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Aging in Social Work


7 core (required) credit hours  


Objectives:

  • Critically evaluate the aging experience as psychologically, socially and culturally constructed and address values and biases.
  • Describe the contributions of a variety of disciplines to the study of aging.
  • Recognize how diverse health/illness conditions, populations, and conditions impact social work practice with older adults and their families.
  • Promote older adult clients’ right to dignity and self-determination, and engage in ethical decision making.
  • Utilize evidence-based approaches to a) assess the social, psychological, environmental and economic situation of older adults and their families, and b) develop appropriate treatment plans.
  • Work effectively within geriatric inter-professional teams.
  • Help older adults and their families navigate fragmented systems of care to ensure that they receive available social and health care resources.
  • Provide medical, social and other care management services to facilitate the transition of an older adult from institutional care, such as a hospital, to another setting, or to help him or her remain at home.
  • Serve as administrators, advocates and policy analysts within public and private agencies and institutions.
  • Advocate on behalf of older adults and their families to help overcome barriers to care and develop “real world” solutions.
  • Analyze aging policies within the political, economic, and social trends that influence health care delivery in the United States and in comparative and global contexts.
  • Promote use of research to enhance and evaluate the effectiveness of social work practice and aging-related services.

Courses

Fall Semester

Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
SW 6220 Diversity and Social Justice: Reflexive and Ethical Social Work Practice II 3.0
SW 6750 Aging Practice I: Social Work with Older Adults 3.0
SW 6521 Advanced Field Practicum I 4.0


Spring Semester

Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
SW 6751 Aging Practice II: Chronic Health and Mental Health Conditions in Older Adults 3.0
SW 6754 Interdisciplinary Seminar Series on Aging 1.0
SW 6522 Advanced Field Practicum II 4.0

Note on electives for Area of Focus and proposed semester:

  • All students must take one practice class outside their Area of Focus as an elective.
  • Students may take up to 16 credit hours in any one semester, without requiring pre-approval from the MSW Program Director.
  • Students in the Advanced Standing program must complete a minimum of 45 credit hours.
  • Students in the 2-Year Program must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours.
  • Students must earn a passing grade of C+ or better.
  • Students must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA in order to be in good academic standing.

Types of Practicum Placements: Inpatient, residential, outpatient and community-based mental health and
health programs serving older adults.

 


 

Required Course Descriptions:

 

Aging Practice I: Social Work with Older Adults

Semester: Fall
SW#: SW 6750
Credit Hours: 3.0

This specialized course builds on generalist practice to prepare students for gerontological social work
practice. It focuses on knowledge, values, and skills needed to work effectively across micro, mezzo,
and macro levels of practice with and on behalf of older adults and their constituencies (informal &
formal support systems).
The student who successfully completes this course will be able to:

  • Appraise and address personal and societal values and biases regarding aging.
    Recognize demographic changes and societal trends affecting aging-focused policies, programs, and
    practice.
  • Discuss the strengths, resilience, and contributions of older adults to families, communities, and societies
    and promote older adults’ right to dignity and self-determination.
  • Establish and maintain strong relationships with older clients and their constituencies for the purpose of
    working toward mutually agreed upon goals.
  • Plan and implement engagement strategies, assessments, interventions, and evaluations that reflect older
    adults’ diverse life courses, strengths, challenges, and contexts
  • Select, modify, and/or translate evidence-informed practices that are most appropriate to particular agingfocused practice settings and populations
  • Conduct evidence-informed assessments and interventions that incorporate a strengths-based,
    person/family-centered focus, while recognizing issues related to losses, changes, and transitions over the
    life cycle.
  • Understand and articulate the significance of interprofessional collaborative practice with and on behalf of
    older adults and their constituencies.
  • Identify major U.S. policies that affect older adults (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, Older Americans Act), and
    link them to relevant local resources
  • Advocate for policies and services that promote well-being of older adults and their constituencies and
    encourage use of research and evaluation to enhance effectiveness and sustainability.

 


 

Aging Practice II: Chronic Health and Mental Health Conditions in Older Adults

Semester: Spring
SW#: SW 6751
Credit Hours: 3.0

Nearly half of older adults live with a chronic health condition (e.g., diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease,
cardiovascular disease) and a third live with three or more. Many have co-occurring mental health conditions
(e.g., depression, anxiety, substance use disorders) that are under-assessed and under-treated. This specialized
practice course examines factors that impact these conditions in older adults and highlights relevant emerging
and evidence-informed person- and family-centered care models.
The student who successfully completes this course will be able to:

  • Identify leading chronic health conditions that impact older adults in society.
    Demonstrate knowledge of basic concepts of geriatric mental health and mental illness.
  • Relate social work perspectives and relevant theories to evidence-informed geriatric mental health
    practice.
  • Characterize social work roles and contributions in settings serving older adults with chronic health and
    mental health conditions
  • Respect diversity and engage in ethical decision making with older adults who have chronic health and
    mental health conditions and their families.
  • Conduct comprehensive geriatric psychosocial/mental health assessments and plan and implement
    appropriate interventions.
  • Describe unique challenges and evaluate clinical strategies for working with these older adults and their
    caregivers.
  • Explain the impact of culture and socio-economic factors on older adults and their constituencies in
    relation to chronic conditions and disability.

 


 

Interdisciplinary Seminar Series on Aging

Semester: Spring
SW#: SW 6754
Credit Hours: 1.0

Addressing the diverse needs of an aging population is a societal challenge in terms of health care and social
services, policy directives, and social-cultural issues. This specialized course addresses the complexities of the
aging experience from the perspectives of multiple disciplines and identifies tools to integrate and synthesize
intersecting scholarly perspectives on aging.
The student who successfully completes this course will be able to:

  • Describe interdisciplinary approaches to geriatric care.
  • Recognize and interpret age-related demographic transitions.
  • Discuss the contributions of multiple disciplines (biology, social work, sociology, psychology, medicine,
    humanities, etc.) to the study of aging.
  • Identify major policies and services that affect older adults and their families.
  • Understand the aging experience as psychologically, socially and culturally constructed.
Last Updated: 8/19/19