The Practice of Social Work with Older Adults


Insights and Opportunities for a Growing Profession

By Mary Kaplan, M.S.W.

ISBN 978-1-938870-86-6
6 x 9 paper
approx. 185 pages
© January 2020

Product Description


Part memoir and part professional guide, The Practice of Social Work with Older Adults offers a comprehensive and lively look at the rich and rewarding opportunities available to those who seek to work with older clients, and provides insights to guide readers in their own professional choices in the field.

Coming soon!

About the Author


SECTION I: The Development of Geriatric Social Work

  1. The Evolution of the Social Work Profession and Geriatric Social Work

SECTION II: Basic Principles of Working with Older Adults

  1. Characteristics of Older Adults
  2. Skills and Personal Resources of the Social Worker
  3. Ethical Issues in Social Work Practice with Older Adults
  4. Effective Counseling Theories and Orientation

SECTION III: Issues and Challenges in Late Life

  1. Mental Health
  2. Mental Competence
  3. Social Support
  4. Economic Resources
  5. Living Environments
  6. Substance Abuse

SECTION IV: Geriatric Social Work: Settings and Opportunities

  1. Medical Settings
  2. Long-Term Care
  3. Geriatric Care Management
  4. Community Agencies and Services
  5. Psychiatric Settings
  6. Academia, Advocacy, and Public Policy

EPILOGUE: The Future of Geriatric Social Work

Coming soon!

Mary Kaplan, M.S.W., is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in healthcare and geriatrics for over 40 years as a clinician, administrator, educator, and community activist. She is retired from the University of South Florida School of Aging Studies, where she was the Director of the Student Internship Program and taught courses on mental health and aging, geriatric care management, and Alzheimer’s disease. She is the author of five books and has given presentations and conducted workshops throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia.

2 reviews for The Practice of Social Work with Older Adults

  1. Administrator

    “Based on over 40 years of experience, Mary Kaplan has produced a wonderful book providing a unique view of the field of Geriatric Social Work. As a pioneer in the development of social work practice with older adults and development of innovative approaches such as Alzheimer’s Special Care Units, as well as years of clinical and advocacy experience in diverse settings, Kaplan provides both a big picture view of working with older adults and detailed information relevant to clinical practice, teaching, advocacy, and public policy. Besides being filled with essential factual information and tips for clinical practice, the book communicates the joy and fulfillment that can come with a lifetime of devotion to the special needs of older adults and their families. It is filled with inspiring case studies that illustrate the challenges and rewards that come with a focus on Geriatric Social Work. The book will instill a sense of pride in the many advances in the field of social work as a whole, and provides students with a vision of the many steps ahead for social work and related professions to address the challenges of a rapidly aging population. I highly recommend this book both for students and experienced social workers who want to contribute to the ongoing struggles of fighting ageism, improving clinical practice, and promoting much-needed advocacy for policies that provide services and supports for older adults and their families.”

    —William E. Haley, Ph.D., Professor, School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida

  2. Administrator

    The Practice of Social Work with Older Adults by Mary Kaplan provides the reader with deep insights about the experience of helping people who are in late life in a truly unique and distinct way. Mary Kaplan integrates her unique and distinct perspectives—from 41 years in practice—and from the numerous classes of emerging social workers she taught about the nuances of gerontological social work. This book provides a clear vision of policy-based practice by illuminating how social work practice in the field of aging has been informed by evolving programs that provide services for older people and thereby available interventions. Readers have the opportunity to consider the essential skills, values and principles of successful and effective gerontological social work. Understanding the difference between issues and challenges that are found across different settings and populations is critical to help social workers understand the nuances of practice with subpopulation of older adults. Finally, the author presents a view of the future, which beckons and encourages social workers with skill and insight to join the ranks who will be caring for our own older adults with compassion and energy. The Practice of Social Work with Older Adults is a book full of important life lessons and a preview of the potential for meaningful social work practice with older people and their families.”

    —Deborah Waldrop, PhD, LMSW, Professor, University at Buffalo School of Social Work

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