Dr. Catheleen Jordan is Professor and 2017 NASW Social Work Pioneer. She is past holder of the Cheryl Milkes Moore Professorship in Mental Health at The University of Texas at Arlington, School of Social Work where she has taught since 1985. She was awarded the 2013 Life Time Achievement Award from the National Association of Social Workers-Texas where she was Texas State President from 2007-2009. Dr. Jordan’s area of teaching and research are family assessment and treatment. She has been active in the mental health practice community; her clinical and research interests range from youth violence to elder issues. Dr. Jordan previously directed the Community Service Clinic and the PhD Program at the School of Social Work. Before going into academia full time, Dr. Jordan worked with Child Protective Services in Texas and with Court Appointed Special Advocates in California where she received her PhD at the University of California-Berkeley in 1986.
Technology’s Promise to Elders
Dr. Peter Lehmann is a professor at the University of Texas in Arlington who specializes in research, practice, and teaching in two areas. Dr. Lehmann’s summary of his work:
Domestic violence: I am interested in integrating a strengths-based approach to offender populations. My research has a focus on building solutions with men charged with domestic violence.
Solution-focused brief therapy: I am interested in integrating solution-focused brief therapy with self-determination theory. There are a number of overlaps between the two, particulary in regard to interventions. SFBT is considered a bottoms up in that it is atheoretical model of practice while SDT is top down, based on a theoretical overview. Together, both have the potential to widen the practice field.
Associate professor Craig Nagoshi received his Ph.D. in Human Variability Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1984. His recent research interests have focused on the nature of gender identity and how this relates to the bases of gender-based prejudice, which can act to define and disempower women, in general, and also lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender/transsexual individuals. He also continues his longstanding interest in the psychological and social bases of alcohol and other drug use and abuse. Another continuing line of research has focused on religiosity/spirituality’s relationships with psychological and social functioning. Dr. Nagoshi arrives at the Department of Psychology after 24 years as an assistant and associate professor in the Social Psychology Program in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University. Prior to this, he worked two years as a staff fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse Addiction Research Center in Baltimore, where he researched the psychological characteristics of illegal drug users and was involved in pharmacological studies of intravenous cocaine responses. His postdoctoral training at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado in Boulder involved researching the genetic/environmental bases of responses to alcohol, as well as the genetic/environmental bases of cognitive abilities.
David Cory, LCSW, has an MSSW from the University of Texas at Arlington and a bachelor degree in Social Welfare from Texas Tech University. He served as a Caseworker, Supervisor, Program Director and Community Initiative Specialist during 29 years with the Child Protective Services program in Texas. His honors include Texas Council of Child Welfare Boards’ Staff Person of the Year, and Outstanding Professional Award by the Texas Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, and 2010 Social Worker of the Year by the Texas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. He has been a classroom and field instructor of social work at Hardin-Simmons and Abilene Christian Universities. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, he currently has a small private counseling practice serving a primarily elder population in their own homes.
INTRODUCTION: Advances in medical science have resulted in an increasing longevity among elders (65+ years old). Though healthier than previous generations, these elders experience barriers to their wellbeing such as chronic illness and isolation. We look at this population from an ecological system’s perspective with the expectation that rapidly advancing technology might be utilized to improve elders’ satisfaction with life. We will review areas of concern that elders likely experience such as arthritis, heart disease, falls, depression, substance abuse, loss of family and friends who have passed on and so forth, in other words issues in their biopsychosocial system.
OBJECTIVES: Our ultimate objective is to discover and review cutting edge technologies to assess their suitability for improving elders’ biopsychosocial system. Therefore, these three areas with technological impacts will be assessed.
APPROACH/METHODS: In conducting our review, we will use the Cochrane steps for doing an integrative qualitative systematic review. After completing our review, we will synthesize the findings into the three thematic areas of biological, psychological and social systems and report them.
FINDINGS: Expected findings in the three thematic areas may include the following among many others. Biological: Spire (personal health monitor), beds which monitor health rate, and tremor spoons for those having trouble feeding themselves. Psychological: Online games to improve cognitive functioning, online counseling for those with issues such as depression or alcohol/drug abuse and aps for breath training to control anxiety or anger. Social: Smart houses, smart phones, and smart cars to monitor our safety and keep us connected to friends, relatives, and health providers. Accessibility software to enable easy computer use. These also allow for elder independence and staying in their own homes for longer.
CONCLUSION: Finally, we will discuss the implications of these technological innovations in three areas. (1) Practice: therapists and social workers helping elders can by trained to use smart technology to help monitor their patients and to keep in touch between visits. (2) Policy: advocates can work toward policy requirements for using technology to care for seniors, especially elders who must live in assisted living or nursing homes. The current status of such care in Texas is based on the old “medical model” which ignores patients’ rights. (3) Research: Exploring the qualitative studies can give us ideas for helping seniors with technology, followed by the quantitative studies necessary to verify technology’s efficacy.