This course deals with identifying the needs, both physical and spiritual, of the elderly. Emphasis is on learning and applying necessary care skills to meet these needs and developing an awareness of available community resources. Upon completion, students should be sensitive to and proactive in dealing with the challenges and needs of an aging population, e.g., spiritual/religious, social, biological, physiological, and psychological.

There are no Prerequisites or Corequisites for this course. (NOTE: This course is not available to students in the Open Learning Program.)

Winnail, Scott D.

Executive Vice President and Dean of Faculty
Full Time
B.S. Ed. (1992), University of Georgia; M.S.P.H. (1994), University of South Carolina; Ph.D. (1998), University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Subject Matter: 
Health, Theology

Dr. Scott Winnail has taught in the university classroom since 1995. To Living University he brings teaching and committee experience, curriculum development, academic advising, professional writing and grants and contract work. Prior to working for Living University, Dr. Winnail served as a faculty member at the University of Wyoming in the area of Health Education and Public Health (1998-2005, tenured). His areas of research and publication have included: school health and coordinated school health programs, community development, community-based needs assessment, program evaluation, physical activity and nutrition, and parental involvement. Additionally, Dr. Winnail worked closely with State Departments of Health and Education, many other state health organizations in Wyoming, Alabama, and South Carolina. He was also very active in school health initiatives at the national level.

Dr. Winnail served as an unpaid elder for the Living Church of God in Wyoming and Colorado from 2000-2005. He then served as an employee for the Department of Church Administration for the Living Church of God headquarters in Charlotte, NC from 2005-2006. From 2006-2009 Dr. Winnail pastored congregations along the gulf coast of the southern US and served as an assistant pastor in Jamaica. He began serving as adjunct faculty for Living University in Fall 2008.

Dr. Winnail returned to Charlotte in 2009 to commence full-time service to Living University and for the first 3.5 years also served as a Regional Director for the Living Church of God congregations in the Caribbean. Dr. Winnail currently serves in both administrative and teaching roles for Living University and directs the on-campus program. He contributes regularly to Living Church of God publications and web productions and also serves in the Charlotte, NC congregation of the Living Church of God.

Course Credit: 
3 semester hours
Instructional Objectives: 

As a result of participating in THL 428, students will be able to:

  1. Recognize the changing demographics in church congregations.
  2. Identify and explain different theories on aging.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of different mental and physical challenges faced by those who are aging.
  4. Select challenges faced by those caring for the aged.
  5. Explain the range of emotions experienced by those going through the death and dying process.
  6. Identify key elements of church-based programming for the elderly.
Required Texts: 

Hillier, Susan M., and Georgia M. Barrow. Aging, the Individual, and Society. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2011. Print.
Lebow, Grace and Barbara Kane. Coping with Your Difficult Older Parent. New York: Quill, 1999. Print.
Mace, Nancy L., and Peter V. Rabins.
The 36-Hour Day. New York: Grand Central Life & Style, 2011. Print.

Additional Readings: 

Most of the class readings will come from church literature and selected other texts. The appropriate web links will be designated on the course web site, and may also include other secular sources.

Optional Texts 
Gentzler, Richard H. Aging and Ministry in the 21st Century. Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2008. Print.
Loverde, Joy. The Complete Eldercare Planner. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2009. Print.
Saxon, Sue V., Mary J. Etten and Elizabeth Perkins. Physical Change and Aging: A Guide for the Helping Professions. 5th ed. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2010. Print.


Course lectures will take the format of both video and audio. PowerPoint slides will accompany lectures and videos will also periodically be available for download with some lectures. See the course website for details. These slides will appear in PDF format.

Course Calendar: 
Week Topics
1 Aging in America and Beyond
2 Stereotypes and Views of Aging
3 Social and Psychological Theories of Aging
4 Physical Health and Wellbeing
5 Mental Health and Aging
6 Importance of Family, Friends and Community
7 Finances and Lifestyles
8 Living Environments and Conditions
9 Caring for the Very Old
10 Coping with Challenging Loved Ones
11 Dementia
12 Death and Dying
13 Preventing and Delaying Physical and Mental Decline AND Planning Programs for the Aging
14 Mental Health of the Care Giver
15 Conclusion and Wrap Up
Course Requirements: 
  1. Submit assignments on or before the date due.  No late or make-up assignments will be allowed accept for extreme circumstances (permission of instructor is necessary).
  2. Students will be responsible for the weekly readings that correspond with the class lecture.  Be sure to read the readings prior to logging in and completing the weekly assignment. Readings will correspond with in-class assignments and will help you be better informed.  Completing the readings in advance will make the assignments make more sense to you!
  3. Icebreaker/Biography Forum Post: All students are required to post a brief biography to the forum by the end of the first week of class. Post a brief biography/background on yourself. Also, please send me an e-copy of a recent PHOTO of yourself, for your fellow classmates' (as well as my) benefit (if you do not already have a profile photo in Populi). You should send this photo via email to my email address at [email protected]. Make sure to put THL 428 PHOTO in the subject line. In your forum post, briefly answer the following questions (please limit your comments to 200 words). The assignment is worth 20 points.  
    1. Your Name and the Church area that you attend
    2. How long you have been part of/attending the church.
    3. Why you are taking this particular course and what you hope to learn.
    4. Whether or not you have taken any other Living University courses.
  4. Weekly Comments and Class Participation: Students are expected to participate in class discussions by posting weekly comments and questions they might have on the Discussion Forum (see the link on the course web site). Each week there will be one or two questions posted on the web page that related to that week’s lectures and readings. If there are “no unique discussion questions” posted for that particular week, you should choose from one of the following questions to write on and relate the question to one of the topics covered in the readings for the week. Also, make sure that your “comments” are more than merely “personal opinion.” Your comments should be grounded in your chapter readings, lecture notes, and based on scripture. These weekly discussions are very important and are designed to reinforce the weekly content in a unique way. So it is important to participate in the discussions.

    Minimal participation requires “one” posting per week. Students should also take time at the end of each week to read/review comments from their classmates. Re-posts and additional comments or questions addressed to at least two other classmates are also encouraged. You should comment or reply to “at least one” other classmate’s comments. Be sure to keep the discussions positive and helpful. Class participation points will be assigned in accordance with your level of participation, and will be a combination of student and instructor input. Involvement in the discussion forum will add to your overall class experience as you discuss the various topics with your classmates. It will also give you the opportunity to get to know your classmates better. Class participation is worth 50 points.

    1. What item from the reading this week was most interesting to you? Why?
    2. How did the readings this week relate to, reinforce, or conflict with a Bible principle?
    3. What implications does one of the items that you learned about have for your lifestyle or the future of your family?
    4. How might something you learned this week be addressed similarly or differently in God’s Kingdom?
  5. Mid-term exam will be given during the middle week of the semester. The exam will be comprehensive and review all the material covered to that point in the semester. The exam will be comprised of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. It will be open book and open note book (NOT proctored). Students are NOT however permitted to discuss exam questions and issues while taking the exam. IMPORTANT: It is “highly recommended” that the student prepare for this exam by studying ahead of time. Although the exam will not be timed, preparing for the exam will help the student expedite the exam taking process and greatly shorten its duration. Mid-term exam is worth 100 points.
  6. Research Paper: This assignment is an opportunity for you to research a topic related to aging, that you have always wanted to learn more about. The topic can be basically anything related to aging, including a “condition” related to aging, an aging-related resource, a challenge faced by many aging people, etc. If you have any questions, discuss them with the instructor. The “body” of the paper should be 5-7 pages plus the title page and bibliography. It should be typed and double spaced. It should include a title page, introduction, body, conclusion, and reference list or bibliography. You should use at least 5 different sources as references. The paper will be graded based on the follow criteria: degree to which it meets the requirements, the amount of effort expended on the research (did the student ask questions and look for suitable answers), referencing, grammar and syntax. Research paper is worth 100 points.
  7. Three additional Activities: (50 points each) You are free to complete these Activities and turn them in at any time prior to and up to the date due. These Activities are designed to get you to think further on particular topics and issues related to class. Activities should be typed and double spaced. All should be 2-5 pages in length.
    • Aging Interview: For this assignment identify someone you know who is age 70 or older. Ask them if you can get together with them to talk about what they have learned about life and growing older. Be sure to try to talk with them “face to face” or at least on the telephone or SKYPE. Share your question list with them beforehand so that they have time to prepare. You should type up and submit your answers in a 2-5 page report. Look for answers to the following questions:
      1. Report this person’s gender and age.
      2. What aspects of growing older have you enjoyed? What have been the most rewarding aspects of aging?
      3. What aspects of aging have “caught you by surprise”? Put another way, what aspects of growing older do you wish someone would have told you about ahead of time?
      4. If they are in the church ask: “How do you think the aging process will be different in the Kingdom of God – during the millennium and White Throne Judgment period?
      5. What advice about aging does this person have for a younger person?
      6. Do they have any other thoughts or advice regarding growing older?
      7. To the interviewer/student: Now write a couple of paragraphs reflecting on your interview and what you learned? Why was the interview beneficial or not? What wisdom did you gain from the interview that you may want to pass on to others – even on to other older individuals?
    • Community Resource Interview: For this assignment, identify an agency or facility in your community that specializes in serving the aging population. This could be some type of council on aging, a senior citizen center, an adult day care center, a retirement or nursing home, etc. Plan a face-to-face interview with a member of their staff (you will want to call and make an appointment, ask to speak with someone who can give you a good overview of the facility and its services and programs). Let them know you are doing research for a class on Working with the Elderly and that you would like to learn more about the services this entity provides (more than one student can interview the same person/agency, but each student must write up his/her own assignment). You should type up and submit your answers in a 2-5 page report. Look for answers to the following questions:
      1. What is the name of the facility and the name and position of the person you interviewed?
      2. What is the mission of the organization?
      3. What ages and genders and ages does the facility serve?
      4. What type of services are provided?
      5. What if any are the costs to the clients?
      6. What information does this person wish more people knew about their facility?
      7. What advice does this person have for people who are younger, before they reach the age of needing the services provided by this facility?
      8. What advice does this person have for families with aging loved ones who might need to use this facility or one like it?
      9. To the interviewer/student: Now write a couple of paragraphs reflecting on your interview and what you learned? Why was the interview beneficial or not? What wisdom did you gain from the interview that you may want to pass on to others – even on to other older individuals?
    • Caregiver Interview: For this assignment identify someone you know who IS or HAS BEEN a caregiver for an aging relative. Ask them if you can get together with them to talk about what they have learned about taking care of someone who is aging. Be sure to try to talk with them “face to face” or at least on the telephone or SKYPE. Share your question list with them beforehand so that they have time to prepare. You should type up and submit your answers in a 2-5 page report. Look for answers to the following questions:
      1. Report this caregiver’s gender and relationship to the aging person.
      2. Is the person being cared for still alive?
      3. What fond memories does the caregiver have related to caring for their loved one? What aspect of giving care do they enjoy?
      4. What are some of the most challenging aspects of being a caregiver for an aging person?
      5. What does the caregiver wish they had known prior to committing to becoming a caregiver for an aging person?
      6. What family or community resources have been the most helpful?
      7. What advice would this person give to someone who is considering becoming a caregiver for an aging person?
      8. If they are in the church: Based on their experiences, how do they think people will age differently in God’s Kingdom – while people are still human?
      9. To the interviewer/student: Now write a couple of paragraphs reflecting on your interview and what you learned? Why was the interview beneficial or not? What wisdom did you gain from the interview that you may want to pass on to others – even on to other older individuals?
  8. Develop Program for Congregational Seniors: (100 points) Seniors in our congregations are a valuable resource of information and experience. They are also important members of our church congregations that need attention, encouragement, and love. For this brief project, start by sitting down with your pastor and learning about what specific activities, if any, are done for senior citizens in the congregation. You might want to ask if he know how many brethren in the congregation are over age 65 (even if he has a rough guess). Let him know that your class assignment requires you to develop a brief activity program for seniors and that you want to create it “hypothetically” for the congregation. Let him know that you are NOT developing a program that he will have to implement – it is just an activity for your class. Ask him if he has any thoughts about what he might like to do with and for the seniors in his congregation IF he had the time and the resources to do it. Let him know that you would be happy to share it with him when you are done, if he would like to see it.

    Now, based on your conversation with him about what is already being done, and what he would like to do, think about what other needs of seniors need to be met and develop a brief program to address these needs – you can use your pastor’s ideas as a “spring board” and build on them, or develop something entirely different. In your program be sure to address the following: 1) The problem/challenge that you see facing seniors in your congregation OR and area you would like to assist them in/with, 2) A brief rationale for your program (why you feel it is necessary and how you think it could help seniors and others in the congregation), 3) The program – include details on who is targeted, who should run the program, what you plan to do, the time line for the project, the co$t of the program, and how you will be able to tell if your program is a success. You can create something totally new or model your program after something else you have seen or read about. This entire assignment should be about 5-8 pages in length. You should plan to use a minimum of 4 different resources as references. Seniors Program paper due at the end of the semester. 

Icebreaker 20   A 468 or more points
Research Paper 100   B 416-467 points
Three Activities     (50 points each) 150   C 364-415 points
Class participation and forum posts 50   D 312-363 points
Mid-term exam 100   F 311 points or below
Senior Program Development 100      
Total 520      

Students With Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities have a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students having a disability requiring an accommodation should inform the instructor by email (on the “Course Info” page click on the instructor’s name and then select “Send Email”).

Technology Access
This course requires web access and the student has to have an established e-mail account. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view documents that are PDF files. One can download the reader free at

Course Evaluation
Student input is welcome for improving this course. Making suggestions by e-mail is helpful. Our goal in this course is to facilitate the successful achievement of all instructional objectives by all students. At the end of the course students have the opportunity of assessing the course. We want to make e-learning courses as effective as we can. We may also ask some other questions concerning a student’s experience in distance learning to help us improve our program. We appreciate students letting us know how we can improve our products and services for them and other distance learners.

Withdrawing From or Dropping This Course
It is the responsibility of a student to drop a course if he or she cannot meet the requirements of the course. Any student who stops attending a course without officially withdrawing from it risks receiving a punitive grade for that course. Withdrawal requests may be conveyed in any manner to the course professor, Registrar, or Vice President of Academic Affairs. This action is sufficient for ensuring any refund owed you. Please note the following: If a student drops a course on or before the “Last day to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty” as published in the University Academic Calendar, even if his or her work is not of a passing grade, then a “W” is recorded. If a course is dropped after that date, but before the last 21 calendar days of the semester, then the instructor determines the grade. The faculty member will at this time record a grade of “W” if passing (not computed in GPA) or “WF” if failing (computed in GPA). Students who drop a course, yet remain in one or more other courses during the last 18 calendar days of the semester, will receive a grade of “WF.” Students who completely withdraw from the University at any time during the semester may be given a grade of “W” on all courses. If students do not initiate the withdrawal process, the instructor is required to initiate the administrative process and to record a grade of “W” or “WF” for the course depending on the date the faculty member drops the student from the course. Students who register for a course as an audit, but then withdraw will be assigned a grade of “W” for the course.