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A Multigenerational Paradigm for Gero Education, Practice and Research. Nancy Hooyman University of Washington School of Social Work Presented at University of Pennsylvania, March 23, 2006. Overview. Infusion model of Gero-Ed Center

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A Multigenerational Paradigm for Gero Education, Practice and Research

Nancy Hooyman

University of Washington School of Social Work

Presented at University of Pennsylvania, March 23, 2006

  • Infusion model of Gero-Ed Center
  • Multigenerational approach to curriculum infusion/transformation
  • Rationale for multigen approach
  • Defining key terms
  • Conceptual model & rationale
  • Implications: education & research
national center for gero social work education gero ed
National Center for Gero Social Work Education (Gero-Ed)
  • Infusion of gero sw competencies into foundation courses (BSW & 1st year MSW) & textbooks
  • Gerontological pervasiveness & sustainability
  • Cross-cutting principles (e.g., life course, intergenerational, strengths-based)
  • Intersections with other substantive areas
uw institute for multigen health development and equality
UW Institute for Multigen Health, Development and Equality
  • One model for curriculum infusion and transformation
  • Goal: to promote health, development & equality across multiple generations through cross-disciplinary education, research & community-based partnerships
  • Issues of age and aging are addressed within a multigen framework
rationale conceptual
Rationale: Conceptual
  • Growth in 3, 4 and 5 generation families
    • Of those age 35 and older, 80% members of 3 generation family, 16% in 4 generation
  • Growing evidence of cross-generational transmission of disease, behaviors, and disparities that affect well-being
    • Cross-generational relations are part of our social identity; affect quality of life and community cohesion
  • Importance of cross-generational exchanges
    • Older adults as underutilized resource; civic engagement, productivity
rationale pragmatic
Rationale: Pragmatic
  • 75% of social workers work in some capacity with older adults and family members (NASW 2005)
    • Child welfare, schools, mental health, chronic care, disability services, HIV/AIDS
    • Lack training to serve multiple generations of families
    • Retirement of geriatric social workers
rationale pragmatic7
Rationale: Pragmatic
  • With reduced resources, need to break down “silos” of funding  competition
  • Develop collaborative models across populations and age groups (life span approach to service delivery)
  • Way to “hook” students who don’t want to work with “those old people”
    • Pre and post tests of MSW students
broad definition of families
Broad Definition of Families
  • Subjective interactional quality of relationships, not necessarily by blood ties or living together
  • Cultural context: Fictive kin, families of choice, grandparents as caregivers, friend families
  • “Latent networks of support,” including neighborhood & community
defining key terms
Defining Key Terms
  • Cohort
    • Set apart by time and common experiences (historical, economic, political) that influence individual, family & community attitudes, behaviors & well-being across generations
  • Generation
    • Average period between birth of parents and birth of their offspring
    • May share common historical & cultural experiences, but may come from more than one cohort
key terms intergenerational
Key Terms: Intergenerational
  • Reciprocal obligations, rights & influences between two generations
    • Personal interaction between individuals from two generations, typically intra-family
  • Generational transfers: Macro-level processes of welfare & economic exchange without empirical grounding in everyday lives
    • Politicizing of intergenerational competition
critique of intergen approach
Critique of Intergen Approach
  • Focus on macro level transfers may overlook those at individual, family, community or neighborhood level
  • Focus on young and old
    • Individuals, micro level
    • Assume alienation, negative attitudes, conflict
    • Inter-generational programs & evaluation
critique of intergenerational
Critique of Intergenerational
  • Assumes that intergen relations are generally problematic & that intergen practice is always worthwhile
    • Changing attitudes, typically of young toward old
  • Does not consider role & function of middle generations & interactions that occur across multiple generations in families, neighborhoods & communities
key terms multigenerational
Key Terms: Multigenerational
  • Generational interdependence rather than independence
    • More than two generations, not just young and old
    • Includes intergenerational identity
  • Age and generation are socially constructed: distinctive cohort experiences impact multiple generations (families, organizations & communities)
  • Takes into account generational exchanges across the life course in family, neighborhood, organizations
key terms multigenerational14
Key Terms: Multigenerational
  • Acknowledges how ageism may lead to multigen conflicts
  • Explicitly includes the middle generation
    • Kinship care: the invisible generation
      • Incarcerated mothers
    • Women in the middle as caregivers
      • Caregiving across multiple generations and across life course
multigen relations diversity
Multigen Relations & Diversity
  • High degree of heterogeneity (individual variation) & diversity across generations (groups relative to their structure in society)
  • Complexity of multigen dynamics across different cultures
cultural variations
Cultural Variations
  • Within and across cultural variations in how generational and multigen relations are defined, valued & experienced
    • Ethnicity, race, gender, class & sexual identity influence how generations perceive and relate to each other
  • Multigen exchanges often source of resilience among families of color
    • Fictive kin, kinship care, friends & neighbors
    • Policies that work against multigen strengths: e.g., single family housing
key terms multigen practice
Key Terms: Multigen Practice
  • Assist individuals, families & communities within context of cross-generational relations & larger social system
  • Promote changes that build upon & strengthen the inherent capacities of multigen systems
practitioners input
Practitioners’ Input
  • Practitioners in child welfare and aging services do not define selves as multigen practitioners per se, but rather working with families across multiple generations
  • Use multigen lens in assessment & interventions (family group conferencing, kinship care legislation, life span respite)
barriers to multigen practice
Barriers to Multigen Practice
  • Fields of practice & services fragmented by age
    • Failure of aging, disability and mental health service systems to collaborate
  • Fragmentation of age-based categorical services –> turf –>cross-generational competition
  • Disciplinary specific education organized by age
    • Inadequate preparation of professionals
  • Separation of individual/structural causes of problems
    • Practice/policy split
  • Potential misunderstanding: not arguing against all age-based services
  • Need for longitudinal research across life course
multigenerational transmission
Multigenerational Transmission
  • Health behaviors, beliefs and values transmitted by families & communities across the life course
    • Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, depression, trauma, behavioral problems
    • Weathering toward poorer health in later life
multigenerational transmission22
Multigenerational Transmission
  • Risks for chronic conditions begin in childhood  structural factors (SES, education, race) across life course  health & economic disparities
  • Regardless of age, chronic disability increases the risk of poverty throughout the life course
multigenerational transmission23
Multigenerational transmission
  • Cross-generational influences on familial care practices, utilization of services & helping behaviors
  • Early childhood exchanges affect social support to aging parents
    • Positive interactions  transmission of strengths/ resiliency
    • Impact of neglect, abuse, conflict  negative caregiving patterns across multiple generations
structured inequities across the life course
Structured Inequities across the Life Course
  • Life course rather than age-based approach
    • Multigen interdependence across the life course
    • Common life course issues
  • Interplay between generational/cohort influences & economic & health disparities
  • Discrimination by age, race, gender, sexual orientation, SES & functional ability  inequities & structurally determined cumulative disadvantage across the life course, which are intensified in old age
older adults as resources
Older Adults as Resources
  • Resiliency and empowerment
  • Strategies to enhance generational interdependence rather than independence
    • Multigen collaboration to address common problems (e.g., life span respite)
  • Redefine cross-generational contract not only currently, but also over time, to include more than two generations
educational implications infusion in foundation
Educational Implications: Infusion in foundation
  • Infusion of multigen content into 1st year MSW foundation courses
  • Pre and post tests of importance & extent to which students are competent in multigen practice
  • More interest in multigen than aging-related preparation & practice
infusion common multigen learning objectives
Infusion: Common Multigen Learning Objectives
  • Understand complexity and reciprocity of multicultural, multigen dynamics across different populations, substantive areas & families and communities
  • Develop ability to bring a multigen, multicultural lens to their assessment of strengths of individuals, families & communities
  • Recognize how strengths & and challenges may be transmitted across generations
educational implications concentration
Educational Implications: Concentration
  • Advanced Multigen Studies: HBSE, Practice, Policy & Social Justice, & Practicum
  • Functional ability rather than age as basis for services
  • Common issues across the life course (caregiving, loss & grief, and trauma)
  • Inequities across the life course
  • Build on elders’ strengths to meet needs of younger & middle generations
educational implications multigen policy
Educational Implications: Multigen Policy
  • Examine multigen impacts of Social Security, Medicaid, Family & Medical Leave, National Family CG Support Program, TANF
  • Policies to address common needs across generations & reduce intergenerational competition (lifespan respite)
educational implications multigen policy30
Educational Implications: Multigen Policy
  • Functional ability, not age based
  • Generational interdependence
  • Address how policies may discourage multigen ties
  • Coalition-building
    • Generations United
implications for research
Implications for Research
  • Obesity & diabetes in Native Americans across the life course
  • The “invisible” middle generation
  • Cross-generational caregiving for GLBT
  • Intervention with families in transitional housing
  • Multigen analysis of state agencies
  • Effect of life events and social position (ageism, racism, sexism) on generation, cohort, intergen & multigen interactions
  • Multigen transmission and inequities across the life course
  • Strengths of elders, multigen ties
  • Multigen practice & policy interventions -> well being
next steps
Next steps
  • Further development of conceptual model
  • Infusion of multigen content into other advanced concentrations (health, mental health, substance abuse)
  • Your critique