Social workers protect disadvantaged people and address social inequalities, especially in impoverished or underprivileged communities. Many of these cases involve younger people because they typically have more economic insecurity than older people.
However, America’s high cost of living and economic instability have caused more seniors to become financially strained and economically insecure. According to a 2013 Economic Policy Institute publication, approximately 48% of senior citizens were found to be economically insecure. Now the percentage is growing higher because of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
It is bad enough that seniors have to face typical health challenges, but now they have to deal with COVID-19 on top of the rest. Many seniors cannot afford to pay for health care treatment or hospital visits, so they choose not to see doctors at all. Either that or they don’t have the proper education to know when to see a doctor and request treatment.
Therefore, the primary reason for poor senior care can be attributed to socioeconomic factors. Social workers need to get involved because they can help guide and educate seniors in making better choices regarding their health and wellness. Primary Medical Care Center is one of the few senior medical facilities in South Florida which can assist patients in this effort.
The Effectiveness of Social Work on Senior Care
Social work affects senior care in a variety of positive ways. One of the most effective ways is restoring their independence and self-confidence.For example, many seniors can develop specific physical or mental disabilities that can make it nearly impossible to perform their typical daily tasks. Any type of physical, functional, or cognitive decline can change a senior’s life forever. Not only will it limit their abilities to do things, but it will make them feel embarrassed, ashamed, depressed, and frustrated. These chronic feelings could make their overall health even worse over time.
If a senior patient visits a traditional doctor, they will be prescribed medication to treat their symptoms. But this still won’t help the patient overcome their daily challenges. Instead, they need an empathetic and dedicated social worker to step in and support them on their journey back to an independent lifestyle.
Social workers can advise seniors on how and where to receive the proper care to regain their independence. Some of the social services provided may include translating complicated medical information, setting up appointments with the right healthcare professionals, and arranging for home health aides to assist with the senior’s daily care needs.
For example, social workers can collaborate with home health aides regarding which daily chores and tasks must be completed. Does the senior need their meals delivered or cooked for them? Do they need someone to drive them to doctor’s appointments or other places? Once the social worker knows this information, they can relay the information to a qualified home health aide who can perform these duties for the senior.
You may wonder, “Why don’t seniors contact home health aides themselves?” Well, there could be many reasons why. Perhaps the senior is too embarrassed to contact a health care facility to talk about their problems. Maybe they don’t realize that home health aides even exist. Whatever the reason, social workers can answer seniors’ questions and guide them on a path to a better and happier life.
Let’s sum up how social workers can help seniors:
- Advocate for the seniors and coordinate the proper services they need.
- Explain a doctor’s treatment plan in layman’s terms so the senior can understand it.
- Restore a senior’s independence and confidence.
The simple truth is that doctors don’t spend enough time with patients to understand all their medical needs. Prescribing medication and recommending treatment plans are not enough to address senior care needs. Besides, that’s assuming the senior will even show up to a doctor’s appointment without embarrassment.
So many seniors in South Florida don’t even want to leave their homes because they are embarrassed about incontinence and other humiliating conditions. But since social workers come to seniors’ homes, it is easier for seniors to seek help from them. Seniors feel more comfortable in their homes, so they have more confidence to contact a social worker instead of a doctor.
Primary Medical Care Center and Social Work
Primary Medical Care Center is one of the few senior medical facilities in South Florida which provides social worker services to seniors. We have a case management department with social workers and community service providers who are more than willing to assist and advise seniors.
If you or a loved one is a senior with functional, physical, or cognitive decline, you might have questions about the next steps you should take for proper care. The best thing you can do to get started is to contact our senior care center at (305) 751-1500. We’ll make an appointment for a social worker or case manager to come to your house and discuss your current health care situation in greater detail.