RE: SOCW6210 W7 Assignment

Assignment: Models of Grieving The death of a loved one is a significant event that everyone experiences. An individual’s social environment, including societal and familial cultural factors, may influence how an individual approaches death or grieves the loss of someone else who dies. You can anticipate addressing grief in your social work practice and, therefore, should develop an understanding of the grieving process. Two models of grieving —the Kubler-Ross and Westburg models—identify stages through which an individual progresses in response to the death of a loved one. Understanding the various ways individuals cope with grief helps you to anticipate their responses and to assist them in managing their grief. Select one model of grieving —the Kubler-Ross or Westburg model—to address in this assignment. Addressing the needs of grieving family members can diminish your personal emotional, mental, and physical resources. In addition to developing strategies to assist grieving individuals in crisis, you must develop strategies that support self-care. In this Assignment, you apply a grieving model to work with families in a hospice environment and suggest strategies for self-care. Submit a 2- to 4-page paper in which you: Please include Subheadings to ensure all information is covered> Explain how you, as a social worker, might apply the grieving model you selected to your work with families in a hospice environment.Identify components of the grieving model that you think might be difficult to apply to your social work practice. Explain why you anticipate these challenges.Identify strategies you might use for your own self care as a social worker dealing with grief counseling. Explain why these strategies might be effective. Support your Assignment with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references. You must also have 2 peer reviewed references including references provided Reference Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. Chapter 15, “Psychological Aspects of Later Adulthood” (pp. 685-714)


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Sandra Lombardino is 69 years old. Except for being overweight and having arthritis, she is
in fairly good health. She is personable, well groomed, kind, and articulate. She retired two
years ago from her job as an elementary school teacher; she was well liked by students and
her fellow teachers in her 33 years of teaching. She raised four children, all of whom have
started careers and families of their own.
Mrs. Lombardino would like to use her retirement years to travel and do volunteer work.
She has worked hard for many years and has looked forward to enjoying her retirement.
She is increasingly frustrated because her husband’s demands and offensive behavior are
destroying her retirement dreams. Her husband, Benedito, has a number of health-care
needs. Benedito used to be a carpenter and at one time was a good athlete. But he has!/4/2@0:0
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been a heavy drinker for more than 40 years. When drunk, he has been physically and
verbally abusive to his wife and to his children. His children left home to escape from him
as soon as they were financially able to do so. The children love their mother but despise
their father.
In many ways, Sandra Lombardino has been a martyr. She took a marriage vow to stay
married for better or worse until death. She has fulfilled that vow, despite the urging of her
friends and relatives to seek a divorce. Several years ago, Benedito was diagnosed with
cirrhosis of the liver and had to stop working. He now receives a monthly disability check.
Despite his illness, Benedito has continued to drink heavily and has developed high blood
pressure and diabetes. He is grossly overweight and is often incontinent. The drinking and
illnesses have caused brain deterioration; he now has difficulty walking, talking, and
grooming himself, and he frequently hallucinates. His behavior has resulted in a loss of
friends. Benedito has been pressured into attending a number of alcoholism treatment
programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous, but he has always returned to drinking.
Sandra Lombardino is in a quandary about what she should do. She is angry that she has
to spend most of her waking hours caring for someone who is obnoxious and verbally
abusive. She resents not being able to travel and to leave home to do volunteer work.
Sometimes she wishes her husband would die so that she could get on with her life. At
other times, she feels guilty about wishing he would die.
She has contemplated getting a divorce, but such a process would mean her husband
would get half of the property that she has worked so many years to acquire. She has also
considered placing Benedito in a nursing home, but she feels an obligation to care for him
herself and realizes that the expenses of a nursing home would deplete her life savings.
Mrs. Lombardino feels that the cruelest injustice would be for her to die before her
husband dies, so that she would be robbed of her chances to achieve her retirement
A Perspective
People need to make a number of psychological adjustments at all ages for their lives to be
meaningful and fulfilling. Later adulthood is no exception.
Learning Objectives
This chapter will help prepare students to:!/4/2@0:0
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EP 2.1.7a, 2.1.7b
LO 15-1 Describe the developmental tasks of later adulthood
LO 15-2 Understand theoretical concepts about developmental tasks in later adulthood
LO 15-3 Summarize theories of successful aging
LO 15-4 Understand the impact of key life events on older people
LO 15-5 Understand guidelines for positive psychological preparations for later
LO 15-6 Summarize material on grief management and death education!/4/2@0:0
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LO 15-1 Describe the Developmental Tasks of Later
Developmental Tasks of Later Adulthood
Most of the developmental tasks that older people encounter are psychological in nature.
We will discuss a number of these tasks, using a couple, Douglas and Norma Polzer, as an
Retirement and lower income. In 1999, Douglas Polzer retired from his job as a road
construction foreman in Dubuque, Iowa. Two years earlier, his wife, Norma, had
retired from the post office. Retirement brought a number of changes to their lives. For
several months after retiring, Douglas had difficulty finding things to do with his time.
His work had been the center of his life. He seldom saw his former coworkers, and he
had practically no hobbies or interests. When he was working, he always had stories to
tell about unusual situations that happened. Now he no longer had much to talk about.
Another problem for the Polzers was that they now had a lower standard of living.
Their main sources of income were Social Security benefits and Norma’s federal
Living with one’s spouse in retirement. Prior to retiring, Norma and Douglas did not
see each other very much. Both worked during the week, and Norma worked on
Saturdays. Each tended to socialize with his or her coworkers. Norma and Douglas
tended to annoy each other if they were together a lot.
After Douglas retired, both were generally at home. Since Norma had always done
most of the domestic tasks, she kept busy. Finding things to do was not very difficult for
For the first few months after Douglas retired, he followed Norma around the house
telling her how she should do her work. That didn’t go over very well. They got on each
other’s nerves and had a number of arguments. As time passed, Douglas became more
interested in fishing, taking walks, and getting together with his retired friends.
Gradually, with Douglas being gone more, the arguments faded.
Affiliating with individuals of one’s own age group or with associations for older
people. The Polzers joined the Senior Citizens Leisure Club in Dubuque. Norma
participated more frequently than Douglas did. The club has a variety of activities:!/4/2@0:0
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luncheons, speakers, bus tours, painting and craft sessions, bowling, and golf. The club
also has a small library.
Maintaining interest in friends and family ties. Norma and Douglas formed a number
of new friendships with people they met in the club. Through conversing with such
friends, Norma and Douglas were able to gain new perspectives on the adjustments
they had to make.
Most of the Polzers’ friends, prior to retiring, were coworkers. After retirement, they
gradually saw less and less of these friends, because their interests were growing in
different directions. These former friends still talked a great deal about what was
happening at work, and both Norma and Douglas now found such conversations
The Polzers usually got together on Sunday with their son, Kirk, and his family, who
lived in Dubuque. Their daughter, Devi, had left home at age 17 to marry. After she had
three children, she obtained a divorce and was on public assistance for four years until
she remarried. She moved to California and had two more children. The Polzers seldom
saw her, but their relationship with her had improved since her adolescent years. Doug
and Norma wished they could see Devi and her children more.
Continuing social and civic responsibilities. Douglas serves as a volunteer night
watchman for the county fair that is held for four days during the summer. After they
retired, Doug and Norma became more active in attending their church and
participating in church activities; Doug became a church elder, and Norma became
more active in the ladies’ aid society.
Coping with illness and the loss of a spouse and/ or friends. After four years of
retirement, life was going fairly smoothly for the Polzers. Then, in 2003, Doug had a
stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Doug’s and Norma’s lives changed radically.
Douglas almost never went outside the house. He became irritable, incontinent, and in
need of constant attention. Visiting nurse services provided some help, and so did!/4/2@0:0
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the Polzers’ son and daughter-in-law. But the major burden was Norma’s. She was
forced to drastically reduce her church and club activities. For the next two years, she
spent most of her time caring for Douglas. He never said “Thank you,” and he verbally
abused her. At times, Norma wished he would die. Then, in 2005, he did.
Norma’s world again changed. For the first time in many years, she was living alone.
Douglas’s death was very hard for her. She felt guilty because she had wished he would
die. Initially, she was lonely. But as the months passed, she gradually started putting her
life back together. She became active again in the church and in the seniors’ leisure
club. Sharing her grief with other club members helped. As the years passed, more of
her friends died, and Norma found herself attending more funerals.
Finding satisfactory living arrangements at the different stages of later adulthood.
After Douglas died, Norma became depressed and had less energy. Kirk helped, but he
had his own family, career, and home to care for. Norma realized she was slowing
down physically. After two years, Kirk began to encourage her to sell the house and
move into an apartment complex that was especially built for older people. Norma
resisted for more than a year. Then, in 2008, Norma slipped on the stairs and broke her
leg. She had to crawl to the telephone. Kirk came and took her to the emergency room,
where her leg was put in a cast. When she got out of the hospital, Kirk took her to his
home. Norma’s house was put up for sale.
Having to leave her house was almost as great a loss as when Douglas died. She spent
two months with Kirk’s family, but she did not get along with Kirk’s wife. Each had
different ways of doing things and different ideas on how children should be raised.
When relationships became severely strained, Norma moved to an apartment for older
people. The move meant that many cherished possessions had to be discarded. Norma
began to realize that if her mental or physical condition deteriorated further, her next
move would be to a nursing home; at times she thought she would rather die than enter
a nursing home. The move also meant that Norma had to establish new relationships.
Fortunately, the move went more smoothly than Norma had hoped, and she was
warmly welcomed by the staff and the residents.
Adjusting to changing physical strength and health and overcoming bodily
preoccupation. For many years, Norma had struggled to get used to gray hair, wrinkles,
and all the other physical changes of aging. Her arthritis often caused swelling and pain
in her joints, and she no longer had as much energy and stamina as in the past.
Reappraising personal values, self-concept, and personal worth in light of new life
events. A major adaptation task of older people is to conduct an evaluative life review.
During this review, they reflect on their failures and accomplishments, their
disappointments and satisfactions, and hopefully come to a reasonably positive view of!/4/2@0:0
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their life’s worth. The failure to arrive at a positive view can result in a case of overt
After Norma became settled in her apartment, she again had a lot of free time. She
was now 76 years old, and her health was declining. She spent a lot of time thinking
about the past. She had enjoyed the early years of retirement, but she acknowledged
that the five years since Douglas’s first stroke had been rocky.
10. Accepting the prospect of death. It is now 2014, and Norma has been living in her
apartment for six years. Her arthritis is worse, and she has cataracts, but her last six
years have been fairly uneventful. Kirk and his family visit almost every Sunday, and
she has made a number of friends at her apartment complex. She has attended many
funerals, and still occasionally mourns the death of Douglas, especially on holidays and
on their wedding anniversary. Norma feels her life has been fairly full and meaningful.
These assessments have also led her to think about her eventual death. She worries
about the pain she may experience and is fearful about slowly deteriorating. To avoid
being kept alive after her mental capacities have deteriorated, she has signed a living
will, which declares that if she becomes unconscious for a prolonged period of time, she
does not want heroic measures used to keep her alive. She is fully aware and accepting
of the fact that she will die in the not-too-distant future. Since her life has been full and
positive, she is prepared!/4/2@0:0
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for death. Her religion asserts there is a life after death; she is uncertain whether an
afterlife exists, but if it does, she is hoping to be reunited with Douglas and to see many
of her friends who have died.
LO 15-2 Understand Theoretical Concepts About
Developmental Tasks in Later Adulthood
Theoretical Concepts About Developmental Tasks in Later
In this section, we will examine various theoretical concepts relating to the developmental
tasks of later adulthood.
Integrity Versus Despair
The final stage of life, according to Erikson (1963), involves the psychological crisis of
integrity versus despair. The attainment of integrity comes only after considerable
reflection about the meaning of one’s life. Integrity refers to an ability to accept the facts of
one’s life and to face death without great fear. Older people who have achieved a sense of
integrity view their past in an existential light. They have feelings of having achieved
respected positions during their lifetimes and have inner senses of completion. They accept
all of the events that have happened to them, without trying to deny some unpleasant facts
or to overemphasize others. Integrity involves an integration of one’s past history with one’s
present circumstances, and a feeling of being content with the outcome. In order to
experience integrity, older people must incorporate lifelong sequences of failures, conflicts,
and disappointments into their self-images. This process is made more difficult by the fact
that the role of older people is devalued in our society. There are a lot of negative attitudes
expressed in our society that (often erroneously) suggest older people are incompetent,
dependent, and old-fashioned. The death of close friends and relatives and the gradual
deterioration of physical health make it additionally difficult for older people to achieve
The opposite pole of integrity is despair. Despair is characterized by a feeling of regret
about one’s past and includes a continuously nagging desire to have done things differently.
Despair makes an attitude of calm acceptance of death impossible, as those who despair
view their lives as incomplete and unfulfilled. Either they seek death as a way of ending a!/4/2@0:0
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miserable existence, or they desperately fear death because it makes any hope of
compensating for past failures impossible. Some older people who despair commit suicide.
Men, particularly older men, are more apt to commit suicide than are women (Papalia &
Feldman, 2012). The highest rate of suicide is found not among male adolescents or male
young adults, but among older men (Papalia et al., 2012). One of the reasons the suicide rate
among older men is so high is that men are more apt than women to view their chosen
career as providing the primary source of meaning in life; when men with this perspective
retire, they are more apt to despair and to select suicide as a way to end their misery.
Three Key Psychological Adjustments
Peck (1968) suggests that three primary psychological adjustments must be made in order to
make later adulthood meaningful and gratifying. The first adjustment involves shifting from
a work-role preoccupation to self-differentiation. Because retirement is a crucial shift in
one’s life, a new role must be acquired. The older person has to adjust to the fact that she or
he will no longer go to work and needs to find a new identity and new interests. People who
are in the process of making this adjustment must spend time assessing their personal
worth. (A woman whose major work has been being a wife and a mother faces this
adjustment when her children leave home or her husband dies.) A crucial question to
resolve at this point is: “Am I a worthwhile person insofar as I can do a full-time job or can I
be worthwhile in other different ways … ?” (Peck, 1968, p. 90). In making this adjustment,
people need to recognize that they are richer and more diverse than the sum of their tasks
at work.
A second adjustment involves shifting from body preoccupation to body transcendence.
Health problems increase for older people, and energy levels decrease. One’s physical
appearance also shows!/4/2@0:0
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signs of aging, such as graying and thinning of hair and increasing wrinkles. Many older
people become preoccupied with their state of health and their appearance. Others,
however, transcend these concerns and are able to enjoy life despite declining health. Those
who accomplish this transcendence have generally learned to define c …
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