Chapter Activities

Activity 1: Medicare

Have students pretend that they are a social worker in an agency that works with older adults. They should write down their responses to the following questions:

  • What would you say to a new immigrant family about the four parts of Medicare?
  • How would you explain to them whether they qualify for Medicare or not?
  • What are some alternative community resources they could use?

Activity 2: Working With LGBTQ Older Adults

Removal of the sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) questions from the ACL survey is one of many battles around who is recognized and counted. For example, SOGI questions were also intended to be added to a survey around demographic information and service needs of people with disabilities. There have also been recent controversies on whether questions about immigrant status should be included on Census counts, and the accuracy of counting people experiencing homelessness. These controversies have taken place at both the local and federal level. 

Students should draw from your own personal or professional experiences and write down their responses to the following questions:

  1. What is the importance of collecting information about specific populations?
  2. Can you think of any risks in collecting information about those populations?
  3. What roles might social workers have in the creation, implementation, and use of such surveys?
  4. What skills are you learning in your social work program that you could draw on in relation to such questions? These may include research, advocacy, practice, organizing.
  5. As we noted above, the SOGI question addition to and removal from the ACL survey involved a federal agency. Go to the website of the ACL or another federal agency and find out (hint: go back to Chapter 2 of this textbook):
    1. How it makes its rules
    2. How it gets inputs on rule changes

Activity 3: Research About Medicare

Instruct students to go to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. They should try to locate the following information and write down their responses.

  1. What part of Medicare would cover a prescription for antibiotics?
  2. What part of Medicare would cover mental health treatment?
  3. How would you determine the following?
    1. Whether or when your client is eligible for Medicare and, if so, which parts
    2. How they sign up for Medicare
    3. What kind of documentation they might require
    4. How they could find out whether the care of a particular physician for a particular treatment would be covered
  4. Note how easy or difficult it was for you to find the answers to these questions and what recommendations you would have for those who maintain the website to make the information accessible for all.
  5. For any information you were unable to find on the websites, what might be your next steps in obtaining answers?