The University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work West Texas A&m university Department of Psychology, Sociology and Social Work socw 6333-001 lec51589: Aging in American Society socw 6333-002 lec51426: Aging in American Society

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The University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work

West Texas A&M University Department of Psychology, Sociology and Social Work
SOCW 6333-001 LEC51589: Aging in American Society

SOCW 6333-002 LEC51426: Aging in American Society
Summer, 2009
Name of instructor: Suk-Young Kang, Ph.D., M.S.S.W.

Office: University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) School of Social work, Building A, 208C Office Telephone Number: 817-272-5768, Fax: 817-272-2046

Email Address: or via class WebCT

Office Hours: Monday 3pm to 5pm and by appointment
Class Time: Monday 6 pm to 9:20pm

Place of Class Meetings: SWC B 107 at UTA and

West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) Bldg #16

or via class WebCT
EPAS Requirements for HBSE:

4.3 Human Behavior and the Social Environment

Social work education programs provide content on the reciprocal relationships between human behavior and social environments. Content includes empirically based theories and knowledge that focus on the interactions between and among individuals, groups, societies, and economic systems. It includes theories and knowledge of biological, sociological, cultural, psychological, and spiritual development across the life span; the range of social systems in which people live (individual, family, group, organizational, and community); and the ways social systems promote or deter people in maintaining or achieving health and well being.

In addition this course addresses 4.0 Values and Ethics:

Social work education programs integrate content about values and principles of ethical decision making as presented in the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. The educational experience provides students with the opportunity to be aware of personal values; develop, demonstrate, and promote the values of the profession; and analyze ethical dilemmas and the ways in which these affect practice, services, and clients.

Links to the SSW MSSW Program Goals and MSSW Foundation Objectives include: the full range of social systems, critical thinking, the value base of the profession, practice without discrimination, empirical evidence to understanding individual development and behavior across the life span, and life-long learning.

Graduate Catalog Course Description:

Explores the elderly population in American society, includes discussion of social gerontology, a description of the aged in the United States and across cultures. Changes among the elderly such as health, finances and social roles are studied.

Detailed Course Description

This course is designed to give students an overview of many aspects of the aging process from the demographics to health care delivery. Social workers, physicians, nurses, nutritionists, public health, and other health care professionals will encounter aging clients and issues related to again in most settings in which they work. This course will focus principally on the issues and problems of aging and on the social policies and programs that most directly affect older persons and their families. This course is designed to provide students with an awareness of the contributions of the disciplines to gerontology, to provide core information on gerontology, to prove theories and principles of gerontology, and to provide an understanding of the impact of an aging society.

Educational Objectives Addressed:
SOCW6333 addresses the following educational objectives:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, culture, and other client characteristics, in conducting culturally sensitive, competent, and ethical social work practice.

  • Plan for life-long learning and activities to update and improve professional knowledge and skills.

This course relates to and advances the program objectives by addressing race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and culture in assessments of older persons and expressing in written form a life-long learning plan.
Student Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the semester, students should be able to demonstrate the following knowledge areas in their class assignments, term papers, examinations, and group projects:

1. Demonstrate the basic social, psychological, and biological theories of aging.

2. Demonstrate the problems and issues aging in the area of attitudes, stereotypes, and “ageism.”

3. Demonstrate the diversity of aging in terms of gender, class, race, ethnic, and other differences.

4. Describe the problems and issues of aging in the area of health, mental health, family and social support, long-term care, and service utilization.

6. Apply skills in analyzing gerontological issues.

7. Demonstrate critical analysis of the impact of social programs that bear special importance for older women and older persons of color.

  1. Apply skills in assessing indicators of normal aging and recognition of pathology as well as skills in assessing social and cultural differences in the elderly people.

Requirements to be in the course

BSW: Completion of 3301, completion or concurrent with 3302

MSSW: Completion of SOCW 5301
Required Textbook:

Hooyman, N.R., & Kiyak, H.A. (2008). Social Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. (8th ed.). New York: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN#0-205-52561-X

Course Outline*/Topics and Readings.



Location of instructor

Reading from textbook

1- 6/8


Course overview

Part 1. The Field of Social Gerontology

1, 2

2 -6/15


Part. 2. The Biological and Physiological Context of Social Aging

3, 4


WebCT and web-based information

Alzheimer – Reaction Paper,

WebCT Aging practice quiz



Part 3. The Psychological Context of Social Aging

Mini Assignment 1 due

5, 6, 7



Exam 1 via WebCT

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

6 -7/13


Part 4. The Social Context of Aging

8, 9

7 – 7/20





12, 13



The Resilience of Elders,

Assignment 2 due

Course evaluation

14, 15

10 – 8/10


Exam 2 via WebCT

(8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)

*Dates and schedule are subject to change.
Session 1: 6/8 Course overview & Demography and Diversity

The growth of the older population; population trends among ethnic minorities;populations at risk.

From text book - Hooyman & Kiyak, 1, 2
Suggested reading

AARP Minority Affairs. (1997). Reaching out: Expanding outreach to culturally diverse populations. Washington, D.C.: AARP.

AARP (1998). Boomers approaching midlife: how secure a future? Washington, D.C.: AARP.

Publications by US Census

Age 2000

The 65 years and over: Population 2000

65+ in the United States: 2005

Session 2: 6/15: The Biological and Physiological Context of Social Aging

Physical health, functional impairments, and chronic disease and their social consequences.

Hooyman & Kiyak, 3, 4

Patient Assessment Tool--Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
Session 3: 6/22: Alzheimer – Reaction Paper (5 points, due by 6/25), WebCT Aging Practice Quiz

First: Watch at least these two streaming videos (about 30 minutes) (about 48 minutes)

Second: Write one page reaction paper for both (2 page total and submit via WebCT)

Question 1. What is the information you already knew?

Questions 2. What is the new information you did not know?

Questions 3. What would do with the information for the client(s) who is(are) touched by Alzheimer’s disease?

Third. Try to answer Aging Quiz in our class WebCT (this is a practice for Exam 1 and Exam 2)

Session 4: 6/29: The Psychological Context of Social Aging

Mini Assignment 1 due

Personality development in later life. Stress, coping and adaptation. Memory losses. Epidemiology of mental disorders.

Hooyman & Kiyak, 5, 6, 7

Session 5: 7/6: Exam 1 via WebCT

Session 6, 7 and 8: (7/13, 7/20, 7/27) The Social Context of Aging

Hooyman & Kiyak, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

The knowledge base for working with the aged. The theories of intrinsic disengagement, activity, exchange and role loss. The concept of "successful aging” and “productive aging”.

Employment and sources of income. Male-female experiences. Attitude toward retirement and preparation for retirement. Leisure orientations and activity patterns. Policy development and the emergence of income maintenance programs for retirees. Social Security and private pensions.

Death, dying, bereavement, and widowhood
Session 9: 8/3: The Resilience of Elders- Assignment 2 due - Course evaluation

Knowledge of and attitudes toward aging.

Context and framework for social work practice.

Hooyman & Kiyak, 14, 15

Session 10: 8/10: Exam 2 via WebCT


The student must do all assignments and submit all assignment.


Point Value

Reaction paper on Alzheimer’s disease due by 6/25

5 points

Mini-assignments with brief presentations

Mini-assignment No. 1: Scrapbook/Journal (15pts) by each students (Due on 6/29)

Mini-assignment No. 2: Interview or presentation (15 pts) (Due on 8/3)

30 points

Two Exams( 7/6 & 8/10)

50 points

Final Life Long Learning Paper (Due by 8/12) via email

5 points

Attendance (Attendance will be taken each class session. There is a limit of two excused absences for the class. An excused absence is limited to health and family emergencies. 3 points will be lost for each unexcused absence or for any absence not discussed and approved by the instructor ahead of time.)

More than 3 absences including excused absences will be automatically failed.

No absence – 10 pts

1 absence – 7

2 absences – 4

3 absences – 1

4 absences - Fail


100 points

To receive full credit, all assignments should be typed, clearly written, doubled-spaced, structurally sound, APA style referencing, and turned in on time.

Failure to turn in any part of the assignments and final paper on the due date at the beginning of class will result in an immediate loss of 5 points. Another 5 points will be deducted if the assignment is not received by 6:00 pm on the due date, and a continued loss of 5 points for each day late will be calculated. The paper will not be accepted later than a week following the due date, resulting in an automatic zero for the assignment.
It is important to proofread carefully before submission and always to keep a copy for you.

If you have a compelling reason for needing an extension, please see your instructor well before the due date.

Mini-assignment No.1: Scrapbook/Journal Assignment (15 points)

Objectives: Students are expected to:

  • Explore the concepts of ageism. racism, sexism, and heterosexism, classism, and other client characteristics and their negative impact on older people;

  • Sensitize the student to the manner in which old age and aging in general is portrayed in popular culture, in the face of our personal orientation to old age in ourselves and in older persons we know;

  • Understand the myths, stereotypes, negative images, and reality of aging. Assesses objective # 5.


  1. Scrapbook: over the course of two weeks, you will collect items from the printed media/material which serves as examples of popular culture treatment of old age. These examples can come from the Newsweek, Time, People, National Enquirer, birthday cards, etc. Clip the item and save it in a scrapbook, along with your personal reaction to it--a few lines in the margin which explain why you think the item appears, what it says about old age, how you react to the message personally, and can you do something about it. You may also include items which you glean from the broadcast media. Simply record the event in your own fashion briefly and add your own marginal notes to it as above. (5pts)

  1. Journal: On blank pages in your scrapbook, you may record personal entries speaking to the role and experience of age and older age in your own life. You may be speaking to physical changes, interactions with others, observations of older people in your life, etc. (5pts)

  1. On the due date you need to submit your material to the instructor along with a 4-5 pages essay which summarizes what you have learned about old age or ageism. Is there anything we can do to change the culture? How the experience of examining media images of older people affect your personal views on aging? Discuss this exercise's impact on you. In the class, share other comments, feelings, and thoughts regarding this exercise. Compare your findings with literature on ageism. (5 pts)

Grading for mini-assignments

  1. Submit on due date

  2. Clear : Content is expressed with clarity and coherence

  3. Application : Substantive, comprehensive, detailed (one or two sentences is not acceptable)

  4. All required documents included

Mini-assignment No 2: Interview-Aging in a Cross-cultural Perspective
Objectives: Students are expected to:

  • Understand the cultural and religious beliefs, practices, and life experiences of ethnic elders and the influences of these attitudes toward aging and adjustment.

  • Understand the influences of family and support systems toward the aging person. (Assesses objective # 5)


The student is to identify and interview an individual 65 or older from a foreign country or of an ethnic background dissimilar to the student’s own. First ask for his/her consent to do the interview and promise that his/her name will not be identified. You just want to learn from his/her life story. The student should plan to spend at least one hour visiting this individual. The experience is to be “a friendly visit”. It is an effort to get to know the person and to find out what effect his/her cultural background has played in life. It is important that the student gather information in a friendly, non-threatening manner, remembering that the major goal of understanding something of the individual’s cultural background and how he or she perceives its effect is of more importance than getting answers to specific questions. Be considerate, creative, and sincere.

Some of the basic information which can provide helpful insights into an understanding of the individual is as follows: age, religion, sex, languages spoken, gender role identity, socioeconomic background including profession or occupation, geographical location in the country of origin, how the individual perceives the aging experience, whether he or she feels this is different from aging for people in past days. Explore the cultural meaning of family, aging, retirement, family interaction, family exchange in terms of money and gifts. You can also try other approaches; the following example is one of the many possible ways to start the conversation:
I would like to learn from your life story. The first thing I’d like to do is to get an idea of how you think of your life so we can decide how to organize your life story.

1) What do you think of as the most important things someone should know about you and your life?

  1. What do you think of as the most significant things from the past that helped make you the person you are now?

  2. If we were going to write a book about your life, what would be the chapters?

This paper should be no more than five (5) pages in length. In addition to information acquired from the interview, the student should attempt to interpret or analyze what she/he has found out about the individual interviewed. The student should provide her/his personal reactions to the experience as well as any of her/his own insights regarding the impact of culture on the life of the elderly respondent. Any surprises? Discuss this exercise's impact on you. Use headings and subheadings to organize your data.

Life Long Learning Paper (5pts) Due by 8/12

Select one of the topics below. Students are encouraged to select other topics and consult the instructor for approval (e.g. nutrition, exercise, health, mental health, social support, stress and coping, family relationship, social support, long-term care, home care service utilization, etc.) Students are encouraged to read both empirical and conceptual papers.

Possible topics

Alcoholism and stress

Alzheimer’s disease and family support

Advance directives

Caregiving stress and caregiver support

Crime and victimization of elderly

Dementia and family care

Depression and stress

Elder abuse and neglect

End-of-life decision and bioethics

Financial planning and post-retirement employment

Heart disease and Exercise

Homelessness and poverty of older people

Housing and life care system

Intergenerational families

Intimacy and sexuality

Living alone and mental health of older people

Religiosity and mental health

Social Security

Successful aging/ well elderly

Suicide and depression

Volunteering and productive aging

Lifelong Learning Paper

Write what your plan is for further knowledge development about older persons. Assesses outcome #8 (Minimum of 2 pages not including reference list).

Must be clearly written and contain a substantive plan for lifelong learning.

Points: Excellent suggestion and very high substantive (5), high substantive (4), moderate substance (3), fair substance (2), low substance (1) or no substance (0).

* Be sure to type your name on the title page of your paper.

* Save your paper in Word, WordPerfect, or Rich Text if possible.

* Cite all sources within your text (Author and year; include page numbers for any quotations) and include a complete alphabetical reference list. If a scholarly journal article appears on-line, it is appropriate to site the specific web address (URL) and date it was retrieved from the Internet in your reference list. If an interview was conducted, it is important to site the name of the interviewee and date (day, month, year) of the interview, and to obtain written permission to cite the source within your paper.

Suggested Journals for Consultation

Age and Aging (British)

Aging International (International Federation on Aging)

Generations (American Society for Aging)

Geriatrics (Harcourt, Brace, Inc.)

Gerontologist (GSA)

Gerontology and Geriatrics Education

Health Care Financing Review

Home Health Care Services Quarterly (Haworth Press)

International Journal of Aging and Human Development

Journal of Aging and Health

Journal of Aging and Social Policy

Journal of Applied Gerontology

Journal of Comparative Gerontology

Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect

Journal of Gerontological Social Work

Journals of Gerontology (GSA)

Journal of Long Term Care Administration

Journal of Minority Aging - Black Aging

Journal of Women and Aging

Research on Aging (SAGE Publications)

Social Security Bulletin

Grading Standards

A Point Scale: 90 – 100 points

B Point Scale: 80 – 89.9 points

C Point Scale: 70 – 79.9 points

D Point Scale: 60 – 69.9 points

E Point Scale: less than 60 points

Regular participation in class discussions is critical to maximizing active learning, class participation, and integration of course content. Timely submission of assignments is expected. All course work must be completed within the semester in which the course is offered.
Attendance Policy:

It is expected that you attend class and participate in class discussion. Early and unexcused exits or absences from class will be counted as one full absence for the class period. Attendance (Attendance will be taken each class session. There is a limit of two excused absences for the class. An excused absence is limited to health and family emergencies. 3 points will be lost for each unexcused absence or for any absence not discussed and approved by the instructor ahead of time.)

More than 3 absences including excused absences will be automatically failed.

1. Students are expected to be on time, attend all class sessions, and stay until the completion of the class.

2. Students are to complete reading assignments and be prepared to participate in class discussions.

3. All written assignments are due at the beginning of class period of the date specified on the course outline. Assignments turned in after the due date and time will be marked down substantially.

4. Assignments are to be completed correctly at the time of submission. No papers or assignments may be resubmitted once a grade is given.

5. Any disruption of the classroom learning environment (through actions in or out of class) will result in the identified student(s) being required to leave the class, without possibility of being readmitted, and cancellation of class work scores for the disrupted class session(s), with a recorded failing semester grade.

6. All graduate students have ascribed to the NASW code of ethics at admission and are responsible for adhering to standards of professional conduct with colleagues/faculty and elsewhere in the graduate program.

7. Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, or communication devices while in class, or the classroom, as a courtesy to both the course instructor and fellow students, as these devices are considered disruptive to the course delivery. Laptop computers may be used with permission of the instructor.

Drop Policy:

If you chose to drop the class, you have the responsibility to complete the paperwork according to the University’s schedule. Not doing so may result in a failing grade.

Americans with Disabilities Act:
The University of Texas at Arlington is on record as being committed to both the spirit and letter of federal equal opportunity legislation; reference Public Law 92-112 - The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. With the passage of federal legislation entitled Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, there is renewed focus on providing this population with the same opportunities enjoyed by all citizens.
As a faculty member, I am required by law to provide "reasonable accommodations" to students with disabilities, so as not to discriminate on the basis of that disability. Student responsibility primarily rests with informing faculty of their need for accommodation and in providing authorized documentation through designated administrative channels. If you require an accommodation based on disability, I would like to meet with you in the privacy of my office, during the first week of the semester, to make sure you are appropriately accommodated. Information regarding specific diagnostic criteria and policies for obtaining academic accommodations can be found at   Also, you may visit the Office for Students with Disabilities in room 102 of University Hall or call them at (817) 272-3364.
Academic Integrity:
It is the philosophy of The University of Texas at Arlington that academic dishonesty is a completely unacceptable mode of conduct and will not be tolerated in any form. All persons involved in academic dishonesty will be disciplined in accordance with University regulations and procedures. Discipline may include suspension or expulsion from the University.

"Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts." (Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Series 50101, Section 2.2)

Librarian to Contact:

The Social Sciences / Social Work Resource Librarian is John Dillard. His office is in the Social Work Electronic Library (SWEL) located in Building A: Suite 111 of the UTA Social Work Complex at 211 South Cooper Street, Arlington, Texas. He may also be contacted via E-mail: or by Cell phone: (817) 675-8962, or through the SWEL phone: (817) 272-7518. His SWEL office hours are usually: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Thursday. The SWEL web page is linked to the School of Social Work Main Page and through the Central Library web page. The SWEL library contains a number of computer work stations and printing facilities, and resource guides for conducting research.

E-Culture Policy:

The University of Texas at Arlington has adopted the University email address as an official means of communication with students. Through the use of email, UT-Arlington is able to provide students with relevant and timely information, designed to facilitate student success. In particular, important information concerning registration, financial aid, payment of bills, and graduation may be sent to students through email.

All students are assigned an email account and information about activating and using it is available at New students (first semester at UTA) are able to activate their email account 24 hours after registering for courses. There is no additional charge to students for using this account, and it remains active as long as a student is enrolled at UT-Arlington. Students are responsible for checking their email regularly.
Printing Policy:

Assignments are to be turned-in for evaluation and grade in printed (paper format) as requested. Printing of digital or online course materials, other that paper handouts provided by the instructor, and a single print copy of the course syllabus, is the responsibility of the student. Digital or emailed assignments for grade will only be accepted with the prior explicit permission of the instructor. Printing allowances for students per course semester are permitted through the Library Pharos system. Faculty members are also limited in printing capacity and cannot cover the print costs for enrolled students.

Grade Grievance Policy:

It is the obligation of the student, in attempting to resolve any student grievance regarding grades, first to make a serious effort to resolve the matter with the individual with whom the grievance originated. Individual course instructors retain primary responsibility for assigning grades. The instructor's judgment is final unless compelling evidence shows discrimination or preferential treatment or procedural irregularities. If students wish to appeal, their requests must be submitted in writing on an appeal form which is available in departmental or program offices. The normal academic channels are: department chair or program director, and academic Dean. However, before considering a grievance, the department chair or program director will refer the issue to a departmental or program committee of graduate faculty. If the committee cannot reach a decision acceptable to the parties involved, the matter will follow the remaining academic channels. If students are dissatisfied with the chair or director's decision, they may appeal the case to the academic Dean.


A selected list of articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, videos, and other materials that might be of interest to students looking for information about social work practice issues may be found online:

Much of the material listed here is either owned by or accessible via the UT Arlington Library and more than half of the items listed are available Full text online to UT Arlington students and faculty.

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