New Practice Model Helps Enhance Resiliency in Older Adults

By Paul R. Pace

Social Work Practice with Older Adults: A Resilience-Enhancing Guide

At a time when many clients and constituencies live with sociocultural and historical uncertainty, a method that deals with people’s reaction to stress is paramount.

Social workers can tap into the idea that their clients have a natural capacity to respond to stress or to be resilient using the new resilience-enhancing stress model (RESM), says Roberta Greene, PhD, LCSW, professor and endowed chair emerita at the School of Social Work at the University of Texas-Austin.

Greene and co-authors Nicole M. Dubus, Michael A. Wright, Taunya S. Cole, Harriet L. Cohen, and Nancy A. Greene have a new NASW Press book, Social Work Practice with Older Adults: A Resilience-Enhancing Guide. It provides the knowledge, practice strategies, and inspiration necessary for geriatric social workers to add the intervention method to their skill set.

The RESM of social work practice is an outgrowth of the profession’s interest in strengths-based, person-in-environment approaches that address social work’s mission to enhance the quality of life for all people, Roberta Greene explains.

“We have learned that this perspective is not only useful during crisis but can be a welcomed addition to social work practice with such people as those undertaking life transitions and overcoming disruption to individual, family, and community function,” she said. The method incorporates strategies that stem from risk and resilience theory as well as use of the narrative interview in assessment and intervention

The text is intended for professionals who work in multiple settings with diverse older adults, their families and communities.

NASW Press products are available in print and online formats at

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