Students Response: Students Volunteering - Paper Example

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University of Richmond
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Respond to Erin Bellard

In my opinion, the students experience with the aging population while volunteering at a local hospice, working as an assistant for two different social workers when she was completing her field practicum and her current job where she looks after elderly priests have allowed her to understand the fears of aging people.

The acknowledgment of death by the elderly persons of usually leads them to experience feelings of grief such as sadness, anger, and panic (Mclnnis-Dittrich, 2014). The sense of grief is mainly caused by factors like the lack of knowledge of what happens after one dies and the awareness that they may not be able to relate to their loved ones or do the things they used to love. It is true that at this time most of the elderly persons often seek out spiritual guidance from religious leaders in an attempt to ensure that they are ready to transition into the next phase of life. Erik Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development states that this act allows them to have a sense of integrity (Bengtson et al., 2009) During this time social workers emotional and psychological support allow their aging patients to be more comfortable by positively viewing death.

By employing interventional methods such as good health habits, emotional and chronic illness management, promotion of good social skills, good cognitive skills, and engagement in leisure skills would help the patients face out their fears of death (Bengtson et al., 2009). This is because such interventional methods would make the clients more active and optimistic by diverting their attention from thinking about death. Family members support is also paramount in helping aging patients since their presence make them feel loved and appreciated.


Bengtson, V. L., Gans, D., Putney, N. M., & Silverstein, M. (2009). Theories about age andaging. Handbook of theories of aging, 2, 3-23.McInnis-Dittrich, K. (2014). Social work with Older Adults. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Response to Jessie ChismIt is true that having dementia is one of the common fears that among aging patients. According to McInnis-Dittrich, 2004, dementia is a progressive decrease in the ability of old adults to process and express logical ideas, orient themselves to time, and access recent and past memories. In determining whether a patient is suffering from dementia social workers often utilize assessment tools such as the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE).

The assessment tools allow the care givers to determine the aging patient's ability to tell time, listen and repeat an activity, identify objects, and read and follow given instructions thus enabling them to diagnoses whether the patient is cognitive of their surroundings. People who have dementia often find it hard to recall simple things such as the names of ordinarily used items like spoons, cups, books, and shoe. This usually makes them frustrated and stressful thus making it hard for them to socialize with other people. In helping out older adults suffering from dementia social workers aim to ensure the patients do not isolate themselves by utilizing intervention methods like the Stimulated Presence Therapy (SPT) and creation of a routine memory boosting program (Peak & Cheston, 2002). These methods often aid in ensuring that the client's level of anxiousness reduces thus enabling them to interact with people around them easily.

Before a social worker determines the method of intervention, they will use in making their patient comfortable. It is paramount for them to determine the primary cause of their problem and for how long they have been in that state. This knowledge would enable them to identify the most effective approach easily.


McInnis-Dittrich, K. (2014). Conducting a Biopsychosocial Assessment. In Social work witholder adults: A biopsychosocial approach to assessment and intervention (4th ed., pp. 82-109). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Peak, J., & Cheston, R. (2002, February 06). Using simulated presence therapy with people withdementia. Retrieved August 30, 2017, from

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