BPD Update Online, Spring 2004
The Pedagogy Interview (cont)
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Mit Joyner

Mit Joyner

Pedagogy: In the Back Page of this issue you write movingly about your mother and your decision to transfer her to an independent living facility. How's she doing now?

Joyner: Thanks for asking. She's doing very well, and she will celebrate her 80th birthday in July. She's driving now, and knows she doesn't have to move again. My experience is a lot like Laura Robbins' story: I suddenly found myself in the role of caretaker, a new and active member of the Sandwich Generation Society. I would teach about these things in the classroom, but like many social work educators I never really thought it through until it happened to me. I certainly have a more complex understanding of the role now!

My mom was luckier than most because she had a social work advocate who knew some of the options available to her. Family caregivers are not sophisticated enough to ask for or demand alternatives. Too many have to rely on nurse practitioners for discharge planning, and nurses don't know how to navigate systems as well as social workers do.

Pedagogy: What is your vision for social work today?

Joyner: What I'm thinking about these days as I prepare for my Federico lecture next fall has to do with marketing ourselves in more positive way. We're known in the public and press for lots of negative things, but we need to advertise that we assist people when in need. We need to take a page from nurses: for example, we should put together and market ads like nurses do, to improve visibility, let people know that every person who lives will need a social worker. We need to remind the middle socio-economic class people that they will need social workers, for issues around aging and other life events. This is a group that is unused to asking for help: they've never had to ask for anything, and often refuse to ask for help now even when needed. Some older adults never had to access services, and have no idea where to go. That's where social work comes in to the picture.

Pedagogy: Last words?

I think everybody should keep a copy of this issue of Pedagogy on their bookshelf. I'm hoping it and the associated web pages become another resource for educators and students. My goal in our work on this issue is that it will be useful to classroom, for faculty, and finally, I hope it's valuable personally for folks who are themselves involved in the process of caring for aging relatives and friends. Last words? Take care of yourself, get lots of physical exercise, eat well, and have a healthy aging experience!

Information on BSW GeroRich Projects is on the next page...

Spiral, Horizontal Line Spinning

BPD Update Online, Volume 26, No. 2, Spring 2004

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