Analysis of Presbyterian Senior Services and My New RoleHUAN REN NYU Silver Schoolof Social WorkIntroduction toSocial Work Education & Practice in the United States Final Assignment Professor: VirgeLuceDecember 15, 2017 I. IntroductionThis paper ismainly focus on the analysis of the Presbyterian Senior Service(PSS) and thecomparison between China and the United State. Based on the previous visit to thePSS and group presentation, I have a comprehensive understanding of thisagency.
It is an outstanding and typical social work agency in New York, which providesvarious programs and direct services to the elderly and children. We can have abetter understanding of the agency’s structure, mission, purpose, funding, andprograms. Besides, social workers who work with individuals, families, andgroups of people play an important role in PPS agency. They are veryprofessional and helpful. They help grandparents and children to solve and copewith problems they faced. Their role is to provide support andimprove their lives.
In New York, there areapproximately 300,000 children raising by grandparent (New York State KincareCoalition, 2010). Data form U.S. Census Bureau (2015) indicate that there are nearly2.7 million grandparents raising 4.5 million children under age 18 in theUnited States (Renee R.
Ellis Simmons, 2012). As grandparents, theyare sometimes overwhelming when raising grandchild because their economic and physicalcondition. Most of them are lack of a steady stream of income. Grandparents whoare raising their grandchildren have a risk of living below the poverty level.
So, we need to concern about the population of grandparents and theirgrandchildren, and PSS agency is committed to solve this problem. Besides, throughthe analysis of PSS agency, I can prepare for the upcoming placement betternext semester. I realize my new role as a social work intern and thisconversion of role requires me to know more about the function of socialworker.
Being bilingual will give me more opportunities. But at the same time,I will face many challenges such as cultural background and stress of work. Ineed to learn more skills from other social workers. II. AgencyAnalysis 2.1 Theunderstanding of agency context PSS was founded in1962 when a small group of volunteers banded together to help care for oldermembers of their community.
They are pioneers in the field of serving grandparentsraising grandchildren. It is a creative organization and they want to meet thechanging needs of people they serve. As needs have grown and changed, PSS hasgrown and changed to become recognized leaders in the areas of senior servicesand caregiver support. Now the agency operates nine senior centers, two senior andintergenerational residences like the Grandparent Family Apartments, and anextensive network of Family and Kinship Caregiver Support Programs such as Comingof Age. The agency has 70 staffs and many volunteers, serving over 2000Caregiving Families annually. The PSS agencybelieves seniors are an integral part of our community, and we should do all wecan to keep them healthy, engaged and connected.
This is the agency’s missionand purpose. They are passionate about providing high-quality services toenhance the lives of those they care for. The funding and operating budget aremostly from institutional andgovernment funder and many contributors. It maintains the agency’s operationsand many programs and services.2.2 Programs and Services The agency offers many good programs to serve people with the aimof improving the quality of life.
These programs are constantly optimizing overtime and have a good reputation and effectiveness. Seniors can keep healthy byparticipating in the programs such as Nutritious Meals, Chronic Disease Seminars,and Mental Health Screenings. They also hold some activities like Yoga classes,Cooking Classes and Walking Clubs. Moreover, members can stay engaged throughthe programs such as Civic Engagement, Innovative Programming, VolunteerOpportunities, and Trips. In addition, they can be connected through Technology-Learning Opportunities, Arts& Culture or Social Media to help them to beclose with each other.
The agency provides many services for grandchildrenespecially youth and young Adult. It includes the career guidance and strategiesfor job searching, academic support like tutoring, internships and mentorshipsopportunities.(1) The Grandparent FamilyApartmentsWhen we visited thePSS agency, social worker and the staff work there introduced a great programto us named The Grandparent Family Apartments. It opened in 2005, is the residencewhich built specifically for grandparents raising grandchildren. It was thefirst project of its kind in New York. And it is a collaborative project amongPSS, West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH), and NewYork City Housing Authority (NYCHA).
Grandparent Family Apartments provideshousing and supportive services to more than 50 families of elders. Itaddresses the needs of participants in senior center who are raising theirgrandchildren. This program develops support groups for the elders and relevantservices for the children. It shows that PSS recognized a growing need in thecommunity for this special population. It is an opportunity to develop a uniquesupportive residence specifically for these families. It meets the most crucialneeds of housing for these families. The building is designed to meet theurgent need for housing and services of intergenerational families.
According to thewebsite of PSS, the six-story 66470 square foot residence houses fifty two- andThree-bedroom apartments. Attractive gardens and open space in the rear of thebuilding appeal to both the youth and older adults. There is excellent accessto transportation, nearby schools, and numerous medical, community andreligious institution that help to provide a supportive infrastructureessential to a family neighborhood.This project left adeep impression on me. Because a grandmother shared her unique story to us.When she told the difficulties of the past, she was so sad in tears andcovering her face by hands to hide her tears. It is never easy to tell thepainful story.
She raised up two grandchildren and acted like their mother. Shefelt desperate when she could not afford the rent. This project of PPS helpedher at that time and now she often comes here to be a volunteer. The real storyis a very powerful thing. We should pay much attention on these people and tryto help them. The Grandparent Family Apartments has received enthusiasticsupport both locally and nationally for its response to the need for housingand services for this special population.(2) PSS Circle of Care PSS has beenassisting family caregivers since 2003.
This program is called Circle of Care,the emphasis is on creating a relationship with the caregiver and buildingtheir capacity to be better caregivers. The major grant is from NYS Departmentof Health Alzheimer’s Disease Program. PSS Circle of Care has added 15 newstaff to serve families struggling to care for someone with Alzheimer’sdisease. This program is very successful. The key of success is that fieldstaff are available and accessible anywhere – whether it’s located in differentplaces or in the client’s home. Now PSS Circle of Care helps several thousand familiesin all five boroughs in New York City to meet their caregiving challenges. There are 425,000caregivers in New York City helping family members with Alzheimer’s disease andother dementias.
A family caregiver provides unpaid assistance and offeremotional support to elderly loved ones. Caring for a loved one is a rewardingexperience and it isn’t very easy. This is especially true for those caring fora loved one with dementia where chronic stress is associated with poorphysical, psychological and emotional health. Sometimes, the financial problemsdue to caregiving expenses is also a burden.
So, we need thisprogram to make it easier. This program also provides support services thathelp caregivers manage stress, including feeling overwhelmed, depressed,anxious, exhausted or even physical ill. If they need help, Caregiver SupportGroups is available in person, by phone and online. PSS also provides referralsfor temporary respite such as in-home care and adult day services. Besides,Circle of Care offers expert consulting and training on caregiver and relatedissues to companies and organizations. It can encourage people who arestruggling with caregiver responsibilities and to continue their care. So this programcan serve a very wide range of people and is very beneficial to the community.2.
3 Therole of social worker Being a socialworker is often a challenging, yet rewarding career. We might meet differentclients every day and need a very strong heart. We should focus on listeningand give our possible supports to them. We also want to find many relevantresources and activities for them to go through difficult times. We want tomake a difference in the lives of adults, families, and communities. I think weare responsible for helping people who face problems and improve their lives.It’s our value which decides what we are.
Social workers and volunteers grow bybeing effective problem solvers dedicated to build a better community forpeople. I noticed that PSS agency has a good working environment. Socialworkers like them are professional and playing the role of advocate, casemanager, educator, facilitator and organizer. They can have a range of jobfunctions depending on their specific role. Social workprofessionals do not simply provide information.
They also follow up to be surethe needed resources are attained. We become the link between person or familywho need resources. Also, we are particularly concerned for those who arevulnerable or are unable to speak up for themselves. As social worker,they are often involved in many organization and activities because they mayneed to work with other agencies to complete a big program.
It’s a good way toget more support and enlarge the influence of PSS. They need to do the casemanagement which is especially important for complex situations. For example, inorder to assist the clients who have chronic physical or mental health issues,social worker need to record the condition and pay much attention. Sometimessocial workers gathered groups of people together for a variety of purposes.And social workers are involved as group therapists and task group leaders. Weshould have an effective communication with our clients and support families inneed of assistance. III. Thesimilar problem in China China and America have similar problemswith the population of the elderly and children.
Although we all face the sameproblem, there are some differences between China and the United States. InChina, many elderly people live in their own home alone. Children are busyworking in other provinces and do not have time to look after and care for theelderly. These elderly people are called empty-nesters. Over 100 million empty-nesters were estimated to be living inChina in 2013.
This number is feared to shoot up to 200 million by 2030,according to the committee’s study. By 2035, China’s total senior populationwill be over 400 million. At the same time, manychildren who do not go to other provinces with their parents, have no chance ofstudying in the big cities and usually stay in their hometown without theirparents and live with grandparents. We called these children as Left-behindChildren. The one-child policy, instituted in 1979, forbade most couples from raising morethan one child. This policy caused a sudden reversal of the traditionalpreference for large families, which acted as a traditional support for parentsand grandparents.
It is a product of China’s rapid social and economic changes,as well as the effects of the communist regime’s one-child policy, which has led to this population. The public policyis under the guidance of The Opinion (2016). It pointed out that we need toaccelerate the pace of hatching professional service agencies for social work.
It includes social welfare charity organizations, volunteer serviceorganizations, civil affairs and other departments. The supports and efforts shouldgo deeply into the urban and rural areas, schools and families through governmentprocurement services. These programs and services are provided by agencies todeal with the issues such as psychological counseling, behavioral correction,social integration, family relations, and other professional services. The funds of these agencies and volunteer organizations mainly relyon the social donation, corporate donation, and government support.The activity was guided by the government and local communityofficers, who plays the role of social worker. Some elderly people describe thevolunteers as “their children”, who really care about their daily life andspend time with them. Some activities make the elderly feel they are beingrespect and loved by others. The elderly is very happy to have people visitthem regularly, who makes their life more wonderful.
IV. Self-ReflectionI will start my upcoming internship next semester. I am lookingforward to this internship and meanwhile feeling a little nervous. Through thissemester’s courses and learning, I gradually learned a lot of knowledge of Americanculture and the difference between China. Through several visits to the localagency, I have these opportunities to know the real environment of workplaceand the agency’s mission, function and some high-quality programs.
I worked as avolunteer in New York Pantry, this experience has left a deep impression on me. I think the U.S. agencieshave more specific functions and subdivisions relative to China. And the socialworkers have more specific functions, too. There are many agencies founded veryearly, so there is a wealth of practical experience. It recalled my previousinternship in Shenzhen, China, was aim to the population of the community. Weorganized a variety of activities to enrich the lives of community and providesupport so that people in community can become more connected.
I get along wellwith my colleagues and they are all become my friends. However, I think thefunction and division of labor is not very clear. For example, I had to writereports and logs, plan the activities, keep minutes, maintain the order, etc.
Butthe advantage is that I can participate in almost every program. My area of interest is bothchildren and clinical social workers. I hope to make some progress in thefuture. And I know that the first year of internship is general, so maybe it’s agood transition on our experience, study and adaptation. I think my strengths are bilingual because Mandarinis my native language and English is relatively fluent.
Since New York is aninternational city, so there are many Chinese people here may need our help. Ibelieve that the use of English will be more fluent through the activities oflanguage partner currently provided by the college. And I’m very helpful, gentle,and respectful to others. At the same time, I am proficient with computerskills such as managing daily document edits, writing reports, making tablesand PPTs. On the other hand, I also concerned that the internship in the nextsemester would put some pressure on me. In the context of the contemporaryworkplace environment with some challenges and consequent stresses, thisperhaps, is the greatest challenge of all. It exists many differences incultural, working methods and techniques, and the relationship of colleagues. Iam worried that I can’t handle even daily work.
For example, maybe I will makemistakes in some minor tasks such as answering calls, making phone calls,making notes, etc. However, I believe the supervision will provide me with relevanttraining and guidance. I think the internship in the beginning will not arrangevery difficult tasks because we need time to adapt new environment. So I believeI can gradually adapt to the agency’s requirement. By constantly consulting andlearning from my colleagues, I will handle my work better. I think I need to becourageous to ask questions and take the initiative to communicate with mycolleagues. I hope I would not get along well with my supervisor andcolleagues.
V. Conclusion To sum up, I thinkI can get a better understanding of the social work agencies in the UnitedStates through the analysis of the functions, purpose, roles of social workersabove. And the comparison between China and the United States also gives me alot of inspiration. Through the part of my own reflection, I analyzed mystrengths and concerns. But overall, I still really look forward to theinternship next semester.
I hope I can learn something new and become aprofessional social worker. Reference Hu, W& Zou, G (2002).Political economy of the floating Chinese population. Journal of Contemporary Asia 32: 536–552. Fuyun Ma.
(2013). The Development of Social Work in China andIts Problems. Social Science Academic Press, 164-174 Charles Zastrow. (2013). Brooks/ColeEmpowerment Series: Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare. Social Science, 512-514. PSS Annual Report (2014~2017).
Retrieve from:http://pssusa.org/annual-reports/ Renee R. Ellis Simmons (October2014). Coresident Grandparents and Their Grandchildren: 2012. P20-576 U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American CommunitySurvey 5-Year Estimates