Social workers : their role in preventing social isolation of seniors
Social isolation among seniors is a real issue requiring serious attention. Thankfully, solutions exist to help address this concern. Social workers, through their actions in everyday life, play a crucial role in the prevention and management of problems related to loneliness among the elderly population.
At Visavie, we strongly believe in the value of social workers within society. Through their work, they contribute to the quality of life and well-being of our elderly loved ones.
Social isolation among seniors : what to know ?
As the population continues to age, issues related to social isolation and loneliness among seniors are taking on more importance. The impact is real and consequences of social isolation can be observed in various living environments for seniors :
- Accelerated loss of independence ;
- Depression and/or dementia ;
- Increased risk of hospitalization ;
- Chronic fatigue ;
- And much more, including an association with mistreatment of seniors.
That’s why it’s especially important to know how to identify the causes and understand them. The objective is to use this valuable information in order to prevent the harmful effects of social isolation on the global health and autonomy of the elderly.
The role of the social worker with seniors
By definition, the role of social workers is to help any individual facing challenging social situations. Through an adapted approach and some concrete interventions, a social worker can provide the necessary support to a senior in order to reduce the risks associated with solitude and isolation among seniors, such as :
- loss of autonomy ;
- violence problems ;
- poverty ;
- access to rent ;
- difficulties to adapt to a new living environment ;
Understand the causes of social isolation among seniors
To reduce social inequalities resulting from the isolation of seniors, the first step is to make sure to fully understand the actual causes. It is therefore an important role for the social worker : to identify and analyze the responsible factors of social isolation both for the elderly population in general, and for each individual senior concerned by this problem.
Although each situation is different, here are some common causes that may lead to social isolation for older adults:
- the loss of a loved one, such as a spouse;
- a relocation (causing significant changes in daily social contacts);
- a decrease in the person’s mobility (physical constraints, inability to drive, etc.);
- the onset of health problems;
- family conflicts ;
- poverty ;
Prevent adverse consequences to physical and mental health
By a good understanding of the causes of social isolation, it becomes possible to act in a preventive way. In establishing a specific treatment plan for each senior, social workers play a key role in reducing the risks and consequences of social isolation. The social worker’s understanding of the needs and issues of seniors can also help to guide each person to the right resources, such as a support group for example. The professional can also intervene more directly in order to help the elderly person to adapt properly to the changes related to aging. Specifically, social workers can also suggest activities, which will be beneficial for the social integration of seniors in the community. With the support of the family and close relatives, whenever possible, they can also help to plan the transition to a seniors’ residence that is well adapted to the person’s needs.
Through social work, it is then possible to prevent some harmful consequences of loneliness and social isolation on seniors’ physical and mental health.
Social work: a commitment for greater respect of seniors
Through their involvement within the community and the public network, social workers ensure that the dignity and well-being of seniors are respected. Their objective is to ensure that each senior can live in a pleasant and safe environment offering good social support. Naturally, all of this is accomplished with the utmost respect for the privacy of the elderly. Social workers receive specific university level education in order to be able to respond efficiently to any situation.
Our vision of social work at Visavie
Being involved with seniors for many years, we, at Visavie, understand the importance of social work in our community. We also share a common mission: to ensure the well-being of seniors on a daily basis. Through concrete actions, our advisors and professional caregivers are also involved in improving the quality of life of seniors and their family caregivers with humanity and respect. Our experience allows us to appreciate the valuable role of a social worker, particularly in the prevention and management of social isolation among seniors.
This is why Visavie places a special emphasis on the importance of a good collaboration with social workers. Especially, by working as a team to help them find the right seniors’ residence, according to the specific needs of each senior. The goal is to ensure a smooth and simple transition into a new living environment that is well adapted to each individual.