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This chapter focuses on the role that Adult Protective Services (APS) and related service systems play in protecting vulnerable older adults and adults with disabilities from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It articulates policy issues connected to elder justice. The chapter also explores human rights issues related to elder abuse, aging, and disabilities, particularly how to balance rights to self-determination and safety when working with abused, neglected, and exploited older adults. APS operate within a continuum of services that challenge social workers in their efforts to respond effectively to elder abuse. In addition to knowledge of aging, disabilities, the dynamics of family violence and care giving, and community resources and skills in capacity assessment, working in multidisciplinary teams, advocacy, and systems navigation, social workers need commitment to values of self-determination and empowerment to guide their work in this system.
This chapter examines how age matters to individuals and groups, and to social life and the organization of the life course. It illustrates how age is used to categorize and judge oneself and others, and how age is used to create distinct life phases and allocate social roles and activities in education, work, retirement, and family. This structure is reinforced through laws and policies, the design of institutions and physical environments, and social expectations. This structure can result in ageism, age segregation, and age conflict. Age must be understood in connection to gender, race, and social class. Differences among older people may not only reflect their unique experiences but also social processes that perpetuate inequality. Cohorts create new patterns of aging and the life course based on their unique composition and historical location. One can better anticipate the future of aging by studying cohorts who are now young.
This chapter focuses on older people’s living environments—where and how they live. Their living environments include the communities in which they live, with whom they share their accommodations, and the type of housing in which they live. As with most aspects of older adult life, great diversity is common in all of these areas. The opening scenarios indicate just that, with some older people aging in place, others moving to retirement communities with enticing amenities, and yet others sharing their accommodations with others. This chapter discusses living arrangements, housing options, and age-friendly communities for older adults. It stresses the importance of living environment to older people and outlines the factors that influence their decisions about where to live. The chapter also outlines the advantages and disadvantages of living alone and investigates the issue of homelessness among older adults.
To facilitate learning about aging, we as teachers must first tear down these beliefs students (and ourselves) have internalized through years of exposure to inaccurate media representations of aging. The activities presented in this chapter help to do just that. Activity 1, Aging as Portrayed in Children's Picture Books, challenges students to think critically about the earliest messages people receive about aging. Activity 2, Aging in the Movies, students examine the ways in which aging is portrayed in various popular films. In imAGES: Intervention Program to Prevent Ageism in Children and Adolescents, students work in multigenerational groups to examine sources and contents of their beliefs about aging and work together to generate an awareness campaign about aging to disseminate locally. Finally, Activity 4, Examining the Social Clock through YouTube, facilitates challenges to the idea that there is a "typical" path people follow through life.
Health professionals are often called upon to intervene in complex ethical dilemmas that involve respecting an older adult's autonomy while also considering protective interventions to ensure safety. This chapter addresses the foundational ethical competencies for psychologists and geropsychologists including the unique challenges associated with surrogate decision making, legal, clinical, and psychosocial interventions specific to working with vulnerable older adults, ethical dilemmas that can emerge within various situations including assessment and integrated care settings, detection and intervention strategies in cases of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and ethical approaches to research with older adults. Finally, the authors discuss the multicultural dimensions that influence how ethical and legal issues are conceptualized and addressed. The micro-and macrosystems in which older adults live and thrive require a level of cultural sensitivity, an understanding of aging processes, and knowledge about professional ethics and legal standards involved in decision making.
This chapter presents a broad and general overview of the structural and physiological changes that occur with aging as well as the underlying pathophysiology of age-related diseases. The body comprises eleven organ systems that include the integumentary, muscular, skeletal, nervous, circulatory, lymphatic, respiratory, endocrine, urinary/excretory, reproductive, and digestive systems. As such, the ensuing sections are arranged by organ system and structured to cover age-related physiological changes and common disorders. Older adults experience a myriad of physiological changes as they age. While some of these physiological changes are benign, other changes increase the risk of age-associated pathophysiological changes, which can result in significant functional impairment or morbidity. These pathophysiological changes are not to be considered part of the normative aging process. Thus, it is essential that providers distinguish between the two states.
This chapter presents specific issues faced by older adults in response to adaptations to chronic illness and disability. Some individuals have congenital disabilities and others acquire a disability early in life and are able to adjust fairly easily, aging with their disability. On the other hand, some individuals acquire a disability later in life and may experience great difficulty making the adjustments to their condition. The chapter presents information on the age-related concerns of older adults, components and perceptions of aging, assessment issues associated with older adults, vocational interests, and death and dying perspectives. It also discusses the implications for service delivery in the context in which older adults are served along with laws and regulations that apply to the population. Aging and geriatric persons often utilize a variety of services from multiple entities (e.g., social, legal, medical, financial, and counseling).
Environment encompasses more than the home where an older person lives; it also includes emotional attachments to the broader community called place. Whether people live alone or with family members or friends, home is an important consideration throughout their lives. This chapter first explores what is meant by home, including similarities and differences between private homes and institutions. It considers place and housing in the context of dwelling types and recent social movements. Environmental theory in gerontology and aging in place provide a framework to explore ways in which home environments can help or hinder people as they age. The chapter also looks at ways in which environments can enable or disable people by their physical features (e.g., accessible entryways) and explore concepts related to age-friendly communities. It finally provides a brief vignette that introduces some of the themes surrounding home, place, and housing for older persons.