Social Work with the Elderly

A challenge is a fact that it is common for the social workers’ clients to be afflicted with different kinds of diseases and disabilities: physically, mentally, or emotionally. This paper aims to give an in-depth discussion of the challenges involved in working with the elderly, and how the clients’ identity issues affect their relationship dynamics with the worker.
First, let us explore the clients’ perspectives and situations from the beginning of things – as they enter the residential home for the elderly. Some have existing and financially capable relatives by they themselves choose to stay in a residential facility so as not to burden their family members with their needs. It could due to reasons of pride, or perhaps a deeply ingrained sense of independence that spurs them to instead opt for professional and paid help. It could be a defense against possible future rejection and the hurt that would succumb from it. Others would have preferred to stay with their children and/or grandchildren, as is in most cases in Asian countries for example, but the family members are either too poor, too disgusted at the prospect of being solely responsible of taking care of an elderly person, or too concerned with having their own lifestyles cramped.
Many times the older persons in these cases are admitted to residential homes despite wanting to stay with their families or remain in their own homes. They perhaps just weren’t given a choice. The majority of the elderly have been placed in residential homes because of a physical or mental disability and/or because they do not have anyone around to take care of them anymore. These factors, one way or another, have a crucial impact on the clients’ psychological state and invariably affect their responsiveness and cooperation during the course of case management. As each and every human being has unique identities and personalities, the dynamics of an elderly person and his or her identity is profoundly affected.