A geriatric social worker is a person who assists with the caring and welfare of the elderly. This position is one that does require specialized formal education, namely a bachelor’s degree in social work with a specialty in gerontology. However, most institutions require a master’s degree in social work specializing in gerontology. Some require a physical doctorate in the field. These programs typically require years of experience within the field, as well as traditional classroom instruction. While a geriatric social worker will typically keep traditional daytime office hours, those employed by some institutions may work extended hours, such as evenings, overnight, and weekends. A geriatric social worker can be employed by nursing homes, hospices, or state and governmental agencies.
A geriatric social worker has the primary goal of assisting the elderly within their environments in order to ensure that they have productive and satisfying lives as they age. This position requires a person who is genuinely compassionate and concerned for their clients and their overall well-being. Some of the following duties and responsibilities are typically required: making decisions regarding transportation, making decisions regarding necessary health services, assisting the elderly in the ability to live in their own homes, assisting in the transition to a nursing home, looking for patterns within their clients, assisting family members in the decision to look for a specialized institution, keeping elderly clients company, supporting involvement in group activities, and even offering therapy. A geriatric social worker should possess strong interpersonal communication skills and a strong respect for the elderly. This is a professional who must maintain confidentiality and a strong sense of maturity, as well as the ability to keep a strong hold on their emotions.
Geriatric Social Worker Tasks
- Provide advocacy and resource services for the patient
- Facilitate education, support groups and referrals
- Gather relevant information pertaining to case issues
- Assess and treat patients and their families in understanding and coping with emotional and social problems
- Maintain caseload, documentation and reevaluate patients at appropriate intervals