When the physical, emotional, and organizational needs of caring for a loved one becomes overwhelming, a geriatric social worker can help.
No one expects to have a stroke, break a bone, or develop dementia. In fact, few of us consider the health problems we may face as we age. We live our lives, enjoy our families, and as a society look ahead to the future. But for millions of aging Americans and their families, the future is uncertain as unexpected health concerns and the financial worries associated with them appear.
Caring for an aging loved one, whether a parent or a spouse is daunting. What begins as an act of compassion and love can quickly turn to emotional and financial burnout. Caregivers, most who have no medical training, find themselves managing serious medical and mobility issues. Add the complexity of the healthcare and insurance systems and it can feel like chaos. A geriatric social worker can help control and manage the chaos.
What do Geriatric Social Workers do?
Social workers are licensed and trained professionals who provide help to individuals, families, and communities. They often work in hospitals, schools, community centers, religious organizations, and in private practice. Social workers help those in need navigate through the healthcare system, public assistance offerings, insurance agencies, and provide counseling.
Geriatric social workers have specialized skills to work with elderly clients and their families as they transition through short and long-term care needs. Here is how they can help.
- Assess the mental and physical health of an sick or elderly patient and prioritize needs
- Assist with housing options
- Assist with placement in nursing homes
- Assist with matching home health care agencies and providers to clients
- Help families with insurance paperwork issues
- Recommend daycare programs
- Assist with transportation and day-to-day mobility needs
- Work with care providers to organize care options
- Act as an advocate with doctors and other agency care providers
- Provide counseling and mental health support
Organizing Care that is Right for You
Geriatric social workers work on behalf of the elderly and their families. Because they work and live in the same communities as their clients, they are familiar with all of the area’s resources. They take the time to understand their clients. Where a doctor may only be able to spend a few minutes per patient, a social worker takes the time needed to assess a client and provide a range of solutions.
Families are often surprised to learn how much in home care is available to allow their loved one to stay home either living independent or with skilled assistance.
Social workers can help with the transition from a nursing home or rehabilitation facility back to independent living. They can also guide families caring for chronically sick loved ones or loves one suffering with dementia through the changing levels of care each family will need.
Where Can I find a Geriatric Social Worker?
Caregivers can find geriatric social workers through doctor’s referrals, community agencies, local councils on aging, and religious organizations. The US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living also provides this link to search for a professional in each state.
Families should interview social workers the same way as they would interview a doctor. Start by describing your specific needs and ask how they would help. What services do they provide? How much experience do they have? How much do they charge? What are their working terms?
By establishing a working relationship with a geriatric social worker, care givers will have support in place when they need it to navigate the changing care needs of their loved ones.
No one can plan for an illness. However, when in the midst of caring for someone, planning for the future can make a world of difference.
People Come First
Comfort Home Care aides are dementia and Alzheimer’s care certified by the Alzheimer’s Association. Our caregivers are trained to understand the phases of dementia, and changes in behavior. We use this information to provide the best care possible. We strive to understand a client’s health history and personal preferences, their current health and care needs, and what their future needs might be. We believe this is the best way to deliver meaningful care.