Issues and Views

IGSW courses to focus on disability as well as aging

Service Providers Need Diverse, Evolving Set of Skills

By Bronwyn Keefe

The goal of the new Administration for Community Living—to improve the supports and services that older adults and people with disabilities may need in order to live with dignity in their communities—highlights the importance of what people who work with these individuals do every day in their jobs. Their work is complex and requires a diverse and evolving set of knowledge and skills, now more than ever.

At IGSW over the past 10 years, our innovative courses and learning programs have helped thousands of social service practitioners and other health and human service workers across the nation to strengthen their knowledge and skills for work with older adults. With the growing movement to integrate support and services for older adults with those for people with disabilities, our courses have evolved accordingly and will now focus on disability as well as aging.

Core Issues in Aging and Disability, our latest offering, brings service providers up to date as they increasingly work with individuals from both populations. Course participants learn how disability and age can affect function and quality of life along the continuum of adulthood. They learn about integrated approaches to "long-term living" and gain a deeper understanding of the meanings of consumer choice, self-determination, and ethical issues that can arise in practice with older adults and people with disabilities. The course also guides participants to new resources and existing programs, and clarifies federal laws and regulations that affect disability and aging. Useful links and video clips are included.

Many of IGSW's existing courses focus on skills that are applicable to work with both populations. New courses will address work with both populations where appropriate and with a single population where the subject requires. For example, a new course, An Options Counselor's Guide to Consumer Control, Consumer Choice, and Consumer Direction, will review the definition and meaning of consumer control, consumer choice, and consumer direction and the practice of this approach and philosophy within the context of options counseling. Other courses in the works are A Guide to the Aging and Disability Networks and Options Counseling Training Overview. You'll be hearing from us as the new courses become available. We hope to hear what you think of these courses and what you'd like to see as we expand our offerings. Below, course participant Janice Adams describes how Core Issues in Aging and Disability worked for her.

Bronwyn Keefe is associate director of IGSW.

Update your skills with this timely IGSW course

Core Issues in Aging and Disability

Creation of the new Administration for Community Living in the Department of Health and Human Services is only the latest among many changes taking place to integrate long-term services for older adults with those for people with disabilities. Learn what you need to know. Sign up now and receive a 10 percent discount! (Enter code ENews1012 to enjoy the discount.)

"I would definitely recommend this program to all aging and disability services staff.

The balance between aging and disability materials perfectly fits the platform being presented as the Area Agencies on Aging are moving into a stronger Aging and Disability Resource Connection component locally, at the state level and even nationally.

This program allows those working with the Aging and Disability Resource Centers in particular to better serve both our seniors and those with special needs."

―Janice F. Adams, L.C.S.W., caregiver program manager,
Central Savannah River Area Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging

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Copyright © 2012 Trustees of Boston University. All rights reserved. This article may not be duplicated or distributed in any form without written permission from the publisher: The Institute for Geriatric Social Work, Boston University School of Social Work, 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215, U.S.A.; e-mail: igsw@bu.edu.