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SWSP3913 Ageing and Aged Services

Level: Bachelor
Duration: One Trimester 
Credit Points: Six
Prerequisites: SWSP1003
Mode(s) of delivery: On-Campus (Sydney)
Core/elective: Elective

Unit Description

This unit introduces students to some of the most challenging issues students are likely to encounter in the field of aged care.

Unit Workload

The unit includes 12 session of 3 hours of class time on campus. This time will be used for interactions with students to facilitate discussion of unit materials and assessments, presentations and group activities. Course material will be available in the online class space.

In addition to the 36 hours of class time, students are expected to engage in 2 hours of private study per hour of class time.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the policy trajectory of aged care in Australia.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of some of the tensions between fiscal conservative, market liberalist, consumer choice,  critical genrontological, humanist, and human rights orientations as they play out in Australian aged care.
  3. Articulate key positions in the policy debates around rationing in aged care.
  4. Demonstrate a good understanding of the socio-political context and the demographics of ageing.
  5. Describe and critically reflect on key issues (e.g. poverty, discrimination, abuse, isolation and illness, euthanasia, transition from their home, palliative care, dying with dignity, advance care planning, euthanasia)  faced by older people.
  6. Awareness of key challenges that face social workers in an aged care context.

Learning and Teaching Approach

  1. Learning is an active process – which involves both questioning and challenging.
  2. Learning is a shared process – where others’ thoughts and ideas are presented, critically analysed, exchanged and respected.
  3. Learning is a collaborative and empowering process for self and others.
  4. Learning is thoughtful and reflective.
  5. Learning requires integration with prior knowledge and other arenas of knowledge development in the program.
  6. Preparation for lectures and seminars and reading the recommended texts and references is essential.

The content of this unit has been designed to maximise both online and face-to-face learning to integrate the subject matter.

Students are expected to:

  • Complete all activities
  • Complete readings
  • Complete all assessments
  • Attend all classes

It is also recommended that students:

  • Keep a record of new terminology that is introduced in this unit
  • Keep a copy of assessments and other correspondence
  • Make notes on unit content and readings

There will be learning activities linked to all lecture materials which are designed to encourage students to deliberate and reflect and to provide opportunities for further learning. The activities are designed to help students think through and practise the specific skills and general concepts presented in this unit as well as provide valuable learning opportunities.


Recommended Text

  • O’Laughlin, K., Browning, C., & Kending, H. (Eds.), (2017). Ageing in Australia: Challenges and opportunities. New York NY: Springer.

Recommended Readings

  • Students can access these through their class space.


  • Australian Social Work
  • ADVANCES: Journal of Social Work and Welfare Education
  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Critical Social Work
  • Journal of Social Work Education (USA)
  • Journal of Social Work (UK)

Academic Misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for full details.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the trimester. For a list of required textbooks for the upcoming trimester, please click here.