Social work practice with older people

Perspectives from East Africa

Authored by: Helmut Spitzer , Zena M. Mabeyo

The Handbook of Social Work and Social Development in Africa

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472468512
eBook ISBN: 9781315557359
Adobe ISBN: 9781317029380


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This chapter examines social work’s role in working with older people in countries within the East African Community (EAC), namely, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. As in other parts of the world, the exponential growth in the number of people above 60 years of age, on the one hand, and increasing longevity, on the other, poses a serious challenge to healthcare services for, and social policies pertaining to, older people in society. Yet, contemporary policies in the region are not responding adequately to these challenges. The social work profession, too, has not been effective in its response to older people who represent the most neglected area of social work practice in East Africa (Twikirize, Spitzer, Wairire, Mabeyo, & Rutikanga, 2014). In this chapter, it is argued that social workers need to work in close collaboration with health professionals and policy makers to engage actively with this population as part of their commitment to working with vulnerable groups in society.

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