Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Carol Kuechler


Social Work


The purpose of this study was to explore the role and experience of social workers who provide services to older adults in the community. With the unprecedented demographic shift and multitude of challenges, problems and barriers traditionally associated with aging, a paradigm shift from a problem-based focus to one that emphasizes health promotion is gaining visibility. This shift in focus is relevant for social workers who work with older adults in a variety of social service settings. Eight licensed social workers working in community-based agencies were interviewed to include social workers' voices with a focus on how they utilize the health promotion framework of Vital Involvement to identify and assess older adults' strengths, structural and environmental barriers and levels of engagement with activities and support systems. Findings showed that these community-based social workers' practice reflects principles and processes congruent with health promotion. Implications for practice suggest that future social workers who work with older adults, living in the community, could benefit by utilizing the Vital Involvement Framework, because it guides them through a systematic exploration and assessment of all areas of the older adult's life.

Included in

Social Work Commons