Social Work Courses Addressing the Needs of Older Adults

(Currently offered entirely web-based)

SWRK 474: Policy and Programs for Older Americans
3.0 Units Fa/Sp

This course focuses on an examination of major social services designed to meet the needs and concerns of older adults. A systems approach is used to identify legislation, programs, policy, models of service delivery, funding, conditions, and barriers to service delivery. The course will examine resources serving the older adult and students will visit selected agencies/organizations.

After completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. Competence in knowledge of the framework of psychosocial needs of older adults.
  2. Ability to apply the above framework to persons and programs involving older persons.
  3. Knowledge of at least eight programs aimed at meeting the basic needs of older adults.
  4. Knowledge of the major provisions of the Older American’s Act.
  5. Knowledge of the aging service network, Area Agencies on Aging and the goals toward which the AAA network is directed.
  6. Knowledge of Title II, Title XVIII, XIX, and XX of the Social Security Act.
  7. A grasp of special practice issues when serving older adults.
  8. Awareness of the special problems of minorities, women, gay and lesbian older adults, and rural older adults, and the effects of ethnicity on programs and services.
  9. The ability to determine and evaluate policy issues and to identify advocacy strategies that would be appropriate and likely to bring pressure to bear to improve service delivery.

SWRK 674: Policies & Practice with Older Americans & Their Families
3.0 Units Fa/Sp

Prerequisites: Completion of the foundation year or instructor permission.

This course is designed to provide students with the specialized knowledge base necessary for advanced social work practice with older Americans and their families. Students learn a variety of practice concepts, skills, models, and theories from a strengths perspective to facilitate their gerontology social work practice. Focus is on social work practice with older ethnic and minority group members, women, and people who belong to other special population groups.

The purpose of this course is to familiarize the student with social work practice interventions with older adults and the social policies and programs that impact older Americans. It is important for social workers providing services to this population to have the specialized knowledge base necessary for advanced social work practice with older adults and their families. Students need to know a variety of specialized practice concepts, skills, models and theories to facilitate their gerontology social work practice. Additionally, students must understand the relationships between the physical and psychological functioning capacities of older adults, and the impact of related problems on their adaptive patterns in maintaining levels of self-sufficiency and personal autonomy. Attention will be given to the variables of gender, culture/ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, religion/spirituality, socio-historical factors, social and economic injustice, and oppression. This course will also integrate the analysis of policies and programs affecting older adults in light of the above variables in order to provide effective services from an ecological framework.

After completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. The ability to assess how physical and psychological problems differentially effect older adults within the contexts of culture, ethnicity, socio-historical factors, generation, religion/spirituality, ability, gender, sexual orientation, oppression and discrimination.
  2. How the processes of assessment, treatment, planning, intervention, and evaluation are made operational in advanced social work practice within diverse contexts with older clients and their families.
  3. The identification of critical components of older adults' social networks and how those relationships effect the social functioning and well being of those individuals.
  4. A working knowledge of local, state, and federal resources available to older adults, including issues of adequacy, accessibility, and collaboration.
  5. Knowledge of the Older Americans Act, Area Agency on Aging, and Titles XVIII, XIX, and XX of the Social Security Act.
  6. Knowledge of policymaking processes in the context of provisions for older adults and the ability to identify strategies that social workers can use to influence those processes.
  7. The ability to discuss social work values and ethics in regard to privacy, confidentiality, self-determination, risk assessment, and practice issues related to service use by older adults and their families.
  8. An assessment of their own attitudes, values, and feelings about older adults and be able to show how these factors, along with feelings about their own aging process, may affect their social work practice with older clients.