by Marisa Bordowitz
- We have a growing population. It will supposedly be double the population it was in 2000 in 2030. Advances in health care and technology have yielded longevity. As the elderly demographic grows, so does the need for social workers. (Vassello, J.D., 2016) The elderly constitutes 12 % of the population which is a chunk large enough to warrant assistance. For assistance to be acquired, interest in the field may also be strong. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, pg. 266)
- Old folks face a series of obstacles (many of which are heart wrenching) like: living in solitude (as a person ages, the people most close to them are likely to pass away), poverty (it’s difficult to have an income when incapable of work), difficulty obtaining access to affordable health care (a more common hurdle but a hurdle nonetheless… here is also where support services can be implemented!), changes in family life (families are becoming less supportive and expansive as people have less children and divorce rates skyrocket). A social worker must bear in mind all of these obstacles. (Vassello, J.D., 2016)
- Difficulty functioning normally plagues older adults. ADL (or activities of daily living) are measured by an elder’s ability to clothe, bathe and, feed him/herself as well as mobilize. (Vassello, J.D., 2016)
- Physical functioning is just a PART of what elders deal with. Their mental and emotional health is also compromised as they age. It behooves social workers to be on their toes, looking for mental health issues within their clientele. 1 in 5 people over the age of 55 are subject to being mentally unwell. AND DID YOU KNOW that individuals over 65 have the highest suicide rate. I formerly thought it was more prevalent among adolescents! Lastly, men above 65 have the highest rate of going through with suicide. (Vassello, J.D., 2016)
- SOCIAL WORKERS MUST BE EDUCATED ABOUT ELDER ABUSE!!!! The elderly are being seriously taken advantage of due to their sometimes helpless state. Neglect, psychological abuse and financial exploitation are among the ways elders are mistreated. These transgressions must be taken seriously. (Vassello, J.D., 2016) THANKFULLY, adult protective services have been executed such that social workers can assess and treat these cases of abuse. (DiNittto & McNeece, 2008, pg. 281) Moreover, we need the advocacy and counseling of social workers.
Vassello. J. J.D (2016). Social Work With Older Adults Powerpoint
DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.