Jenell Neufeld, LCSW is a social worker at
Providence Health & Services in Portland. She offers the following
perspective on her work:
"Age is a decision, not a prognosis. Aging is no guarantee you'll experience dementia, incontinence or falls (although the risk becomes higher for these problems). Fortunately, older adults are as wonderfully varied as other cohort groups. Unfortunately, stereotypes about aging persist everywhere. The opportunity to challenge myths and misinformation is ripe for social work intervention and advocacy. Looming demographics of aging Americans point to the need for more geriatric trained social workers.
Geriatric social work provides a varied and rewarding experience. I've spent my entire career working with older adults, their families and service networks. They've become my mentors and teachers as I've journeyed with them through challenges and blessings of aging. Health care social workers can be instrumental in optimizing older adult function using a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach toward quality of life. I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing, or anything more rewarding.
I've found there are 3 social work axioms, cemented during my time at the School of Social Work, which still guide the work I do: (1) Not everyone needs a social worker, and those who do don't need a social worker all of the time. (2) 50% of all problems will resolve without any intervention. (3) It only takes one social worker to change a light bulb, but the light bulb has to want to change".