Older People, Ageing and Social Work: Knowledge for Practice

Older People, Ageing and Social Work: Knowledge for Practice

Mark Hughes and Karen Heycock, Allen and Unwin

This text is a comprehensive, pragmatic journey through key issues for older people, people with disabilities or mental health conditions and others who experience ageing in different ways. It examines the potential for social workers to make a difference with older people, their families and communities in order to maximise their quality of life. Highly readable and written for Australian policy, society and service context, it applies knowledge from theory, research, policy and practice wisdom to social work practice in a range of settings and diverse populations.

Issues are highlighted including ageism; elder abuse; the less than optimal outcomes of interaction with the service system for people facing a double disadvantage (such as Indigenous older people and older people from a culturally diverse background).

The prevalence of a primary focus on practical service supports such as home care, to the exclusion of individually tailored support is also discussed. The need to advocate for policy change and stronger alliances with older people’s representative organisations is strongly recommended.

This book makes a positive contribution and addresses the need to improve practice to meet the challenges of working with older Australians both now and in the future.

I highly recommend this text as a practice handbook for students, new and experienced practitioners to share with colleagues, so the authors’ aim to “stimulate an ongoing critical and reflective engagement with the complexities involved in older people’s lives and in social work practice with older people” is achieved.

Pauline Armour is the Community Care Development Manager with UnitingCare Ageing NSW &ACT

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