The Learning Catalog

Core Issues in Aging and Disability

Online Courses


This two-part course provides information that will help you understand how disability and age can affect a person’s quality of life. Underlying this information is the philosophy that all people are individuals with personal and cultural experiences that impact how they think about themselves and the world they live in.

In Part I of the course, you will learn how the concept of being “old” has changed in the last half-century. We also discuss how civil rights laws, the Social Security Act, Medicare and Medicaid support the idea that people have the right to equal treatment under the law, security in their retirement, and access to affordable health care. You will learn about the physical and psychosocial changes that accompany the aging process, and how they affect day-to-day functioning and quality of life. There are several publicly funded programs that support independence for older people and their desire to live independently in the community. Part I of the course will familiarize you with the network of supports available to older adults in order to guide them to the programs that best meet their needs.

In Part II of the course, you will explore the background of the disability rights movement in the United States and the laws that have been enacted to ensure that all people have equal access to a full and productive life regardless of any disability they may have. You will learn about some of the physical and mental health conditions and injuries that can cause disability. Part II of the course will familiarize you with the home and community-based programs that provide needed supports to older people and people with disabilities that enable them to live within communities and out of institutions. We will also explain how federal laws have impacted the lives of older Americans and people with disabilities throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century.

*You can register for this course individually or as part of a certificate program.

Learner Feedback:

“This course has reinforced my understanding of the needs, modifications and approaches to daily living and care for those with a variety of disabilities, including (but not limited to) physical, social and cognitive impairments.”


  • Discuss the basic issues related to disability and aging.
  • Describe the ways in which an individual’s cultural, ethnic, or religious background, sexual orientation, or gender identity can influence the experiences of aging and living with a disability.
  • Describe the philosophy of consumer choice.
  • Define functional capacity in terms of activities of living.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of resources and programs that support older adults and persons with disabilities.

Course Outline

  • Pre-course Competency Assessment
  • Course Overview
  • Part I: Issues in Aging
  • Section I: Issues in Aging Overview
  • Section II: Background and Scope
  • Section III: Law and Public Policies that Support Aging
  • Section IV: The Medical Conditions That Can Challenge Healthy Aging
  • Section V: Older Adults with Mental Health Disorders
  • Section VI: Person-Centered Care Planning
  • Part II: Issues in Disability
  • Section I: Issues in Disability Overview
  • Section II: Background and Scope
  • Section III: Issues in Disability: Physical Conditions
  • Section IV: Mental Health Disorders
  • Section V: Consumer Choice, Participation, and Self-Determination
  • References
  • Course Quiz
  • Post-course Competency Evaluation
  • Certificate of Completion

Course Policies

For information about refunds, cancellations, accommodations and to contact us please visit the policies page.

Accessibility Information

All online courses are self-paced and are designed as reading-based and include interactive multimedia components including simulations, video, audio, and discussion boards.

Register Back to The Learning Catalog