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Social Work Practice with Older Adults
A Resilience-Enhancing Guide
Roberta R. Greene, Nicole M. Dubus, Michael A. Wright, Taunya S. Cole, Harriet L. Cohen, Nancy A. Greene
ISBN: 978-0-87101-562-4. 2021. Item # 5624. 178 pages.
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The resilience-enhancing stress model (RESM) is an integrated human behavior framework that can be used to guide social workers in various contexts and fields of practice. Addressing the need to tap into resilience among older adults, this text brings to light and applies RESM terms, assumptions, and practice strategies suitable for geriatric social work.

Divided into three sections, the authors first guide the reader through the research and theoretical background of RESM, using research of older adults who survived Jim Crow oppression in the U.S. South. Research findings, ethics, and policy issues related to risk and resilience theory associated with older adults are also addressed.

In Part 2, the reader is introduced to the RESM narrative interview style used in engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation at multisystem levels. Methods for constructing more positive client narratives are provided, and how the RESM interview can support resilient social functioning among marginalized populations. Building on the foundation of the narrative interview, RESM is presented as a means of engaging clients and strengthening the client–social worker relationship.

Finally, in Part 3, the authors present assessment of and intervention in the individual–family–community configuration, including addressing problems of daily living faced by older adults, approaching challenges from a family system perspective, and empowering communities to perform the functions that help individuals manage stressors and develop resilience.

Using their decades of experience, the authors provide real-world examples of integrating RESM into practice with older adults, their families, and their communities. Through case studies and narrative interview examples, the authors demonstrate how RESM augments traditional practice options, with special attention to person-in-environment. They show how social workers can specifically identify and build on the strength and resiliency of older adults.

Each chapter features an “RESM Toolbox” that lays out how theory translates to practice, poses discussion questions, and provides ideas about how to apply RESM. RESM Toolboxes provide exercises that promote active listening and the interpretation of a client’s story. When taken together with the many practice examples, practitioners obtain a foundation in geriatric social work practice.
Introduction: Shifting Perspectives in Gerontology

Part 1: Research and Theoretical Background of the Resilience-Enhancing Stress Model

Chapter 1: Narrative Gerontology: Research-Informed Practice
Chapter 2: A Resilience-Enhancing Stress Model Multitheoretical Base

Part 2: Introduction to the Resilience-Enhancing Stress Model’s Narrative Interview

Chapter 3: Resilience-Enhancing Stress Model Interview Skills: Engaging the Client in Self-Understanding
Chapter 4: The Resilience-Enhancing Stress Model Narrative Interview: Facilitating Role Transitions across the Life Course
Chapter 5: The Narrative Interview: Human Rights, Diversity, and Older Adults

Part 3: Assessment of and Intervention in the Individual–Family–Community Configuration

Chapter 6: Biopsychosocial and Spiritual Processes: Cocreating and Reconstructing Client Narratives
Chapter 7: Family-Focused Social Work Practice: Cocreating and Reconstructing a Family Narrative
Chapter 8: Examining Resilience in an Intergenerational Refugee Family
Chapter 9: Macro Practice in Resilience-Enhancing Stress Model Geriatric Social Work

About the Authors
Harriet L. Cohen, PhD, is a retired university professor of social work who taught at Texas Christian University School of Social Work, including courses in diversity and human behavior. She now serves as a clinical geriatric practitioner at the Jewish Family Service of Dallas, providing grief and loss counseling. She also is a researcher and an activist in the LGBTQ community.

Taunya S. Cole, BS, is a registered nurse, author, and writer. Currently, she resides in Reno, Nevada, and her experience as a nurse stretches across 26 years of practice in critical care, long-term care, and pediatric home care, which is her current area. With a passion for health literacy, preventive health, and holistic health, she took her career to another level in January 2018 when she founded Rewrite Health to help people gain optimum health.

Nicole M. Dubus, PhD, is an assistant professor of social work at Norfolk State University in Virginia. She was an associate professor in social work at San José State University and a licensed clinical social worker with almost 30 years of experience. She has worked in private social service agencies, health and behavioral centers and hospitals, as well as county and state agencies. Her research has focused on the health and behavioral health needs of refugees and forced migrants and on culturally effective practice for these populations. She was a Fulbright Specialist assisting Iceland’s resettlement of Syrian refugee families.

Nancy A. Greene, DSW, MA, is an adjunct professor of social work at Johnson C. Smith University School of Social Work. She teaches courses in human behavior and gerontology. In addition, she has taught online classes in social work for Tulane University and Grand Canyon University. She is a licensed practitioner who has worked for home health care and hospice agencies. She currently provides international telehealth services.

Roberta R. Greene, PhD, MSW, professor emerita, was the Louis and Ann Wolens Centennial Chair in Gerontology and Social Welfare at the University of Texas at Austin; she also was dean at Indiana University School of social Work. She has a wide range of clinical, policy, administrative, and research practice experience. She is an NASW Social Work Pioneer, known for her advocacy work on nursing home reform. She was the 2015 recipient of the Knee/Whittman Outstanding Achievement Award, which recognizes those who have made a significant impact on national health, public policy, or professional standards. She has served on the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Educational Policy. A fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, she has conducted significant research on resilience among Holocaust survivors. A prolific author, she has written numerous books, six of which are on resilience. Others include the Handbook of Human Behavior and the Social Environment: A Practice-Based Approach (Aldine Transaction Press, 2017), Caregiving and Care Sharing: A Life Course Perspective (NASW Press, 2014), and Human Behavior Theory and Social Work Practice with Marginalized Oppressed Populations (Routledge, 2019).

Michael A. Wright, PhD, LAPSW, holds a doctorate in social work from the University of South Carolina with a specialty in technology. He is a licensed advanced practice social worker and former university professor with almost 20 years of experience and specializations in human behavior and macro practice. He continues to teach training events both online and in person.
Earn 4.5 CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.