Social Work with Older Adults

Active grants

The Social Work with Older Adults research area focuses on addressing the diverse needs of older adults in urban areas. Topics include health promotion for older adults, moving and transitions for older adults, and older adult service provision.

Aging with Hemophilia: Understanding the Varied Experiences of Living with Changed Time Horizons

Princial Investigator: Tam Perry

Grant Funder: National Hemophilia Foundation

For the first time in human history, individuals with hemophilia are living beyond their 30s and 40s. Aging persons with hemophilia (APWH) have witnessed unprecedented treatment changes including home infusions due to factor concentrate availability (1970s), and accessing synthetic factor (mid 1990s) to counter dependency on a knowingly contaminated blood supply (1980s) resulting in HIV and/or hepatitis contraction for some. It is estimated that approximately half of the individuals living with hemophilia in the late 1970s to mid 1980s were infected with HIV by contaminated blood products. We cannot overlook that this cohort never expected to age. APWH can question whether symptoms are related to natural aging processes, disease or comorbidity of multiple health conditions and some struggle to plan for the future. Previous work on those with APWH has not fully accounted for the diversity of experiences based on race/ethnicity, gender, undocumented individuals and underserved communities. This project will add enhance our understanding of the experiences of some of these individuals. The study site, Detroit, Michigan will also offer opportunity to examine experiences of those APWH in a state without specialized insurance program.

Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research

Princial Investigator: Tam Perry

Grant Funder: National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The purpose of the Center is two-fold; to mentor junior faculty from diverse backgrounds and to partner with the community in new
The Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research seeks its sixth consecutive round of 5-year funding. The ways to enhance research participation by older African Americans in Detroit and Flint, Michigan. The Center proposes a Leadership and Administrative Core, Analysis Core, Community Core and Research Education Component. Each year three junior scientists will be selected into the mentoring program and receive pilot research funding.

DAAA Needs Assessment  2023

Princial Investigator: Faith Hopp

Grant Funder: Detroit Area Agency on Aging

This needs assessment will gather information for the Detroit Area Agency on Aging. Areas of inquiry include: social determinants of health, digital divide, challenges from Covid-19, and promoting a Wayne County senior mileage. Areas of diversity, equity and inclusion will also be queried. Methods include mailed surveys and focus groups.

The role of art activities in long-term dementia care: Persisting abilities of persons with dementia

Princial InvestigatorTam Perry

Grant Funder: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan 

Persons with dementia can be disempowered both by the symptoms of the disease and by other people’s reactions to their disease (CDC, 2019; Hashmi, 2009; Martin and Younger, 2000). One kind of therapeutic intervention for this population is art activities. These activities can emphasize persisting abilities of persons with dementia but can also deny their full personhood. This project applies the theoretical approach of personhood as relational and processual to dementia care contexts through the study of the practices of art activities. This different theoretical concept can show how everyday activities can shape personhood. This six-month project includes staff and caregiver interviews and extended participant observation of art activities in multiple long-term care contexts. Findings can be used to inform practice implications and suggestions for increased quality of dementiacare through art activity design by care institutions, art  therapists, and caregivers.