“It is important that it isn’t assumed that anyone can work with older people; older people deserve to have people with the right knowledge and skills working with them. Some of the knowledge and skills is the same as for working with other people, but there are some specialist elements too.” (Older person)
Social work with older people is one of the most important areas of social care. Older people are the largest group of adult social care users and it is important that they can access the level of specific social work that they need. Social workers are in a unique position to work with older people and to complement the roles of other professions and agencies.
Social work is a single profession with core knowledge, skills and values. However, for social workers working with older people the core ‘skill set’ that all social workers possess is enhanced by an additional set of more specific capabilities.
There is a Capabilities Statement for social workers in England who work with older people. This sets out the knowledge, skills and values that social workers need to work well with older people.
Alongside this Statement there is a Continuing Professional Development Pathway that sets out how social workers can learn and develop, and be supported to acquire the capabilities in the Statement.