The word ‘social worker’ conjures different images for different individuals. For some they will be seen as a beacon of hope, stepping into people’s lives to make a difference whilst others may see them merely as an obstacle in their path. For some at the end of their tether, they are regarded as a blessing yet for others they may simply be a curse. The differences in opinions has to do largely with individuals’ perceptions and whether they are at the stage in their lives where they are ready to embrace change, transform or realign themselves. Regardless of these perceptions, a social worker’s role to each and every individual remains the same; to guide, support, advocate, to serve as agents of change and on occasions even a shoulder to cry on.
Being a social worker means seeing people at their worst and their best. Social workers experience devastating failures and resounding triumphs. However, for the most part, they will understand what it is to be human and to be humane.
World Social Work Day takes place on 15th March 2022. The theme this year is: ´Co-building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind.” It presents a vision and action plan to create new global values, policies and practices that develop trust, security and confidence for all people and the sustainability of the planet. The day is celebrated internationally and recognizes the hard work and dedication of social workers worldwide. Globally, social workers advocate for social justice, human rights and social development in their respective countries.
Social workers can be found in an array of environments. The PADCA team function as geriatric social workers. They help their clients manage psychological, emotional and social challenges by providing counselling and therapy, advising clients’ families about how to best support aging loved ones, serving as the bridge of communication between clients and the rest of the care team and ensuring that clients receive the services they need if or when they move between PADCA care facilities. Our services also extend to rural communities. We render services in Elandskop, Nhlazatshe, Thamboville, Trustfeed, Sweetwaters and Swayimane. Our community social worker manages 17 rural social clubs. Whilst we are a small team we strive to make the work we do meaningful.
Research indicates that the general population is living longer and that the over- 85s preferred to be called the “real seniors” rather than as “elderly”. The number of people in this age group is expected to increase by 50% by 2030. Excellent social work with older people requires it to be valued and visible. Longer, older age is something to be celebrated, not endured. Much needed social work with older people, has the power to make a significant contribution to their life satisfaction. Social workers can’t save the world but they can help make it a better place for those in need.
Written by Nevashni Chetty – Social Work Manager