Date of Paper

4-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Carol F. Kuechler

Abstract

This study explored social workers’ views about their motivations, skills and rewards in work with older adults and how to increase social workers’ interest in working with older adults. Seven masters level social workers who work with older adults and are members of an association of social workers who work with older adults in the community, participated in interviews about their practice. The participants emphasized the importance of empathy, listening and having knowledge about community resources as essential to competent work with older adults. The participants shared stories about how they developed an interest in working with older adults that reflected the importance of family, volunteer and work experiences. Each participant shared rewards they experienced such as being a resource in times of need, being present to listen, and being able to offer care and compassion. Implications for education and future research are highlighted as ways to engage future social workers in practice with older adults.

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