Sally has suffered from the ravages of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is responsible for several mortalities world over and is second only to cancer. Abnormally high blood pressure strains blood vessels and other organs including the brain, kidneys, and eyes. High blood pressure predisposes the patients to the development of heart diseases, kidney disease, vascular dementia and strokes. Statistics by the WHO indicate that the direct economic costs incurred in hypertension management globally were $475 billion annually (Patricia , Megan, Kristi, Paul, Paul, & Jiang, 2005). For poor and old members of the community, treatment and management of hypertension and age related ailments could prove to be a daunting task. Communication and supervisory channels in case this group of vulnerable patients requires emergency medical intervention then becomes quite difficult. The sudden nature of escalation of pathologies associated with hypertension requires quick and urgent mobilization of the patient to prevent damage to parts of the brain and heart. High blood pressure has several risk factors including age, diet, race etc. with African-Americans like Sally being at the highest risk of suffering from hypertension though research in this dimension is still underway.
African-Americans tend to develop hypertension way earlier compared to other groups in the U.S., attributed to genetic factors. Blacks have a loci within their genome that codes for the expression of hypertension (Lawton, 1982) in case some environmental and socio-economic factors are facilitated. Furthermore, Blacks are seen to respond in a different manner to hypertension medications (Patricia, Megan, Kristi, Paul, Paul, & Jiang, 2005) (Patricia, Megan, Kristi, Paul, Paul, & Jiang, 2005). Research also indicates the vulnerability of blacks in the US to obesity compared to other blacks elsewhere. Other African –American hypertension risk factors have been linked to; advanced age, obesity, and family history of hypertension, diabetes, improper dietary practices, alcoholism, and excessive smoking. Our patient, Sally, in this setting is therefore at risk of her health condition escalating at any time.
Sally opens the veil to challenges an African American woman is exposed to throughout her lifetime. These individuals not only have to undergo tough growing conditions but are also forced to bear the brunt of their parent’s decisions. Her siblings ridicule Sally because she has a fairer skin compared to all others. Probably, as indicated in the text her father was white. The racial inclinations inculcated in the African American child begin way early in their life.
Even though her family visits her frequently, social workers and the community are supposed to ensure that the octogenarian’s welfare is taken care of. They also have fundamental rights and freedoms in society, which have to be upheld. Social workers have to ensure that these senior citizens,’ housed in homes, shelters, and nursing homes, rights are not violated. They have a right to associate, receive medication, protection from abuse and exploitation, etc. Social work professionals are therefore required by law to move with haste to ensure that none of her rights are curtailed in any way.
To help many others who are like Sally, a social worker could lobby for free medication or subsidized medication prices for senior citizens. The provision of cheap and accessible medication to senior citizens goes a long way in ensuring that they enjoy their remaining days painlessly. Medication reduces suffering associated with pain and discomfort (Nyman, 1994) (Patricia, Megan, Kristi, Paul, Paul, & Jiang, 2005). They also ensure that communities are adequately trained on how to mitigate the needs of the elderly in society including helping them attend to calls of nature without them feeling embarrassed, paying attention to them without making them feel they are wasting your time, talking to them, and or reminding them who you are for Alzheimer’s patients, etc. primarily the social worker is a societal ambassador and for this case and ambassador for the old and vulnerable.
The social worker is, therefore, an invaluable asset in ensuring geriatric care. In advocating for the community, the social worker helps the senior citizens and their families to come to terms with the healthcare practicum. They will offer counseling services to elderly persons. They also give information concerning opportunities and programs available for them within the community i.e. free medical checkups and health watch. In a nutshell, the workers enlighten the senior citizens and defend them in cases involving elder abuse.
The social worker could offer professional services to the elderly. They may advise and help the elderly in the completion of living wills; personal directives and or Do-not-intubate/ do not resuscitate (DNR/DNI) forms (Mollica, Ladd, Dietsche, Wilson, & Ryther, 1992). They may also be stand-ins to reinforce the wills of the patients; in cases, they are unable to communicate their perspectives with regards to ending their lives.
In practice, social work encapsulates acts that ensure senior citizens secure safe senior citizens’ residential care environments for long-term care when they exit their homes (Nyman, 1994). The social worker helps in handling the requisite legal documentation as well as psychological and emotional mediation to this transition process. The social worker also plays a communicatory role in society. By ensuring that information shuttles between the family and the caregiver’s home or hospital, the social worker acts as an important bridge. Upon discharge from the hospital, the social worker could make follow-ups with the senior citizen just to ensure how they are responding to medications and their current medical state.
It is therefore imperative that society cannot underscore the importance of social work in the senior citizens care. The services offered by social workers are long term and help in achieving better health outcomes for senior citizens, easy transitioning for senior citizens and protection of the wishes of these citizen. Therefore for better societies, social workers in the community are invaluable and timely interventions.
Kane , R. A., & Wilson , B. K. (1993). Assisted living in the United States: A new paradigm for residential care for older persons? . Washington, DC: American Association of Retired Persons.
Lawton, P. M. (1982). Environments and living arrangements . In R. H. Binstock, W. Chow, & H. J. Schulz , International perspectives on aging: Population and policy challenges. New York: United Nations Fund for Population Activities.
Mollica , L. R., Ladd , R. C., Dietsche , S., Wilson , K., & Ryther, S. B. (1992). Building assisted living for the elderly into public long term care policy: A guide for states . Portland, ME: Center for Vulnerable Populations, National Academy for State Health Policy and Brandeis University.
Nyman , A. J. (1994). Assisted living: Will it reduce long-term care costs? Journal of Aging & Social Policy , 6 (4), 33-51.
Patricia , M., Megan, W., Kristi, R., Paul, M., Paul, W. K., & Jiang, H. (2005). Global burden of hypertension: analysis of worldwide data (Vol. 365). Elsevier B.V.