Video | 00:41:23

Rewarding Challenges: Social Work with Older Adults

by Caroline Rosenthal Gelman, Carol Tosone
Two illustrative vignettes show a first and second year social work student addressing common situations in cases with older clients and seeking guidance from their experienced supervisor.

Rewarding Challenges: Social Work with Older Adults
While social work with older adults can present many challenges, the experience of helping this growing population proves most fulfilling to those who enter this area of social work. Rewarding Challenges portrays true-to-life snapshots of typical cases with older clients. The video is made up of two vignettes which portray common scenarios from the perspective of a first- and second-year social work intern.

The first vignette follows Sarah, a first-year social work student who is hesitant about her placement in a seniors' community center. Sarah is shown trying to engage Mr. Williams, a retired teacher in the neighborhood who recently lost his wife. Although Sarah is persistent in her approach to sell the center's services, Mr. Williams insists that he is doing fine and does not need help. While much of their time is spent debating Mr. Williams' needs, Sarah learns some interesting things about her prospective client in their brief first meeting. The video then shows her sharing this experience with her supervisor, who helps Sarah recognize her own anxieties and preconceptions of older adults. The supervision meeting helps viewers connect with the successes and mistakes of this first year student's session, and illustrates how social workers can help older adults while still respecting their independence and self-determination.

The second vignette follows Ben, a second-year social work student who has a bit more experience working with older clients. Ben is visited by a previous client, Patricia, whose elderly mother is struggling with Alzheimer's disease. Patricia is anxious about her mother's recent decline and overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for her. Ben is knowledgeable about several respite opportunities and also advises Patricia to have her mother reevaluated by her doctor, in order to complete an updated biopsychosocial. Patricia leaves feeling less anxious because of the "plan" Ben helped her formulate. Although Ben seemed to help Patricia and her mother, he talks to his supervisor about his discomfort with the session. Patricia's early arrival for the appointment caught him off guard, and he did not feel confident that he helped her clinically in her overwhelmed state. Ben's supervisor helps him recognize the challenges faced by family caretakers, and how information and referral of concrete services is often the first important step in the clinical process.

The illustrative vignettes in Rewarding Challenges are followed by a list of ten valuable teaching points about working with older clients. This video highlights common examples of casework with older adults, providing viewers with an accurate picture of the many dimensions of gerontological social work.
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In Depth
Many people wonder what goes into working with older clients. This video provides colorful examples that answer those questions, presented very much like "a day in the life of a gerontological social worker." You'll see the wide array of concrete services available to older clients as well as their families, the clinical aspect of working with this population, and the personal feelings to address in yourself. Tying it all together is a great list of teaching points about this population, which you'll surely keep in mind in your own practice.

From watching this video, you will:
  • Watch two common cases examples of work with older clients and their families, and learn key insights specific to this population from the coordinating supervision meetings.
  • Learn 10 valuable teaching points about work with older adults, which take into consideration their unique physical, social, cognitive, and emotional needs.
  • Become familiar with the many aspects of gerontological social work and the various professional opportunities available in this area of the field.
Length of video: 00:41:23
English subtitles available on: Stream, DVD
Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-493-2
Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-493-2
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