Geriatric social workers in private practice and in social service organizations help older adults navigate the continuum of care from independent living to skilled nursing care. They conduct assessments of physical, financial, social, and spiritual factors to guide older adults in determining the best living arrangements for this time in their lives.
For clients who can live at home with assistance, social workers coordinate community services such as home-delivered meals, health monitoring, housekeeping services, transportation, and respite care for caregivers. In addition to providing information and referral to local resources, social workers empower their clients to access services, and then monitor their progress to ensure they continue to receive the help they need.
When older adults can no longer live at home, social workers assist clients to assess their options, visit facilities, and make a final decision on where to relocate. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes employ social workers to provide case management, plan programs, and ensure that new residents become acclimated to the facility environment. Counseling is also offered when residents experience difficulties adjusting to a new lifestyle. Social workers encourage family members to remain actively involved in the resident’s care and provide continuing support to residents and their families.