Getting old in years is marked by a wave of new: new homes, new health regimes, new challenges. While aging past retirement may be a new for you or a loved one, geriatric social workers have experience assisting and advising aging populations. They strive to help their patients live their fullest, happiest lives by navigating them through the healthcare and social service systems. In honor of National Professional Social Work Month, Choice Health Management wants to send our appreciation to the unsung heroes of your loved one’s new journey because:
Their clientele base keeps growing. By 2030, an estimated 1 in 5 Americans of the Baby Boomer generation will be older than 65. These 60 million patients and counting will need the support of an estimated 70,000 geriatric social workers to help them address their demographics’ unique needs. These professionals are skilled in adapting to each patient in their growing pool in order to provide a customized and effective plan of care.
They’re a solid rock during time of transition. Whether it’s shifting from home care to an assisted living facility, coping with a newly diagnosed terminal illness, or adjusting to retirement, aging comes with a host of new milestones that can be tricky to navigate solo. Geriatric social workers help prepare their patients for the change they’re facing, opting for proactive rather than reactive care to create the smoothest transition and adjustment to a new normal.
They bridge the gap between patient and family. For members of the Sandwich Generation – those responsible for both their own children and their elderly parents – caregiving becomes complex. A trained geriatric social worker serves to ease the immense responsibility through support, expert advice, and an extra pair of hands. They can offer guidance for holding tough conversations about health and living arrangements, create a home health care plan, and spot issues that a family caregiver might not have seen on their own.
They listen. Certainly, geriatric social workers are invaluable sources of information. However, all the contacts and connections, all the practical experience, all the advice in the world can’t take the place of a compassionate ear. Between doctors and financial advisors and well-meaning family, geriatric social workers listen without agenda. They serve as sounding boards that allow patients to unload, reflect, and grow, feeling validated in their thoughts and empowered to take the next steps.
At Choice Health Management, we thank the professionals that help care for and build up our patients. Give us a call today and we’ll help connect your loved one to the skilled advocate they deserve.