Oftentimes when we think of social workers, images of those who work to get children out of unsafe or less than ideal conditions may pop into our heads. But it isn’t only children that social workers assist. No, in fact, there are social workers who specialize in the field of the elderly population as well.
The field of geriatric social work has indeed grown right alongside the aging population. In a report by the Administration on Aging, those people 65 or older made up about 12.4% of the population in 2000, and that number is expected to rise to 19% by 2030. That accounts for a total of 72.1 million people.
Because of this, those whose calling is in elderly social work focus on helping those individuals and their families, and the communities too. A geriatric social worker isn’t what it might sound like at first. Instead, a geriatric social worker specializes in dealing with those people 65 or older, like we mentioned above. They also often have graduate-level education and field experience in the areas of geriatrics, gerontology, aging or social work with older people.
They work to take care of a number of issues that older adults and their families have to put up with, and also the many social and environmental changes that go along with getting older. Let’s take a look at what that includes right now:
They can help you get through the mountains of paperwork and confusion that come from health care or other social services. In particular, they can help with clinical interventions for someone who is lonely or who suffers from depression or anxiety. They also serve as a link between clients and the numerous programs—both public and private—that may be available to them. They are a source of advocacy, and can give clients an Advanced Directive form and show them how to complete it, and geriatric social workers are often a first line of defense against elder abuse.
Those families in a caregiving situation right now can be greatly helped by geriatric social workers too, since they offer direct assistance to families through things like family-support services, suggesting useful technologies, and coordinating medical care. They can also provide counseling services dealing with end-of-life issues, bereavement, or any other concerns that seniors or their families could have. They are a go-between for elders and their families and the health care staff, and work to keep families apprised of their loved one’s conditions.
They can also help in a home care setting as well. Social workers specializing in geriatric care will often coordinate discharge planning from the hospital to home, and will work to conduct home visits to ensure that their client is safe, happy, healthy and living in an environment in which they can thrive. They can also let families know when home care might be inappropriate for an elder, and help with finding assistance or transportation services, or recommend specialized technology for use with in-home care.
Geriatric care managers are trained to be aware of and recognize any abnormal patterns in aging and can suggest when a doctor visit may be appropriate. They can also arrange the appointment or visit. When making use of a geriatric social worker, some elders can live in their own home when, otherwise, they would be put in a nursing home facility.
If you or someone you love needs assistance with Elder Care law issues, call 856-281-3131. Let us help ease your stress and give you a plan.