hour, interprofessional field placement within a community organization, which includes the completion of a capstone project research paper and poster at the end of the year. This valuable experience prepares graduates for employment in a range of settings including senior centres, day and leisure programs, research and education services, retirement homes, long term care facilities, group homes and home support services.


* Statistics Canada, 2016.


Level 1

Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:

This course reviews the natural process of aging including typical patterns and trends associated with the geriatric population. Students explore the physical, mental, and social aspects of the aging process within the social and health care systems. Given the impact of known geriatric syndromes (i.e. falls, delirium, frailty, polypharmacy) on successful aging, early detection and prevention of these “Geriatric Giants” is emphasized. From an interprofessional approach, students examine pharmacological and naturalistic approaches to common disease treatment and prevention strategies using current research findings.

This course provides an overview of mental health issues in gerontology with a focus on initiatives and prevention strategies that help to improve quality of life and remove barriers to community mental health services. Students will investigate common psychiatric and cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and depression through the lens of professional practice. Students will explore ethical and legal issues associated with a variety of mental health issues, including elder abuse.

This course introduces students to key concepts of interprofessional collaboration, with a focus in gerontology. Learners gain an understanding of various health and social service professions in terms of roles, responsibilities, and competencies. Through self-reflection, students develop an awareness of professional diversity and principles of effective team functioning as key components for interprofessional and ethical behavior. Students participate in activities that incorporate principles of effective communication, collaborative leadership and conflict resolution that foster a coordinated approach to shared decision making and outcomes.

This course explores the history, philosophies, and emerging trends in the provision of recreation and leisure services for the aging population. Students review a range of issues related to integrated and inclusionary community-based recreation. The nature and scope of leisure, leisure behaviour, and recreation activities are examined through a variety of therapeutic strategies and common treatment modalities that ensure health, safety, wellness, and quality of life.

With a focus on person-, family-, and community-centered care, students examine their role as practitioners in delivering care that is tailored to meet the strengths and needs of seniors and their support network. Communication skills that foster respect and client autonomy are enhanced through the study of interviewing skills, communication styles, relationship building, and cultural sensitivity. An understanding of the service system delivery and the value of community connections allows students to explore community resources and initiatives that empower and advocate for the older adult.

This course provides an overview of the field of thanatology, which is the scientific study of dying, death, and bereavement. Students will examine their role in therapeutic relationships within the context of learning to support those who may be actively dying, suffering from chronic illness, experiencing bereavement, and grieving any type of death-related or non-death related loss. Additionally, students will learn about the context in which the inevitable experience of death will occur, and analyze the philosophical foundations that underpin systems of care pertaining to hospice/palliative care and the broader Canadian healthcare system. Practitioner self-care is central to the content explored in this course, and students will learn fundamental strategies for supporting clients, families, and themselves in many of these situations which are categorized by change, adversity, uncertainty, and transition.

Introduction to Research Literacy (RSCH 6008) provides the foundational knowledge and skills for students to enhance their research literacy proficiency. Not only does this 2 hour, blended course prepare students with the theory and skills required for direct application toward successful completion of Capstone Research Projects associated with Field Placement in Level 2, it encourages a culture of evidence informed decision making to be used throughout their professional career. Key course components include an introduction to research ethics and design, practical methods to search for and evaluate credible literary sources, as well as promote basic skills for critiquing and reviewing the literature. Students will also be introduced to Field Placement Practice; this includes expectations of student roles and responsibilities as well as preparing for a potential pre-placement interview with a community partner organization. In preparation for Capstone Research Projects in Level 2, students will have an opportunity to develop a timely and realistic research project proposal related to a relevant issue in the field of gerontology.

Level 2

Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:

This course is designed to support students success in Level 2 of the Gerontology Interprofessional Practice graduate certificate program and their field placement. Emphasis will be placed on the acquisition and mastery of program-specific terminology, academic research skills, critical thinking, and effective interprofessional communication skills, both oral and written.

In this course students will investigate a variety of developmental disabilities and their impact on geriatric care and intervention. An inclusive approach and best practice advocacy strategies to support those with a developmental disability, will be emphasized. Typical care of seniors with developmental disabilities and current legislation regarding the rights of vulnerable adults will be examined.

This course allows students to assess their learning and growth as a practitioner within the context of their field practicum and professional core competencies. Successes, strengths, barriers and challenges, including personal and professional areas requiring strengthening will be reviewed through reflective practice and portfolio development.

Students will examine the importance of ethical and objective observation and documentation in geriatric environments. Commonly utilized observation, documentation and assessment techniques will be explored using a variety of assessment approaches and tools. Grounded in Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) framework, students will have opportunities to use documentation and assessment findings to develop prevention and intervention plans. Students will have an opportunity to practically apply these skills through virtual or face to face patient simulations.

During this field placement, students will have the opportunity to integrate their vocational knowledge and skills while working collaboratively with various professionals in a community setting that services the aging population. Inter-professional experiences that allow for exploration and practice in mental health, recreation and leisure, therapeutic modalities, community-based practice, thanatology, inclusive practice and other gerontology focused concepts will be fostered. Opportunities to demonstrate competent leadership abilities in a work place setting will be a core outcome of the gerontology field placement.

In this course, students will work in interprofessional teams to identify and investigate a community need or gap within the aging sector. Working collaboratively, students will examine current research to determine the most appropriate solution based on exemplary and ethical practices in gerontology. This capstone project will allow the team to create a solution suitable for implementation within the community. Students will present the results of their analysis including the solution to peers and affiliated agency(s). A final report will be submitted summarizing all facets of the project, as well as limitations encountered within one’s scope of practice.

Group 2

Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:

(Minimum Grade B)

This course provides the student with a basic theoretical knowledge about common prescription and non-prescription medications prescribed for persons with a developmental disability. Focus will be placed on the roles and responsibilities of a DSW as a member of an inter-professional health care team.

Group 3

Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:

(Minimum Grade C)

This course provides the student with techniques for gathering formal and informal information, data collection, and making and recording observations. Students will learn the importance of reflecting quality care in standard documentation practices. Accountability will be incorporated throughout the course by the use of practical application examples of documentation standards and communication techniques. Students will also learn the transcriptions skills necessary for the creation and/or maintenance of Medication Administration Records (MAR).


Have questions? We are here to help!