For Applicants

Why Work With Older Persons and Their Families?

For many people today, old age is a time of growth. Thanks to the heightened awareness of nutrition and fitness and advances in health care, people now live longer, healthier lives and pursue a vast array of interests. With the 85-and-older population growing, social workers have exciting new opportunities to help older persons remain vital and independent.

“When my first-year field instructor told me that within eight months I would want to work with older person, I doubted it. I wanted to work with children and families. But within three months, I changed my mind. Working with the elderly has been one of the most rewarding, demanding, and fulfilling decisions I have ever made.” - Lisa ‘02

Two IAP students share some old photos with a interested elderly woman.“Older adults have unique perspectives, invaluable experiences and diverse needs. Many have spent their lives healthy and independent and should have the support, resources and advocacy to maintain their quality of life as the aging process sets in.” Jennifer ‘04

"Providing services at a rural mental health clinic, I often find older adults the most interesting and motivated clients. The IAP prepared me to recognize and meet their need to review their lives in a way that enhances their self-esteem and dignity. When they begin to realize the meaning of all they've accomplished despite some incredible challenges, and all they can still accomplish, their faces light up. What a joy to share in that moment! It rejuvenates me and makes me grateful to be a social worker.” Jim '01

 Elder care professional and an elderly woman.or more information about opportunities and career paths for social workers in aging, take a look at "Escalating Need for Geriatric Social Workers" from the John A. Hartford Foundation

Aging Population Demographics

For demographic information on the aging population, download the presentation “Aging in America: the Impact on the Social Work Profession” PDF document

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Careers in Aging

Richard and Nikki smile for the camera!Dynamic opportunities exist for you to:

  • Empower older adults and their families to locate and access the care they require.
  • Facilitate family support, provide counseling and other direct services, and coordinate care delivered through professional service systems.
  • Advocate and lobby for policies that will improve the well-being of older people.
  • Develop and manage innovative policies and service for older personals and their families.

See what IAP alumni are doing now in our Alumni Profiles

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Read about unique opportunities with older adults in...

Cover of UAlbany Magazine, Spring 2006 Issue

“Keeping the Senior Years Golden – with Help from UAlbany’s School of Social Welfare”

“The Baby Boomer generation – 78 million people born between 1946 and 1964 – turns 60 this year. As the nation prepares for this explosion in its elderly population, UAlbany’s School of Social Welfare is exploring new ways to help seniors stay young.”

Read the full text of this article from the Spring 2006 UAlbany Magazine... (PDF, 576 KB).