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Health and Aging Issues Shared Interest Group

Member News

Join us at our next meeting! Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month (except July & August) from 4:00-5:30pm at the NASW-MA chapter office.  NASW- MA is located on the 4th floor of 14 Beacons Street, suite 409, Boston, MA 02108.  Parking is available in metered spots around the Statehouse and Boston Commons or for a fee in the Boston Commons Garage.  The Office is also an easy walk from the following MBTA stations:  Park Street (red & green lines) & State Street (orange & blue lines).  Call the office at  617-227-9635 to confirm scheduled meetings.

Mission Statement

The Health and Aging Issues Shared Interest Group is dedicated to identifying the concerns, needs and strengths of our aging society and their families. We support professional growth and connection among social workers, caregivers and others working and interested in the field of elder care.

What We Do

  • Avdocate on elder issues.
  • Encourage coalition-building to better coordinate service delivery.
  • Act as a clearinghouse for educational and training opportunities.
  • Promote awareness of resources to families, caregivers and the community.
  • Advocate for quality mental health services.
  • Identify and advocate for the particular needs of minority elders.
  • Provide opportunities to social workers for networking, support and training.

Aging Facts

  • We are a rapidly aging society. The U.S. population of adults aged 65 and older is expected to double to 70 million within 30 years (American Geriatrics Society, 2000).
  • Key issues in later life. Our aging society faces a range of social, physical and emotional needs. Specialized interventions are required in areas such as economic security, care at home, housing, health and mental health, substance and medication use and abuse, and elder abuse and neglect.
  • Need for more social workers in aging. Approximately 130,000 new social workers will be required in the next decade, and many of them will be needed to work primarily with older adults. The demand for geriatric social workers is highly likely to represent the greatest increase in job opportunities across social work practice setting (U.S. Bureau of Labor, [OES], 2004). Currently, less than five percent of social workers identify aging as their primary area of practice (IGSW, 2004).
  • Core competencies and skills for practice with older adults. Social work practice with older adults requires the use of a broad range of skills including the abiltiy to conduct biopsychosocial assessments, provide care management, and work in interdisciplinary teams. Social work with elders also requires knowledge of health delivery and financing systems, ethical and legal issues related to later life, and the impact of generational experiences on elders and their families.
  • Diverse settings for practice with elders. Social workers in a wide range of settings will need to obtain basic geriatric social work competencies in order to work effectively with older adults and their families. As the aging population grows, social workers will increasingly encounter older clients in many practice settings, including health care, mental health, family services, child welfare, and a range of other practice settings (Rosen and Zlotnick, 2001).

Suggested Links

May 2011 is Older Americans Month:

Administration on Aging:

Elder Abuse Research and Training Resources:
Mass Home Care:

Massachusetts Gerontology Association:

Long Term Care in Massachusetts Fact Sheet:
Age Info:

Please contact the Shared Interest Group co-chairs with any questions:  

Robin Postill:  robin.postill (at)

Caitlin Ryan:  ctryan25 (at)



elder elderly aged aging geriatric gerontology older adults nasw committee meeting SIG

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National Association of Social Workers - Massachusetts Chapter
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