Did you know you can buy calendars or visit websites that list all the weird, wacky, and outrageous holidays for each day of the year? It’s true. The title of both the physical and virtual calendars is Every Day is a Holiday. Multiple holidays, in fact. Likewise, every month is awareness month for several issues, agencies, professions, and so forth. The month of March is no exception.
March is the month to be aware of kidney disease, MS, oral hygiene, and good nutrition. It is also the month to express appreciation and gratitude for the Red Cross and social workers. Both are significant when it comes to benefitting the general public, but since social workers are (in my opinion) grossly under-appreciated, we are going to spend a few paragraphs talking about the many ways in which they enrich the lives of seniors and their families.
Social workers can be found in just about every industry and profession a senior citizen is associated with. These people aren’t always called social workers but trust me—that is what they are. For example, the recreational director at the assisted living or nursing home you reside in is a social worker. Their job is to initiate and facilitate social activities which will keep you agile, mobile, mentally and emotionally strong and healthy, and engage you socially.
Social workers in these same facilities are the ones who help you and your families navigate the finer points, i.e., confusing regulations of spending down, deciding what level of assistance you need, and so forth. Senior communities, which are housing communities/neighborhoods that limit residency to those over fifty-five or older, often have a community room or clubhouse. The HOA (homeowners association) frequently ‘employs’ a social worker to lead monthly activities with residents.
Social workers are a huge help to grandparents raising their grandchildren. They offer help in obtaining resources for financial aid, resources for recreational outlets, resources for providing younger and more physically active mentors for grandchildren, and help with legal matters such as visitation issues, matters of the court, and other legalities. You may not think this is something that is in high demand but think again. While it is true that the percentage of grandchildren being raised by a grandparent is ‘only’ between two and four percent, that equals out to over 2.6 million children in the US. And if you are one of the grandparents raising one or more of those 2.6 million minor children, it matters a LOT.
Social workers can serve as assistance to seniors aging in place, aka their own home, by working with them to find home healthcare or personal assistant, doing welfare checks (to see if you are eating properly, etc.), and even to act as mediators between the senior and whoever it is they are dealing with on various matters.
Social workers are often employed by hospitals, hospice agencies, and funeral homes to guide seniors and their families through the processes of making difficult decisions in how to proceed with treatments of a disease, to help you through the grieving process, and how to help others (a spouse or child) do the same.
These are just a few of the many, many things social workers do to enrich the lives of seniors. Without these valuable and selfless people in our lives, aging in place, facing the various inevitabilities of aging, and navigating life while dealing with diminished hearing, sight, and ability to process thoughts and facts as quickly and aptly as you used to, life would be a lot harder. So, thank you, social workers! We appreciate you!
Guest post By Darla Nobel
The views expressed by the author may not reflect the views of Age Safe America, LLC. The content here should not be taken as medical, legal or financial advice. The content here is for informational purposes only, and because each person is so unique, please consult your own healthcare, legal or financial professional with any questions.