AASWSW logo color


Field Education Office Professional Development Workshop

BSW Cording & MSW Hooding

group of aging adults09.12.17

In recognition of September as National Healthy Aging Month, here are some facts to consider from the CSWE-National Center for Gerontological Social Work Education, Aging Facts Sheet:

  • Between 2010 and 2030, “Baby Boomers” will enter the age of 65 cohort, resulting in 21% of Americans being over age 65. This represents a 100% increase in over 20 years, compared to a 30% growth in the total population.
  • Among adults age 65 and older, 5.1 million, or about 13%, are age 85 and older. By 2050 about 21 million people will be age 85 and older, representing a 500% increase over 65 years.
  • By 2025, 1 in 26 Americans can expect to live to age 100, compared to 1 in 500 in 2000. Ageism may now be more pervasive than sexism or racism.
  • Of low-income elders, 22% report that their health needs go unmet compared to 2.5% of middle- and upper-income elders.
  • Fewer than 25% of older adults who need mental health services receive treatment. A major barrier to treatment is the shortage of geriatric mental health professionals.
  • About 66% of older adults live in a family setting in the community– with a partner, child, or sibling – although not necessarily in a multigenerational household.
  • One to 3 million Americans age 65 and older are LGBT (or 3‐8% of the older adult populations), which is projected to double by 2030.
  • Older LGBT adults currently are more likely to live alone, and less likely to be living with life partners and to have children than their heterosexual counterparts.

So, what does this mean for the College of Social Work?  First, it means that geriatric social workers will be in high demand over the next 10-20 years. Studies estimate the need for a minimum of 70,000 social workers just to handle the “greying” of the baby boomers. Unfortunately, national studies indicated that fewer than 3% of social work students currently specialize in aging while 71% of MSW graduates will have provided some geriatric intervention by the time they graduate. (Pace, 2014)

This indicates a definite need for geriatric social workers. It supports the notion that working with the aging populations provides social workers with opportunities to work with and between social networks and service delivery systems to ensure that they are providing continuity of care as this population ages. Because aging does not happen in isolation, geriatric social workers must be competent in all areas of health and mental health, individual, family and group settings, and they must be culturally competent and knowledgeable with all types of interventions and levels of service (WHO, 2017). This makes September a great time to thank a geriatric social worker, not only for what they are doing for our aging population but also for how they are preparing the future for all of us.

Interested in Geriatric Social Work?  The College of Social Work offers a Certificate in Gerontology.

We also invite you to attend:
Geriatric Journeys: A Social Work Perspective
September 25, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 a.m.  
Hamilton Lobby
“This interactive experience will take the participant through the challenge and barriers of the aging process, provide resources and tips to help the management of care for our Aging population”

Council on Social Work Education, (n.d). Facts on Aging. Retrieved from https://www.lsu.edu/chse/socialwork/files/facts-on-aging.pdf
Pace, P.R., (2014, February). Need for Geriatric Social Workers grow. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/news/2014/02/geriatric-social-work.asp
World Health Organization, (2017, May). Ten Facts on ageing and health.(WHO Retrieved from http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/ageing/en/

#USCCOSW Latest Tweets

© 2018 University of South Carolina Board of Trustees | Privacy Policy