Part of a social worker's responsibilities often includes finding ways to keep the elderly in their homes without compromising their overall safety and welfare. One of the ways to make this possible is through implementation of a community frailty program. These programs offer key services designed to assess the needs of older members in the community, along with programs specifically designed to help improve their ability to maintain their independence as long as possible.
Challenges of the Elderly
It's not uncommon for people to spend their retirement years in small communities, however rural areas often present unique challenges as geriatric resources are typically limited. In addition, in many cases the children of seniors have settled in large metropolitan areas, and visits with their parents are restricted to an occasional holiday. As retirees continue to age however, they often find an increased need for assistance in areas such as:
- Medication management
- Cognitive evaluation and assistance
- Physical decline
Unfortunately, a smaller community's only option for those beginning to face these types of challenges may be placement in a local nursing home.
Expanding Care in Smaller Communities
While most smaller communities have at least a few programs such as home meal deliveries, some communities are deciding to offer additional programs designed to assist local elderly residents even further. Some social workers and others in the field of geriatrics are developing frailty programs for rural areas. These programs help to identify the specific needs of elderly residents as well as provide specific activities and programs tailored to help area seniors maintain their independence as long as possible.
Development of a frailty program will typically include tests such as the Rapid Geriatric Assessment, as well as group programs designed to address the specific challenges of seniors. Participants in the programs can benefit from the increased social interaction, as well as fun group exercises designed to improve both their physical and cognitive abilities.
If you would like more information on this and related topics, visit the Behavioral Health section of our blog.
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