Social workers offer a valued and important service to our Debra Levy Eldercare Associate clients. More than half of our Aging Life CareTM Managers are social workers with a master’s level degree in social work, specializing in geriatrics, gerontology or aging. Their goal is to help maintain and enhance our clients’ quality of life. With aging come many changes in physical, mental, environmental and/or social functioning and our social workers can help an individual and their family navigate through those changes. Our social workers usually begin with an assessment to determine their client’s strengths and challenges, but also perform a number of other tasks in the course of their work including accompanying them to doctors’ appointments, helping them tour facilities, helping siblings who can’t agree about how best to meet their aging parents needs to find a path forward, and just being present and providing emotional support to help our clients cope.
Do you ever wonder why social workers choose that profession and what drives them to do this difficult and often very complex work? Our social workers, Susan Blum, Teresa Boring, Ellen Lauer, Maria Perry, Amy Ullman and Loretta Vitale shared what they love most about being a social worker. Here are some of their thoughts and feelings:
Maria Perry: I like helping people solve problems that they didn’t realize they could solve.
Loretta Vitale: Social work is a remarkable profession in understanding individuals as having bio-psycho-spiritual-social strengths and needs. We social workers always approach our work with individuals from a strengths perspective, whether engaging with vibrant, active elders, or with elders with significant health issues and/or experiencing major cognitive impairment.
Teresa Boring: I always thought that what I would most enjoy about social work is the one-on-one interaction with clients, and don’t get me wrong, I do. However, some of my most satisfying moments have been fighting the bureaucracy at Long Term Care Insurance and Health Insurance companies who are denying coverage to my clients with dementia who do not even realize they are being mistreated in any way. Advocating for and winning against systems much bigger than myself, for clients who are truly disenfranchised by illness, are some of my most satisfying moments as a social worker.
Amy Ullman: I enjoy getting to know my clients on an individual level, because when I hear their life stories, it helps me to understand them and the people they are today.
Susan Blum: I love that it is a very flexible field. It has allowed me to work part time, when I have needed to, throughout my career. Social work allows one to work with many different populations, in different settings, and in different capacities. I love that I have been able to work as a psychotherapist in low fee clinics, private practice and in nursing homes. I love that my skills have allowed me to work as an Aging Life Care manager, providing support and services to individuals and their families. I love that social work allows us to view the person in their environment, and determine what it will take to improve someone’s life. I love that sometimes, making very small changes, can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
Our social workers are essential to the work we do at DLEA and so this month, we celebrate our dedicated and hard-working social workers. They embody the role of Aging Life Care Managers. Lastly, we proudly remember our founder, Debra Levy, an extraordinary social worker, for her passion and commitment to the social work profession and for making DLEA a leader in the field of Aging Life Care Management.