Social Work Programs

January 11, 2010

Social Work and the Elderly: A Job That Makes a Difference

Filed under: social work and elderly — Tags: — admin @ 9:19 pm

socialwork and elderly Social work and the elderly is a wonderful combination. I have worked at assisted living facilities part-time over the last several years and have learned so much from the wisdom of senior citizens. Also there is a lot of sadness in many of their situations and reasons why they’ve moved into a facility. There are a number of other settings for working with the elderly as well including outpatient counseling agencies, medical social workers at hospitals and doing home visits to seniors through a case management service.

I've found that often the elderly don't want to bother their children with concerns that may be important. For instance, one senior I worked with needed new glasses but she didn't want to bother her daughter because she works a lot. Another senior wanted to get some snacks for the evening after dinner at the facility but didn't want to impose on her son. Some of the needs are very small so if you have parents at an assisted living facility or nursing home, think about what you'd like as little snacks and try to surprise them.

Often the elderly have various forms of surgery such as hip replacement and are confined to a wheelchair during recovery. A social worker can help someone out by keeping them company, ordering library books, getting tapes from the library and helping them fill this time in their lives. Also there are many seniors that are legally blind and are entitled to getting books on tape and a tape recorder delivered to them. This is a great thing to take advantage of and can be good for expanding the mind.

Working with the elderly can be a very rewarding experience but you have to be able to be patient. You may get someone who is bitter towards life, upset that their kids never call them, feels deep aloneness and feels helpless about limited mobility. Think how you'd feel in these situations and don't just give some canned response about putting on a smile. What would you want to hear to pull you out of the sadness?

1 Comment »

  1. This is what I want to do with the rest of my life! I have been a hospice volunteer for a couple of years now and am often frustrated by my inability to do more for my clients as well as their friends in assisted living facilities. I’m ready to get my masters in social work, so I can do exactly what you do. Thanks for the direction!!

    Comment by Beverly — March 12, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

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