Nancy R. Hooyman

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online December 2009 | | DOI:


The rapid growth of the older population nationally and globally means that nearly all social workers will interact with older adults and their families, regardless of practice setting. Given this, it can be argued that all social workers need foundation gerontological competencies and content. Gerontology—the study of aging—is a complex, multidisciplinary, and dramatically changing field with a growing evidence base about the social, psychological, and physiological changes associated with aging and the salient practice interventions and policy implications for social workers and allied disciplines. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of aging, gerontological social workers, perhaps more than those in other fields of practice, must be knowledgeable about research on aging by disparate health care professions, psychology, sociology, environmental design, and anthropology. Gerontological social work is practiced in a wide range of community-based and institutional settings with active, healthy elders and with those who face chronic illness and disability. Leadership roles for gerontological social workers are emerging within the context of new initiatives, such as civic engagement and health enhancement. Because informal caregivers are central to the care of elders, social workers must also be competent in supporting families of older adults. Toward that end, there is a growing body of evidence on the effectiveness of social work interventions with older adults and their families or other informal caregivers. This entry reflects the broad scope of issues associated with aging and older adults. Although aging is a global phenomenon, the focus here is on evidence-based resources primarily in the United States.

Article.  7320 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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