• Supporting Clients

    Posted on November 16th, 2008

    Written by Jaimie


    The Work To Be Done Before Work is Done

    When thinking of an issue to log about, I searched for a topic that I hear frequently discussed by some of the young professionals I chat with. Many of the social workers within this network, work inside the homes of older adults. The main purpose of their work is often clinically common; to increase the stability, independence, and the over well being of the client. Through empirically proven therapy approaches, these social workers attempt to diminish depression, anxiety, loneliness, addiction, grief, and other existing mental health issues affecting this population. However, quickly a barrier is recognized, one which if not knocked through with wicked cases managing skills, can stunt progress.

    Case management, to some, is a proficiency, which can be performed by those with skill levels ranging from a high school degree to a Bachelor in Social Work.  Many professionals describe this talent differently, I will argue that this under-appreciated skill should not go unrecognized, as it is essential when administering a clinical framework with the older adult population.

    It’s 4pm, time for your session with Mrs. Janet Rogers. Where is she? You think. She is late again. What does this mean? This type of behavior should be assessed as perhaps her lack of dedication to our work, and her inability to trust people.

    This type of interpretation is more than reasonable when working with a population without the common obstacles of aging. What happened to Mrs. Rogers? Well, she attempted to clean her house for her upcoming traditional condo holiday party. Though due to her weak legs, achy back, and her inability to recognize how she is physically changing, she overworked herself as she cleaned all day. She felt pressure to clean, and failed to eat enough food to regulate her irregular blood sugar levels. Janet was worn out! She fell asleep as she waited for her ParaTranist car to arrive in order to arrive at the weekly session with you.

    It seems, as my colleagues discover in their young practice, that time must be devoted to the daily needs of the client including house maintenance, food preparation, and medical issues, social activity, etc. In some agencies providing mental health services to the older adult population are be met by another division of the agency specializing in case management. Though, more frequently these issues must be understood and dealt with by the clinician.

    This is the work that must be done in order for the work to be done. Perhaps as geriatric social workers we deserve a model that can offer a case management and a clinical combination specific to the commonalities of the older adult population?

    Picture courtesy of Zsuzsanna Schreck. View more of her photos at Rocketcat.blogspot

    This entry was posted on Sunday, November 16th, 2008 at 5:01 pm and is filed under Supporting Clients. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    Take a look at some of the responses we have had to this article.

  • Leave a Reply

    Let us know what you thought.

  • Name(required):