Letters to the Editor (May 2011)

Advocate for Our Elders

I was greatly heartened to read NASW President James J. Kelly’s piece in the April 2011 issue of the NASW News about the importance of gerontological social work. Indeed, while those of us practicing in this field face many challenges, we also “are able to work with many role models, many of whom display tremendous strength and wisdom.”

But while recruiting and training workers, we also must continue to advocate for our elders, educating others about aging's negative and positive aspects. Growing older can bring physical and cognitive decline, but it also can bring greater self-knowledge and wisdom, increased leisure time, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. We must depathologize and demystify aging to realize the greater acceptance of, and interest in, this important life-stage, that we seek.

Again, I thank President Kelly and NASW for their support of gerontological social work and those of us who have committed themselves to this practice.

Marcie S. Gitlin, LMSW
New York, N.Y.