6. Themed Days - Primary Care

6.12. The older person

Preparatory work

In preparation students should have:


To introduce students to the biomedical and social implications of ageing, the demographic changes in the population and the implications of this for health and social services.

Learning Outcomes

 By the end of the day, students should be able to:

  • Recognise ageing as a natural, developmental process
  • Describe different ways that older people are regarded within different groups and communities
  • Describe the range of services, people and agencies that are involved in the support of the older patient in the local community
  • Demonstrate appropriate communication skills with an older patient (with suitable empathy, respect and interest)
  • Explain some of the implications for health and social services of an ageing population

Example timetable

9.30 – 10.30

Tutorial on ‘ageing’ and health


10.30 – 10.45


Tea break

10.45 – 11.45

Prepare for patient encounters

  • Plan questions and observations

Visit to local care home

  • Group interview with manager or staff member
  • Involvement in virtual care home ward round
  • Meet patients and interview in small groups

11.45 – 12.30

Group debrief about visit/patient encounters


Set up afternoon activity;

In small groups, students to visit or research local facilities, groups and/or meet professionals providing services for older people. Then prepare brief presentation for group.


12.30 – 13.30



13.30 – 14.45

Student-led activities as planned


Includes tea break


14.45 – 16.00

Small group presentations and group discussion


Set homework for next session



Suggested Activities

  • Tutorial on ageing and health-could discuss students own experiences of ageing in their family/community, review practice population statistics, key health promotion areas for older people or review of recent ‘hot topic’ e.g.  COVID-19 and care homes.
  • Patient interviews – either observing healthcare professional or student-led.
  • Visit to local care home or other residential or daycare facility for older people.
  • Group discussion about ageism in society and healthcare; read article from Age & Ageing “Ageism and COVID-19: what does our society’s response say about us?” . Scope for student debate e.g. Is the healthcare system ageist?
  • Visit or research local agencies and/or meet with a professional providing services for older people.

Questions for students to consider

  • Did the patient you met describe any benefits of being older?  Did anything surprise you?
  • Do you think ageism is an issue on our society and/or healthcare system? Have you seen any example of ageism personally or professionally?