What Social Work Jobs are Available in Elder Care?

Elder CareSome people have found a way to express their natural desire to help people everyday with careers in social work, and social work jobs available in elder care are some of the most rewarding career paths for these professionals. Geriatric social work helps elderly individuals to adjust to the unique challenges that they regularly face relating to health care, social interaction, finances and mobility. Although the medical field can be credited with prolonging the lives of seniors in their care, elderly medical care recipients are not necessarily aging gracefully; quality of life issues still exist. The demand for geriatric social work is projected to rise steadily as the population ages, and society seeks to remedy low quality of life issues for all seniors. Here are some details about available geriatric social work jobs, where they can be found and any special credentials needed to land them.

Social Work Case Manager

The job of social work case manager is one of the most common in the career field. These social workers typically utilize listening, communication and problem solving skills on a daily basis. They work in government agencies, private nursing homes as well as non profit organizations, and they help to match seniors in need with the available community resources to solve their problems. Geriatric case managers often help elderly clients to draft effective strategies that are needed to solve challenges like inadequate housing, lack of funding for utilities and the need for in home assistance. It is their job to keep their knowledge current about special programs that could benefit their elderly clients through research and networking opportunities with organizations like the Institute for Geriatric Social Work and the Geriatric Social Work Initiative. Geriatric case managers minimally have an undergraduate degree in social work as well as an associated license. More jobs are available to those with advanced degrees and the required licenses associated with those degrees. The National Association of Social Workers also administers certifications like the Social Worker in Gerontology that may enhance career options for geriatric social workers.

Director of Social Work at Nursing Homes

Senior level geriatric social workers can be found leading the performance of social services at nursing homes and long term care facilities as directors of social work. Depending on the size of the facilities, these social workers usually no longer interact directly with clients, but they oversee the work of subordinate case workers who are assigned to the facilities. They direct client health assessments, arrange appropriate care and create recreational and educational programs to keep elderly clients physically and emotionally healthy. Directors of geriatric social work at nursing home facilities usually have advanced or professional level degrees in social work as well as a minimum of seven years of experience working in geriatric social work settings.

Manager of Medical Social Services

Geriatric social workers who are employed in the area of medical social services serve as members of healthcare teams for elderly clients who require hospitalization or are registered to receive health related services through government agencies. The manager of medical social services generally supervises the evaluations of clients’ physical needs, emotional well being, living conditions and financial issues within a health care setting. They often work with elderly hospital patients who are scheduled to be discharged from health care facilities to make sure that the patient has required services in place to address their post medical care needs. The position typically requires a Master’s in Social Services degree and its associated state license.

Related Resource: Human Behavior Theory


Depending upon their levels of education, license types and acquired skills, geriatric social workers can perform a variety of activities in support of society’s aging population. For instance, these social workers can empower the elderly to continue to be active and productive citizens by pointing them in the direction of community resources that are especially set aside for them. Geriatric social workers can also provide clinical counseling and support when faced with cases of elder abuse. Whether one works directly with elderly clients or supports them indirectly, the social work jobs available in elder care are expected to be numerous and highly rewarding.