SWK5110EN - Advanced Social Work Practice with Older Adults

Course description

An examination of social work practice theories, assessment tools, skills, and intervention strategies with the elderly. Mental disorders of older adults including depression, suicide, and substance abuse will be discussed. Students will engage collaborative treatment planning across disciplines and the service delivery system. Policy implications will be discussed.

How this course benefits students

This course is offered as a distributional practice course within the clinical social work concentration, for student interested in specializing in working with adult and the aging population. It can also serves as a good choice course for student who are interested in certificates in aging or other aging topics.

Why this course is important

According to Administration on Aging, the older population or persons 65 years or older numbered 46.2 million in 2014 (the latest year for which data is available). They represented 14.5% of the U.S. population, about one in every seven Americans. By 2060, there will be about 98 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2014. People 65+ represented 14.5% of the population in the year 2014 but are expected to grow to be 21.7% of the population by 2040. Based on this data, a course in social work practice with older adult is an essential to handle the growing aging population.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Social Work
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Dr. Olivia Owusu-Boakyewaah, Professor of Social Ministry

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

In Psalms 71:9, David cried out to the Lord saying “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.” Based on this scripture, it is critical for society to focus on aging population. This is based on the biblical principle that as a society we have to take care of the older adults in time when they are not able to care for themselves. This course is intended to prepare professional social workers that will assume the duties of caregivers in the profession.

Missionally driven

Our goal is to reduce social isolation, improve the health and well-being of older adults and to empower them to lead meaningful and connected lives. Social work students will be able to make this impact in the life of the older adults whom they will be serving.

Interculturally focused

This course will recognize the diverse ways in which the elderly function, their diverse needs, and change in the country and world overtime in many contexts.

Practically minded

The course will include presentations of conceptual material, demonstrations, discussion, videos and group activities. Through lectures, readings, class discussion/activities and presentations and written assignments, students will be expected to apply concepts to case materials and to participate in meaningful discussions.

Experientially transformed

The course will require students to select an adult who is facing an aging-related illness to work with through student placement. This will enable practical experience for geriatric social work.