Elderly people as recipients of social services in the views of social work specialists


The article is devoted to the matter of the interconnection of social services and the image of their recipients. Among the latter, special attention is paid by scientists and practitioners to elderly people in an ageing population. The authors promote awareness of the importance of the social work principles with the elderly and its compliance with spectrum, level, and hierarchy of their social needs. The range of needs of the elderly people, which are met through social services, is constantly expanding; conditions and approaches to their typology and satisfaction are also changing. The authors offered to consider the image of the elderly people in a deeper sociological dimension: through the views of experts in social work about this group of social service recipients. During the expert survey, conducted by the authors among specialists of the territorial centres of social services for the city of Kharkiv and Kharkiv region inhabitants, it was revealed that the image of the elderly people is fixed through the emotional perception; the idea of what is missing for the elderly people (their needs that are not satisfied); associations that appear towards them as a problem group. Elderly people at the social work professionals’ emotional level (regardless of their gender, age, signs, educational potential, accommodation) bring out mostly positive emotions, setting them up to perform their professional duties. Differences in the views of experts on the needs of elderly people are due mainly to a spatial factor – a place of residence. It is shown that the views of social work specialists about the image of their clients are formed based on the acquired in the process of professional activity, specific sensory impressions about the elderly. The authors determined the requirements for the views of social work specialists about the elderly. The latter must correspond to the triad: to be creative, critical and productive. The creative imagination of social work specialists is in demand, which involves their independent creation of new images of the elderly people as recipients of social services depending on the specific time, life situation and personal strategies of social participation/social exclusion of the elderly.

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