Social workers are uniquely poised to serve the needs of our nation’s aging population.
The United States is aging. The number of people aged 60 and older is expected to increase by 33 percent between 2013 and 2020. By 2060 one out of four people living in the United States will be aged 65 and over.
Social workers are uniquely poised to serve the needs of our nation’s aging population, helping people who are older live a better quality of life and as independently and with as much dignity as possible.
Social workers do this by focusing on the physical, psychological, social and economic aspects of daily living. They also work in areas that have direct contact with people who are older, including senior centers, banks, insurance companies and investment firms, family service agencies, nursing homes and employee assistance programs.
As the nation commemorates Older Americans Month, NASW presents this toolkit to enhance media coverage of these issues and of other topics related to aging in the United States. This guide also offers resources to social workers who work with our aging population.
This toolkit includes statistics and resources on aging, media story ideas, and can help reporters find social workers with expertise on aging issues.
The following social workers are among the many experts NASW can suggest for media interviews.
Bailey is a professor at the Simmons College School of Social Work and a past president of the National Association of Social Workers. Bailey, who is a contributor to the Huffington Post, can address the issues facing LGBT older adults, as well as how HIV/AIDS has impacted older adults.
Cox is chair of the Stockton Center on Successful Aging in New Jersey and an associate professor of social work at Stockton University. Cox can talk about how older adults and family caregivers address HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other illnesses.
Edmonds Crewe is dean and professor of social work at Howard University and director of the Howard University Multidisciplinary Gerontology Center. Edmonds Crewe can comment on older adults who care for grandchildren, aging in the African American community, and the challenges of family caregiving.
Gorin is a social work professor at Plymouth State University, executive director of the NASW–New Hampshire Chapter, and a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. A nationally recognized expert on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act, Gorin participated in the 1995 and 2005 White House Conferences on Aging (WHCoA) and in a 2015 WHCoA-hosted regional forum.
Morano is an associate professor of social work at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and director of the Silberman Hartford Center of Excellence in Aging and Diversity. Morano is an expert on both older adult health and the eldercare workforce.
Morrow-Howell is a professor at Brown School of Social Work at Washington University and director of Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging. Morrow-Howell is an expert on the benefits of civic engagement among older adults and the ways in which older adults contribute to their communities.
Vladeck is the director of the Aging in Place Initiative of the United Hospital Fund, which assists communities, organizations, and government in developing innovative support programs for people aging in place. Vladeck, who was the founding director of the first comprehensive NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) Supportive Service Program, is an expert in long-term services and supports, especially home and community-based services.
Older Americans Act issue brief
Advocates for increased funding for the Older Americans Act to enhance older adults’ dignity, health, and independence.
NASW Standards for Social Work Practice with Family Caregivers of Older Adults
Designed to enhance social work practice with family caregivers of older adults and to help the public understand the role of professional social work in supporting family caregivers
Standards and Indicators for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice
Provides guidance on the implementation of culturally competent social work services.
Help Starts Here™
This NASW blog provides consumer-oriented information about aging and the role of social work in supporting older adults and family caregivers; includes online databases to locate social workers specializing in aging.
Caregiving and Care Sharing: A Life Course Perspective
Provides guidance for caregivers of older adults and examines the experiences of older caregivers caring for younger family members
Empowering Social Workers for Practice with Vulnerable Older Adults
Teaches the generalist social worker how to work with vulnerable older adults and presents a useful model to guide social workers in assessing capacity and making intervention decisions
Foundations of Social Work Practice in the Field of Aging
Describes knowledge and skills required in direct practice, group work, and macro practice with older adults; outlines the Geriatric Social Work Competencies and suggests how these competencies can be integrated into foundation curriculum
Incorporating Intersectionality in Social Work Practice, Research, Policy, and Education
Investigates how the social constructions of race, class, gender, age, and sexual orientation intersect, contributing to the oppression of marginalized groups
Perspectives on Productive Aging
Emphasizes the social work profession’s responsibility to promote older adults’ community engagement and to advocate for elder rights and quality of life
Social Work Speaks
Includes revised NASW policy statements on Long-Term Services and Supports and End-of-Life Decision Making and Care, along with statements on Aging and Wellness and other issues related to aging
For more information or to arrange an interview with one of our experts, contact NASW Public Relations Manager Greg Wright at