Dr. Stacey Gordon, DSW, LMSW: Dynamics and Relationships in Aging Families | All Together #21

In this episode, host Dina Sargeant is joined by Dr. Stacey Gordon, an expert in adult caregiving and retirement

Familial relationships change as family members grow older, presenting both opportunities and challenges. Join Dina Sargeant and Dr. Stacey Gordon as they discuss the importance of ageism and having a supportive long-term care system for the elderly.

Meet Dr. Stacey Gordon

Dr. Stacey Gordon is the Program Director of Next Phase Adult Caregiving and Retirement at the Work Life office, with expertise in caregiving, aging, and retirement. Her educational background includes a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from NYU, an MA in Social Work from the University of Michigan, and a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland.

She gives personalized consultations and develops University-wide programs on these topics, such as the Caregiving Conversations Series and Envisioning Retirement, striving to reframe aging conversations. Dr. Stacey is also the director of the NYU Society of Retired Faculty, giving retired faculty staff the opportunity to stay connected through various activities.

She is also a social entrepreneur and has founded organizations like ElderOptions Care Management, B’Lev Shalem, and The Wrinkle Project. 

About the episode

In this episode of All Together, Dr. Stacey Gordon explains that the concept of ageism was introduced by Robert Butler in 1969, encompassing three aspects: thoughts, emotions, and actions. She further explains that ageism can also be positive. She states that addressing ageism, especially in caregiving, necessitates finding a middle ground.

According to Dr. Stacey, ageism is a misconception about older individuals, thinking that they become more experienced with age but have limited capabilities due to physical changes. She emphasizes that ageism is not a static concept. Dr. Stacey also advocates having an anti-ageist approach, challenging ageist stereotypes, and promoting intergenerational conversations. 

Dr. Stacey moves on to the concept of family, which diversely ranges from traditional nuclear families to chosen families formed by close friends. She asserts that family is a primary source of sustenance that shapes people’s development. She moves on to explain the concept of an aging family. 

During the episode, Dr. Stacey highlights that family dynamics change as children turn into adults. She gives special attention to families with older adults. Dr. Stacey states that the need for caregiving and support increases as the number of older family members increases, leading to a caregiving crisis. 

According to Dr. Stacey, conflicts arise within families due to a lack of communication or future planning for care needs. She highlights that openly discussing ageism and caregiving is challenging. She states that aligning the expectations of older and younger family members regarding care and support is also challenging. Dr. Stacey emphasizes the importance of addressing these issues early in order to maintain a healthy and independent aging experience.

In conclusion

This episode explores aging families and the challenges they face as their members grow older. Dr. Stacey emphasizes the importance of open communication about the future, needs, and expectations of older family members to maintain a supportive environment. Ageism is a barrier that needs to be overcome to enable healthy aging, and this can only be reached by communication and understanding between family members.

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