Do you ever worry about how you can balance caring for your children with caring for an aging parent? Or perhaps you, yourself, are an older person who wants to be sure to get the most out of your visits to the doctor? Rest assured, you are not alone. With the numbers of older Americans quickly rising, many people are facing these and similar questions every day.
As the “Baby Boomer” generation ages, local, state, and federal agencies are facing the challenge of providing services that older individuals need, while struggling to get the most out of every penny. At the same time, many younger people are struggling to care for their children and parents, while working full-time jobs—a stressful situation even on the best of days—leaving everyone concerned feeling frayed and frazzled. This is where social workers come in to the pictureâ€¦
Social workers can help. Working with families who need assistance finding adult day-care programs, dealing with the stress of caregiving, or figuring out financial problems, social workers can point people in the right direction. By providing resources and helping older individuals understand the opportunities available to them, social workers help clear up confusion and relieve stress.
Social workers also help aging individuals by:
Counseling seniors and their loved ones to help them maintain good mental health, relieve stress, and avoid anxiety and depression;
Assisting older individuals in preparing for doctors’ appointments;
Helping families plan ahead to identify care options (such as assisted living or long term care);
Guiding seniors as they navigate the complex Medicare system (and other confusing health-related issues, like insurance);
Talking with families to find out if they need legal assistance or financial counseling;
Providing resources to help older individuals find the information and assistance they need.
Aging is a time of change for both older adults and those who care for them. It can be stressful at times, but it’s also a period of growth and opportunity. With help from professional social workers, seniors and their loved ones, friends, and communities can come together to create a healthy and vital environment for seniors.