Watch as Blanche from the hit show The Golden Girls, reacts to these facts about aging and the elderly:
1. In the United States, because of the advances in medicine and health care as well as advances in technology, the population of older adults are beginning to live longer and longer, meaning that this “longevity revolution” will result in a heightened need to different resources such as increased social services and health care provisions. According to some reports, by 2030, the population of this country will be two times that of the population in the year 2000. That’s over half a billion people, and lot of them will be older and healthier citizens!!
2. There are several definitions of aging including:
- Chronological Age: number of years the person has been alive)
- Biological Age: change in bodily systems of person = physical, social, psychological functioning
- Psychological Age: ability to understand and adapt to familiar and unfamiliar environments
- Social Age: person’s ability to relate to others; person’s role in social structure
3. There is a very large disparity in income distribution among senior citizen populations, unfortunately meaning that many elderly people do end up being homeless at some point in their senior lives. This leads to little access to health care, food, shelter, and other basic resources needed for human survival.
4. Mental health problems amongst elderly populations are very common and a large problem faced by the population. A large concern that may be surprising to the public is that suicide rates for people 65 and over the highest for any other demographic of group in this country.
Class Lecture Notes from 4/26/2016 by John Vassello
Charlie Kramer is a social worker working at the Southern Tier Independence Center. Along with working with clients of all backgrounds and ages at the center, Charlie also has his own practice in which he sees clients privately. Just looking at Charlie, you can see in his demeanor and even in his eyes that he has a real love for being a social worker serving populations with disabilities. With over 30 years of experience, Charlie definitely has a ton of advice, stories, and lessons for new social workers or for those interested in the field. Here are some of the things he has to say:
- “It is important to have a lot of tools because if all you’ve got is a hammer, then all you’re gonna see is a nail.” As a social worker, it is important that you come prepared to work with your clients with a toolbox filled with different techniques, approaches, and practices that best cater to the needs of the person; however, one must remember that not every technique may work with every person. With Client A, it may be best to work with your hammer, but with Client B, they may not take too well to the hammer, so it is the social worker’s job to find the tool that works best for them.
- Client first, file later. Charlie makes sure each time he initially begins working with a client that he does not look at their file in order to not create an initial bias prior to first meeting them and working with them. He stressed the importance of the person over the disability or diagnosis. Getting to know the person first without any preconceived ideas of who they are allows one to approach the person as they are and get to know them in a more genuine, less judgmental way.
- “Remember to do it because you love to do it.” No matter what field you go into, whether it be social work or any other profession, a love for the work is important in order to garner a passion for the work, a genuine interest in the work, and to put out the best work one can put out. With social work, compassion, kindness, and other abilities and skills are gained easily by those who have a love for the work and a love for helping their clients help themselves overcome any hurdles or obstacles life may put in their path. When that passion is present, one is able to help a client in a positive way, and that love will be felt by all who interact with the social worker.
Guest Speaker Charlie Kramer 4/14/2016
- Protection and Improvement – Studies have found that with the addition of meetings with a school social worker into a student’s schedule, there is a clear improvement of behavior noted by both parents and teachers and previously seen aggressive or hostile behavior displayed by the student decreases. In addition to these factor, school social workers also hope to decrease student absences and increase daily school attendance, help improve academic performance, provide resources to students with issues at home, and support students in a time in their lives during which they are discovering themselves. Protective and preventative measures are always used by these social workers in order to help the development of the student (Diehl & Frey 6,11).
- Kids Come First – To a school social worker, the needs and comfort of the student (or client) they are working directly with are of the highest priority. School social workers make it their duty to get to know the students they are working with in order for the students to feel comfortable with opening up to them about their needs. It may take only one initial meeting with a student, or it may take over a month for the relationship to start to blossom between a student and a social worker. No matter how long it takes, the concerns and the comfort of the student are what come first to the mind of a social worker. (Sam Bligen 4/7/2016).
- Love Over Money – While social workers in schools, who have the important task of working directly with students to address their problems and help them improve their academic, social, and home lives, are probably one of the most beneficial additions to any educational setting, most (if not all) are not in it for the money; they are working for the kids. While their paychecks may show smaller numbers, the help, guidance, and care that school social workers provide for students are priceless. A love of the job and the children is far more important to these professionals than a large pay check (Grobman 108) .
Diehl, Daniel, and Andy Frey. “Evaluating a Community-School Model of Social Work Practice.” School Social Work Journal32.2 (2008): 1-21. Spring 2008. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
Guest Speak: Sam Bligen, 4/7/2016
Grobman, Linda May., and Elizabeth J. Clark. Days in the Lives of Social Workers: 58 Professionals Tell “Real-Life” Stories From Social Work Practice. Harrisburg, PA: White Hat Communications, 2012. Print.
Motivational Interviews are evidence-based interventions used by social workers, in this case, by social workers who have clients dealing with substance abuse, and are created to push the client to become motivated to change for their own benefit. A person must use very specific and thoughtful tactics when conducting a motivational interview in order for said interview to be successful for the client and for that key sense of empowerment to be instilled. Here are some ways one can become a successful motivational interviewer.
- Giving Advice: One must be able to give advice to a client in a way that is nonjudgemental of the person or their situation as whole. Through educating the client and suggesting different idea or tips to the client, a social worker may be able to help the client reduce or stop substance abuse.
- Giving feedback: On the same token, a social worker must give feedback to the client about their substance abuse and how it may affect them in the long run. Again, this should be down in a nonconfrontational way, void of judgement.
- Being Empathetic: With motivational interviewing, there is a very personal, one-on-one aspect to the process, and many clients may find it difficult to share their stories and history of substance abuse. With that in mind, it is important that social workers bring a sense of warmth, kindness, care, and respect when speaking with a client. One must be genuinely engaged in conversation and show a commitment to helping and motivating the client as they travel on their own unique road to sobriety.
- Giving Empowerment: Self-efficacy is a core part of motivational interviewing, and instilling a sense of empowerment in a client is necessary for change to come about.
Dealing with substance abuse is a very difficult thing million of people go through, it is important that those who are attempting to help these people approach their kindness with kindness, respect, dignity, and a genuine interest in helping them change.
- Social workers use the biopsychosocial model, which looks at the patient holistically and understands not only the patient’s health, but also their state of mind, their family situation, their cultural background, their religion, and many more aspects that may influence how the patient responds to treatment. Social workers must go beyond the hospital bed and take concern with the healing process and how it affects the patient (DiNitto & McNeece 201).
- Social workers also take into consideration one of the core aspects of their field: empowerment and self determination of the client. This means getting the patient to fully understand their disease, how they are being treated, and how the patient can work to empower them self to hopefully “thrive in the face of adversity” (DiNitto & McNeece 202).
- In many healthcare settings, it is evident that social workers will have to work with other professionals such as doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, police officers, case managers, and many more, who come from different practices. Interdisciplinary teams are common, and social workers know the importance of a collaborative effort to provide as much and the best service a patient can get (DiNitto & McNeece 204, 206).
- Medical social workers can work in the micro, mezzo, and macro practice settings.
- Micro practice: Social workers focus specifically on the individual patient and their loved ones. Those working in this setting must have knowledge about the client population they are targeting and the information about the health problem and treatment (DiNitto & McNeece 202).
- Mezzo practice: Social workers in this practice work with the local community and organizations and must have knowledge about the issues these communities face and how to address these problems (DiNitto & McNeece 202).
- Macro practice: According to DiNitto & and McNeece, this practice “involves policy analysis and development, program planning, and political advocacy for adequate and equitable health-care services for all Americans.” Social workers at this level must be up to date with the latest healthcare issues, know the health care systems are the local, state, and national levels, and try their best to advocate for the needs of their clients(DiNitto & McNeece 203).
DiNitto, Diana M., and Aaron McNeece. Social Work Issues and Opportunities In a Challenging Profession. Third ed. Chicago: Lyceum, 2007. Print.
- In the eyes of social workers, poverty is viewed and tackled as a systemic issue and is believed to be caused by the structural make of the society impoverished people live in. Because of the systemic aspect, it is a fact that those who are considered as being placed on the “lower rung” of society (like single mothers and people of color) are more likely to be impoverished (DiNitto & Aaron 305).
- The goal of social workers is to help individuals and families escape from poverty or avoid it all together. This can be done by social workers tackling child poverty, providing education and job training programs, and giving access to public assistance programs so these people can get back up on their feet, or at least have access to basic human needs (DiNitto & Aaron 304). 3. Those who suffer from the effects of institutional racism are more likely to attend poor performing or underfunded schools, live in unsafe neighborhoods with fewer opportunities for youth betterment, and, ultimately, suffer a childhood and adulthood of poverty. Social workers have recognized the connection between institutional racism and poverty, and their efforts to combat these issues have not been helped by the minimal efforts by the government (DiNitto & Aaron 300). 4. Social workers are here to help people help themselves, and empowerment is such an important aspect of helping those who are impoverished. Teaching people how to advocate for themselves and their communities and getting involved in public policy are factors which can help those who are impoverished meet their needs (DiNitto & Aaron 305).
DiNitto, Diana M., and Carl Aaron. McNeece. Social Work: Issues and Opportunities in a Challenging Profession. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990. Print.
- About 600,000 people are released from prison each year. However, many of these citizens come back into society with a large mark on their record, which could potentially hinder them from receiving social services, obtaining proper housing, getting a job, and even having access to food stamps (Oliver 2015).
- As a result, 1/2 of all people released from prison return to prison at some point in their lives, and about 2/3 of parolees return to prison due to a violation of their parole. It is quite clear that this prison system can become a vicious cycle that many people may have the misfortune of not being able to escape from (Oliver 2015).
- The average cost of incarcerating a prisoner for 12 months is $50,000. That is millions and millions of dollars spent by taxpayers each year! This money could also go to other sources which may ultimately slow the rate of imprisonment such as social services, education, job training programs, and much more. (guest)
- Almost 40% of prisoners in the United States are African American and about 20% are Latino, meaning that groups that are considered minorities in the United States make up a large majority of the inmates residing in prisons. One may think that the deeply rooted racial prejudices that this country continues to battle with today has a factor in why a disproportionate number of prisoners are Black and Latino (Jones 81).
- Finally, it is important to know that 95% of prisoners will be released. Since most of the people that are being imprisoned will eventually become regular citizens again in our communities, isn’t it only fair and just to provide programs for these citizens to restart their lives? They are people like you and me, and the world will only get better if we try to help one another out! (Oliver 2015)
Jeff Pryor: Guest Speaker in Class Lecture on 2/18/16
Jones, Sabrina, and Marc Mauer. Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling. New York: New, 2013. Print.
Oliver, John. “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-entry (HBO).” YouTube. YouTube, 8 Nov. 2015. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.