How Social Workers Help Aging Adults
Every March, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) celebrates Social Work Month. Because many of us at LifeCare Advocates hold master’s degrees in geriatric-focused social work, plus licensure in clinical social work, we want to take this opportunity to explain how our training benefits the clients we serve.
Social workers help people in a variety of settings live life to the best of their abilities. In our case, we specialize in working with older people (and, often, their families) to help ensure they have what they need to age safely and healthfully wherever they live. Because we have extensive knowledge of the medical, psychological, cognitive, social, and physical challenges of aging, we can help older adults in several ways, including:
- Care management. Assessing an elder’s diverse needs (medical, social, etc.) and helping families create a comprehensive and manageable plan of care. We ensure the care plan balances the elder’s needs, values, and wishes with what is both realistic and possible.
- Aging well. Helping clients plan for their future care needs and explore the options for remaining as independent as possible as they age. We guide clients through care and costs, living options, and end-of-life planning.
- Memory care. We guide and support clients through every step of the difficult challenges of dementia care. This includes assessing the level of cognitive impairment, resources to offer as much independence as possible while ensuring safety, and assessing the optimal adaptations at home or alternative living arrangements when needed.
- Consultation and advocacy. We provide deeply informed guidance on a range of related topics, including relocation and long-term care insurance. We also serve as healthcare advocates for hospital patients or people living in a nursing home or other congregate setting.
The LifeCare Advocates team also includes Registered Nurses and a physical therapist to help deliver this broad, holistic care. In addition, many of us are also certified as Aging Life Care Professionals® through the Aging Life Care Association™, which equips us with additional training to help navigate complex systems and identify resources while providing support and advocacy.
There is much more to aging than the physical changes we go through. We take a holistic approach to serving the individual – taking into account their physical, medical, mental, and social needs. Our clients and their families are assured of receiving expert care delivered using proven methods of practice.