What is it like to grow older while living in a society that privileges youth? Age is the one minority status all people will eventually face if they live long enough. Because of the array of populations they serve, social workers must understand experiences at different life stages. For this Assignment, you will interview an older adult about their current experiences of aging.

Just as it is important not to make assumptions based on age, social workers also need to avoid making assumptions about how individuals identify with other identity characteristics. In this Assignment, and throughout the course, you may notice the singular “they” being used as a gender-neutral pronoun. Because LGBT aging is a focus of policy and practice (National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, 2016), a culturally competent social worker will not assume a client’s gender identity and will acknowledge the possibility of non-binary (she/he) genders. Consider this idea of cultural competence as you approach your interview.National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. (2016). Retrieved from

To prepare, arrange a conversation with someone 65 or older. Consider the following ideas:

  • What it is like to be their age
  • What challenges they might experience
  • What strengths they might possess

Develop a list of specific questions you might ask to uncover these broader ideas for the Assignment. After talking with the individual, reflect on the experience.

The Assignment

Submit a 2- to 3-page paper in which you do the following:

  • Briefly describe what you learned in the interview.
  • Reflect on any beliefs, biases, and/or stereotypes you held and how they were supported or contradicted.
  • Explain how diverse identity characteristics such as race/ethnicity, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and/or ability might affect the experience of a person of a similar age.
  • Describe a social worker’s role when working with older adults.
  • Apply concepts and material from this week’s resources to your paper.
    • Support your application of this week’s resources using APA citations and a reference page.

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Segal, E. A., Gerdes, K. E., & Steiner, S. (2019). An introduction to the profession of social work: Becoming a change agent (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

  • Chapter 8, “Gerontology: Working with People Who Are Older”
  • Chapter 9, “Health Care Services”

Holzaepfel, K. (2014). The geriatric social worker Working as part of an interdisciplinary health care team. Social Work Today, 14(5), 34. Retrieved from….

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Required Media

Walden University, LLC. (Producer). (2016j). Working with aging clients: With Dr. Donna McElveen [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 2:05 minutes.