March is Social Work Month and a time to learn more about the profession and the contributions that social workers have made and continue to make. This year’s theme, according to the National Association of Social Workers, is “The Time is Right for Social Work”.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the nation. Social workers play an important role in society, touching millions of lives each day by providing assistance and guidance towards resources.

Helping Older Adults Age in Place

Every day approximately 10,000 Americans turn 65, and this will continue until 2030. Many are already coping with some health issues, yet prefer to remain living independently at home. What are their options as they age and circumstances change?

With a team of licensed social workers, as well as care managers, protective services workers, administrative staff and an extensive network of providers and direct service workers who also contribute to the social work profession, Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), a local Aging Services Access Point (ASAP), helps older adults by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living.

OCES staff perform independent, conflict-free assessments, care coordination and administrative support throughout many different programs that enable older adults and individuals with disabilities to age in place. For example, home-based care options are available that include care management, personal care, homemaking, grocery shopping, laundry, companionship, home delivered meals and more. These “Home Care” services can be provided to an older adult in their own home, in elder housing or a private apartment.

Other options include Supportive Housing, Congregate Housing and Adult Family Care programs. Supportive Housing integrates community resources, information, and services for older individuals who reside at a particular local housing authority site. Congregate Housing is an alternative option for older adults and people with disabilities who are interested in a shared living environment to prevent premature or unwanted institutionalization and/or homelessness, or for those who find it difficult to live alone.

Adult Family Care supports shared living in the comfort of an older adult’s own home or a caregiver’s home. This may be an economical alternative for those who are faced with the prospect of no longer being able to manage alone. OCES offers a variety of other services and can help navigate the process.

Essentially, social workers can provide guidance about a wide range of life changes and challenges. They can assist with physical and mental health issues, housing issues, financial hardships and much more.

OCES celebrates and thanks all social work professionals who help improve the lives of individuals and families!