Profiles in Social Work
In My Own Words: A Dedication to Successful Aging
Philip Rozario, PhD
I came to the field of gerontological social work by default, in that I knew that I didn’t want to work with children or teenagers but didn’t have a clue about the population group with whom I would like to work. Armed with an Bachelor’s of Arts degree, with a major in Social Work and Sociology, from the National University of Singapore in 1989, and an unsatisfying ten-month social work stint in a special school, I joined a family service center that, among other things, ran a residential program for low-income, able-bodied older adults who did not have alternative accommodation. Part of my responsibilities as a social worker included doing psychosocial assessments of all applicants, providing case management services, and running social-recreational programs for the residents. I had great flexibility in designing and planning programs for residents, and so in consultation with the residents, I got the opportunity to run a reminiscence group for residents, my first, and organize a volunteer program for high school and college students to befriend elderly residents. Those were three wonderful years in that I learned a lot about people’s diverse life histories and their varied aging experiences. At that point, I realized that I had found my vocation and have since been interested in the field of gerontological social work. Also, I realized then that I was inadequately trained for the job and decided to pursue my graduate education. I guess you can say that the rest is history.
In 2003, one year after I joined Adelphi University, I was awarded the Hartford Social Work Scholars Award in 2003. This award has provided me with many amazing experiences in that it not only helped me in developing and pursuing my research agenda, specifically on successful aging in the face of chronic illnesses, but also in connecting with a group of gerontological social work scholars who are at various points in their careers. More importantly, the award was instrumental in my development of a strong relationship with the local Area Agency of Aging in Nassau County.
I wish to continue to expand my research interest in well-being in later life for older adults and their families. For one, I am interested in examining ways in which society can better respond to the growing and diverse aging population by providing more inclusive avenues for their meaningful social engagement. Currently, much of productive aging has been geared toward a small segment of the aging population, namely white, male, and educated. Another area of interest that I wish to continue studying is that of family caregiver well-being, specifically to identify effective interventions that can help make caregiving a more satisfying experience for both the caregiver and the older relative.
- Story contributed by Daniel Kaplan, LICSW, LMSW, CSW-G, QDCS
Updated on November 18, 2010
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