Gerontological Social Work


There is a major shortage of qualified gerontological social workers in the US (PowerPoint 4/26)

People are starting to live longer and are consuming more resources because of the advances in health care and technology. Due to this there aren’t enough social workers working with this population.

Death is not talked about in our society. (Lecture 4/26)

Death is something that no one wants to talk about. Although everyone is going to die eventually, in our society that topic is just pushed to the side. It is very important to talk about the process because there are many things that need to be discussed (will, DNR) to make sure that everything is going the way it should be. It is also harder for the caregiver to deal with what is going on if nothing is discussed.

There are four definitions of aging. (PowerPoint 4/26)

Chronological Age: the number of years the person has been alive

Biological Age: how changes in bodily systems affect the physical, psychological, and social functioning of elders

Psychological Age: person’s ability to adopt and to modify to familiar and unfamiliar environments

Social Age: A person’s position or role in a social structure, as well as the person’s ability to relate to others

There are four assessment principles for evaluating older adults. (PowerPoint 4/26)

  1. Compare a person’s age measured in years and functioning and see how they compare
  2. Use brief assessment instruments (depression scales mental status exams)
  3. Assessment must result in delineation of strengths and weaknesses
  4. Clinicians should use many different assessment methods to improve the quality of the information

There are 5 stages of grief according to the Kuebler-Ross scale. (PowerPoint 4/26)

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptancestages-of-grief

Our society does not take the time to grieve. (Sarah Hopkins, 4/28)

As we continually move forward with life we are always saying goodbye to things, but we don’t take the time to do that. Just like when we lose someone we don’t take the time  to mourn them, we just quickly move on with life because that’s what society expects us to do. Based on the relationship, a person only gets 3 bereavement days from work. People need to talk about their feelings and take the time to grieve the loss of their loved ones.




Vassello, J. (2016). Social Work With Older Adults [Power Point Presentation]


Hopkins, S. (2016). Guest Speaker

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