#MacroSW Chat 6/15/17: Aging in the 21st Century with Dr. Nathalie P. Jones

Update: the archive for this chat can be found here

For our Thursday chat on June 15th, #MacroSW chat will cover Aging in the 21s Century.

digital life

When thinking about aging in the 21st Century, consider that individuals are: living longer, making more healthy life choices, using technology to stimulate their minds, and becoming more physically active.

The current condition of the aging population is a focus of heightened discussion within the social work profession (one example of this focus is the upcoming virtual NASW conference, Aging Through the Social Work Lens). According to the National Institute on Aging, in 2010 there were 524 million people aged 65 years and older, representing eight percent of the global population. Moreover, older adults are increasing participation in physical activities, and have demonstrated increased technology use, which increases cognitive stimulation. This suggests possible explanations for increased life expectancy. As a result, academic and practical social workers are seeking deeper insights for this life expectancy, and overall quality of life.  Research emphasizes the life choices that the older adults are making as it relates to health, physical activity and brain activity through technology use. When older adults become more active, their heart rate increases and their confidence is heightened by their independence (Berlin, Kruger and Klenosky, 2017).

According to Pew Research Center, 79% of people in the United States use technology on a regular basis. Of this percentage, adults aged 65 to 69 are known to spend large amounts of time online. Technology use has become popular across the board with populations ranging from infancy to older adults. In particular, it has impacted the older population by increasing their cognitive activity; provided support for safety precautions (security cameras); and has allowed for overall heightened independence (Rogers, Stronge and Fisk, 2005). While the aging population has more choices to prolong life, it seems that they are in need of more social workers to support and advocate on their behalf. While discussing and exploring aging in the 21st Century, the limitations include current literature in practice and social work education on aging in the 21st century. The strengths include the ability to explore and to add to this body of literature as well as to increase the emphasis on social work with aging populations within social work education.ProfNJones

Our guest host will be Nathalie P. Jones, PhD, MSW (@DrNJonesTSU), Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at Tarleton State University.

Nathalie enjoys working with the aging population and has a research interest that includes Healthy Aging. As a Masters level student Nathalie completed her internship serving the older population. Also, while in practice Nathalie was a gerontology social worker for the West Palm Beach Housing Authority. Currently, she is a Faculty Fellow and is proud to have the opportunity to discuss Aging in the 21st Century during the #MacroSW chat.

Possible discussion questions for the #MacroSW chat:

  • When you were younger how did “aging” look to you?
  • As you got older, how did your impression of aging change?
  • What age is considered the late adulthood phase?
  • What does aging look like to you in the 21st Century?
  • What impact does the younger generation have on the aging population?
  • How has technology impacted the aging population currently, like social media?
  • How can social workers support the aging population in the 21st century?

Additional Questions:

  • In what ways have you seen technology among members of the aging population?
  • What barriers to physical activity have you seen older adults struggle with?
  • How should social workers become more visible/interactive with and to the aging population?

About #MacroSW:

#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Click here for a list of chat partners. For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs. For chat schedule and chat archives check out: http://macrosw.com.

References:

Anderson, M. & Perrin, A. (2017), Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults. Pew Research Center Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/17/tech-adoption-climbs-among-older-adults/

Berlin, K., Kruger, T., & Klenosky, D. B. (2016). A mixed-methods investigation of successful aging among older women engaged in sports-based versus exercise-based leisure time physical activities. Journal of Women & Aging, 1-11.

National Institute on Aging Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/research/publication/global-health-and-aging/living-longer

Rogers, W. A., Stronge, A. J., & Fisk, A. D. (2005). Technology and aging. Reviews of human factors and ergonomics, 1(1), 130-171.

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