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Class Descriptions

Interpersonal Practice Methods in Aging


Credits: 3
Prerequisites: SW506

Pathway Associations

Community Change
Interpersonal PracticeElective
Mgmt & Leadership
Policy & Political
Program Evaluation
Older AdultsRequirement (Host)
Children & Families

Course Description

This methods course focuses on intervention with older people at the micro level. This content will be integrated with intervention strategies directed toward aging adults, including evidence-based interventions and practices. Major areas to be discussed are: coping with age related changes, caregiving demands, legal and financial planning, elder abuse, sexuality and intimacy, and loss and grief. This course will also address the diverse dimensions including: ability, age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion or spirituality, and sexual orientation. The IP intervention will focus on intake, screening, initial evaluation, treatment and termination issues involved in working with older clients and their families. Such skills as reaching out, engaging reluctant or impaired elders, and successful termination of intervention will be covered. Various psychiatric disorders more typically diagnosed among the elderly will be discussed and intervention strategies identified.


1. Identify the common barriers in serving the needs of older people from interpersonal, environmental and social perspectives, and recognize that these problems can be addressed using all levels of social work intervention (EPAS 3)
2. Plan intervention strategies in micro practice that are of particular importance for aging adults of various diversity dimensions (EPAS 4)
3. Plan, conduct and evaluate an intervention strategy with aging adults in micro practice (EPAS 6,8)
4. Learn screening and assessment techniques with older adults (EPAS 7, 9)
5. Incorporate social work values and ethical principles related to social work with older people. (EPAS 1)
6. Apply technology-informed interventions and care management to the aging population. And assess individuals, families and groups (EPAS 3)
7. Recognize the global dimension of social work: the curriculum prepares our students for work in an increasingly interdependent world by emphasizing international competence and collaboration.


The instructor will select readings and design assignments for the course. Approaches such as lecture (including guest lecturers), discussion, case review, role play, and videos may also be employed. Students will be expected to engage weekly with peers to discuss and strategize over a relevant case study.

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning.

PODS will be addressed by discussion of demographic and cultural differences affecting the health and well-being of older adults and their families. An individual's position in society and the key diversity dimensions affecting development and change in mid- and later adulthood will be highlighted. Social justice will be addressed through discussing problems facing older adults and their families that have been created or exacerbated by such issues as poverty and discrimination. Attention will be paid to the unique issues in building therapeutic relationships and modes of diagnosis. Environmental risk factors as well as protective interventions across the different phases of adulthood will be explored.

Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Education Description

Research paper focused on aging related issues with appropriate evidence based intervention
Using assessment with an older adults to identify strengths and limitations to develop an intervention plan
Quiz and final exam to cover readings.

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