March is Social Work Appreciation Month. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) helps to lead this year’s celebration with the theme “Social Workers Are Essential”.
Social work benefits our society on the whole. Social workers are essential, as they help individuals cope with life challenges. They also strive to raise awareness of issues and serve as an advocate for others.
Within the healthcare industry, there has been steady growth and an increased demand for social workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13 percent growth is projected in the overall employment of social workers from 2019 to 2029.
As one of 25 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Old Colony Elder Services (OCES) is a human services organization with a mission to support the independence and dignity of older adults and individuals with disabilities by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living. OCES’ employees, many which are licensed social workers, assist individuals who are experiencing changes or challenges related to their overall physical and mental wellness, housing or living situation, financial circumstance and more.
OCES’ care managers, protective service workers, administrative staff and extensive network of providers and direct service workers also contribute to the social work profession. “We all work together in providing a number of programs that serve older adults, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers. Many OCES programs, such as Adult Family Care, Home Care and Nutrition, provide life-supporting care that enables individuals to live independently within the community for as long as possible while preserving their dignity and quality of life”, said Nicole Long, OCES’ Chief Executive Officer.
OCES also has hundreds of dedicated volunteers throughout their service area of 23 communities who contribute to the social work profession. OCES’ Nutrition program volunteers deliver more than 44,000 nutritious meals a month to homebound older adults and individuals with disabilities. Over the past year, social isolation, food insecurity and other issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic have dramatically increased the need for home-delivered meals. The work of OCES volunteers is essential to the well-being of so many.
OCES recognizes and appreciates social workers and all who contribute to the social work profession for making a positive difference in the lives of individuals and families over the short- and long-term which will resonate for generations.
All of OCES programs remain in place and are operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Older adults, individuals with disabilities, and caregivers who are in need of assistance, contact OCES’ Information and Referral Department at 508-584-1561.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social Workers, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm