SWSP6303 Ageing and Aged Services

Level: Master
Credit Points: Six
Prerequisites: None
Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus (Sydney)
Core/elective: Elective

Unit Description

This elective explores the issue of ageing and aged care and examines social work practice issues with this diverse population. Exploring life course context on ageing and then focusing on the end of life spectrum, this unit tackles difficult issues in order to understand the diversity and complexity of working with the aged population – from individual to community work and networking to policy and research. Social issues of invisibility, marginalisation, abuse, neglect, loss and grief will be addressed. The elderly contribution to unpaid productivity of caring and volunteerism as well as the wisdom and maturity that comes with old age will underpin much of this material. In highlighting key research, theory and policy relevant to working with older people key practice strategies available to address their health, welfare, physical and material wellbeing will be examined for their usefulness and effectiveness. How to have a meaningful old age will also be addressed.

Unit Workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week. This includes timetabled class time and private study time.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate understandings of the nature, scope, and impact of ageing on individuals, families, communities and society.
  2. Articulate how ageing is constructed socially, politically, economically and culturally.
  3. Articulate the many pathways to ageing and the complexities of working with the aged population.
  4. Understand the health and well-being of the aged and the provision of services from the service users', their carers' and families', social workers', and consumer advocates’ perspectives.
  5. Evaluate the political economy of ageing and its impact on society and the provision of services.
  6. Analyse the social issues associated with ageing with a social justice and human rights perspective and social workers' responses.
  7. Understand the role and responsibilities of the Government and NGOs in relation to service provision for the aged population.

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.

Assessment Summary



Word Count

Week Assessed

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Literature Review


500-750 words


1, 2, 3, 4



100 words


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7





1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Policy/ Research Report


3,000 words


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


Recommended Text

  • Hughes, M., & Heycox, K. (2010). Older people, ageing and social work: Knowledge for practice. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin. 

Recommended Readings

  • Dawbin, D., & Rogers, A. (2006). Aged care in Australia: A guide for aged care workers. Meadowbank, Australia: TAFE NSW, Community Services, Health, Tourism and Recreation Curriculum Centre.
  • Gott, M. (2005). Sexuality and sexual health and ageing. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.
  • Healey, J. (Ed.) (2008). Ageing. Thirroul, Australia: Spinney Press.
  • Healey, J. (Ed.) (2012). Carers: Ageing and disability. Thirroul, Australia: Spinney Press.
  • Hill, R. D. (2006). Positive aging: A guide for mental health practitioners and consumers. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • Johnson, M. L. (Ed.) (2005). The Cambridge handbook of age and ageing. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
  • Malatesta, V. J. (Ed.) (2007). Mental health issues of older women: A comprehensive review for health care professionals. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.
  • Moody, H. R., & Sasser, J. R. (2012). Aging: Concepts and controversies (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Piercy, K. W. (2010). Working with aging families: Therapeutic solutions for caregivers, spouses, and adult children. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • Segal, D. L., Honn Qualls, S., & Smyer, M. A. (2011). Aging and mental health (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.


  • 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 http://currentstudents.acap.edu.au/assets/Managing-My-Course/A-Z-Policies/Academic-Misconduct-Policy.pdf for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


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.