I have over 30 years of direct professional Social Work practice working in the field of aging and health care. This included maintaining a small, ongoing practice providing consultation on complex cases, especially when there are issues related to decision-making capacity and/or abuse, neglect or self-neglect.

I am the founding director, and current co-director of the Centre for Research on Personhood and Dementia (CRPD) — an interdisciplinary research centre focused on understanding and supporting people with dementia and their family care partners using a lens that recognizes that the dementia experience is both a biomedical AND a social condition.

I am a founding member of the Citizenship and Dementia: International Research Network.

I have been a social worker for over 35 years. My professional and research practice has predominantly focused on issues related to social work practice in the field of aging and I am particularly well-recognized for my work related to dementia, personhood and citizenship. I bring a lens to my work that strives to examine and make explicit the interface between the personal  experience and socio-political context. Within my teaching, I try to foster critical thinking and the articulation of the link between theory, practice and research.

Winter 2019

SOWK514A Feminism and Social Work Praxis - FEM'M & SOWK PRX Sections

Winter 2019

SOWK531 Social Work Practice in the Field of Aging Sections

Ongoing research studies include:

a) A mixed-methods study exploring the issues of boomer-aged adults;

b) A qualitative evaluation study aimed at understanding and responding to the needs of older adults experiencing abuse;

c) A participatory action research project focused on self-management and living well for people with dementia;

d) A critical ethnography examining the relationships between family and care staff in long-term care;

e) An ethnographic study examining how community day programs foster social citizenship and involvement in people with dementia

Special Edition Journal

O’Connor, D. & Nedlund, A-C (guest co-editors) (2016)  Citizenship and Dementia Special Edition,  Dementia:  International J. of Social Research & Practice, 15(3)

Refereed Publications

O’Connor, D.,  Mann, J., & Wiersma, E.  (2018) Stigma, Discrimination and Agency:  Diagnostic disclosure as an everyday practice shaping social citizenship.  Journal of Aging studies, 44, 45 – 51

O’Connor, D. & Kelson, E (2018) Boomer Matters:   Exploring the needs and experiences of aging boomers using the emotional health program based in a senior’s community centre.  J. of Gerontological Social Work, 61(1), 61-77.

Wiersma, E.,  O’Connor, D.,  Loiselle, L.,  Hickman, K.  Heibein, B.,  Hounam, B. & Mann, J. (2016)  Creating Space for Citizenship: The Impact of Group Structure on Validating the Voices of People with Dementia Dementia:  International Journal of social research and practice 15(3).

Phinney, A.,  Kelson, E.,  Baumbusch, J.,   O’Connor, D., & Purves, B. (2016)  Walking in the Neighbourhood: Performing Social Citizenship in Dementia.   Dementia:  International Journal of social research and practice 15(3)

O’Connor, D. & Nedlunds, A. C.  (2016)   Editorial to special edition on Citizenship and Dementia; Dementia:  International J. of Social Research & Practice, 15(3)

Small, J.  Hulko, W.,  O’Connor, D. & Drance, E. (2016) Verbal and nonverbal indicators of quality of communication between care staff and residents in ethnoculturally and linguistically diverse long-term care settings,” Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology.

Chan, SM. & O’Connor D. (2014) Personhood: Including the Chinese Person with Dementia in Research, Policy and Practice. Journal of Ethnic And Cultural Diversity in Social Work (1531-3204).