Laura Newland, executive director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living

Happy March and Happy National Social Work Month! The District has more than 5,000 licensed social workers who, day-to-day, tackle some of the most challenging issues facing individuals, families, and communities. From homelessness, to child welfare, mental health, and medical care, these social workers forge relationships, develop solutions, and work with tenacity and compassion to make a real difference in the lives of our residents.

We are especially fortunate to work with incredible social workers throughout our network who serve our older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers, each and every day. On any given day, our passionate team of social workers are advocates, teachers, team builders, logisticians, creative problem solvers, and confidants. They are building communities around each individual they serve, and connecting our residents to services and supports that enable them to continue living in their own homes and communities.

Our Community Transition and Social Work team, part of DCOA’s Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), assists residents as they transition out of nursing homes and back into their communities. When our Community Transition Team (CTT) was formed, they were tasked with one monumental mission—“go in there and bring them home!”

Since then, the CTT has worked directly with the District’s nursing home residents providing information, guidance, and support as they navigate a complex process. They’re educating individuals and their families on community-based services and supports, building a community of care providers, securing housing, and sometimes even moving in furniture and household goods—helping clients create a home.

Ramona Butler, Social Work Manager for DCOA’s Aging and Disability Resource Center says, “DCOA’s social work team understands and respects that change lies within the individual and their support network. It’s imperative that we take the time to listen, and listen with compassion and purpose. We make sure that the individual has a voice and is the primary decision-maker when it comes to his or her long-term care planning.”

In 2017, we successfully transitioned 60 clients back into the community thanks to our dedicated Community Transition and Social Work team. But it’s not about the numbers—it’s about people! It’s about the lives impacted. It’s about instilling hope. It’s about reminding all of us that we all have a part in making our community one that we want to live in.

Whether they’re skillfully assisting residents as they navigate through various service systems or serving as an advocate, our social workers push through with persistence to ensure our residents have access to what they need, when they need it.

I am proud to salute the many social workers throughout the District and those who represent the Office on Aging as we continue to push forward with the mission of ensuring our older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers are able to live well in their own homes and communities. The service navigators, home facilitators, counselors, advisors, and advocates—you are the heart of our work at the Office on Aging. My sincere appreciation and thanks to all of our social workers at DCOA, our Lead Agencies, and throughout our Senior Service Network. Thanks for making D.C. the best city in the world to age!

To learn more about our Community Transition and Social Work team, reach out to us at 202-724-5626.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.