Career Development

16 Geriatric Social Worker Skills for Your Career and Resume

Learn about the most important Geriatric Social Worker skills, how you can utilize them in the workplace, and what to list on your resume.

Geriatric social workers provide care and support to elderly clients. They help their clients with a variety of needs, including housing, financial assistance, and end-of-life planning. To be successful in this career, geriatric social workers need to have a variety of skills, including empathy, patience, and good communication. If you’re interested in becoming a geriatric social worker, learning about the necessary skills for this position can help you determine if this is the right career for you.

Referral Services

A social worker may need to refer their clients to other professionals, such as a physician or financial advisor. They also might recommend resources that can help their clients overcome challenges and achieve their goals. For example, if an elderly person is lonely, the social worker might suggest they join a senior center in their community.


A social worker’s advocacy skills are their ability to support and defend an individual or group. This can include advocating for patients in the medical field, supporting a patient through treatment or helping them navigate complex systems. A geriatric social worker may use their advocacy skills when working with older adults who need assistance navigating health care services, housing or other resources.

Psychosocial Assessment

Psychosocial assessment is the ability to assess a client’s mental state and emotional well-being. This skill can help you determine what type of treatment may be most beneficial for your clients. For example, if a client has depression, you may recommend they see a psychiatrist or take medication. If a client has anxiety, you may suggest therapy or relaxation techniques.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are the abilities to communicate with others and understand their emotions. Geriatric social workers often work directly with patients, so these professionals need strong interpersonal skills to build trust with their clients and provide them with compassionate care. They also use interpersonal skills when working with other medical professionals to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding treatment plans.

Community Outreach

Community outreach is the process by which social workers connect with members of their community to provide resources and education. This skill can be useful for geriatric social workers, who often work with older adults who may not understand all aspects of aging or how to navigate health care systems. Community outreach allows these professionals to educate their communities on topics like healthy aging, dementia and other conditions that affect seniors.

Problem Solving

Problem solving is the ability to identify and resolve issues. Geriatric social workers often use problem-solving skills when working with clients who have health concerns, financial difficulties or other challenges that may affect their quality of life. For example, a client may be struggling financially because they can no longer work and need to pay for expensive medical treatments. A geriatric social worker may help them apply for government assistance or find resources to offset treatment costs.


Communication is the ability to convey information in a way that others can understand. Geriatric social workers often communicate with patients, their families and other medical professionals. They also need to be able to explain complex topics in ways that patients can understand. For example, when discussing treatment options for an elderly patient, it’s important for a geriatric social worker to clearly explain each option so the patient can make an informed decision.

Group Work

Group work is a common practice in the geriatric social work field, as it allows you to interact with multiple clients at once. This can help you develop your ability to manage several relationships simultaneously and provide support for others while also receiving support from them. Group work can also be beneficial because it gives you the opportunity to teach others how to perform certain tasks or navigate through challenges.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings. Geriatric social workers often use empathy when interacting with clients, as they may need to comfort them during difficult situations. For example, a geriatric social worker might listen to a client who just lost their spouse and offer condolences. This allows the social worker to help the client feel supported and cared for.

Career Counseling

Career counseling is the process by which a social worker helps an individual understand their career goals and how to achieve them. This skill can be useful in geriatric social work, as many of your clients may have careers they wish to continue pursuing or new careers they want to explore. Career counseling can help you guide your clients through this process and ensure they find a fulfilling career path.

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling is the ability to provide one-on-one support and guidance. Geriatric social workers often use individual counseling skills when working with clients who have unique needs or challenges. For example, a client may be dealing with grief over the loss of a loved one while also needing help managing their finances. A geriatric social worker can meet with each client individually to assess their situation and develop an individualized treatment plan.

Case Management

Case management is the process by which a social worker assesses an individual’s needs and develops a plan to meet those needs. This can include creating treatment plans, managing resources and monitoring progress. Case management skills are important for geriatric social workers because they often work with clients who have complex medical or financial situations that require careful attention.


Organization is the ability to keep track of multiple tasks and responsibilities. Geriatric social workers often have many duties, including assessing clients’ needs, creating treatment plans, meeting with clients regularly and documenting their progress. Having strong organizational skills can help them manage their workload effectively. It’s also important for these professionals to be organized in their personal lives so they can maintain healthy relationships and live comfortably.


Geriatric social workers often work with patients who have chronic conditions that may require long-term treatment. This can mean working with the same patient for years and seeing them through many changes in their health status. Having patience can help a geriatric social worker be supportive to their patients as they navigate these changes. It can also allow them to take time to answer questions thoroughly so their patients understand their treatment options.


Empowerment is the ability to empower others. As a geriatric social worker, you may work with clients who have limited resources and little control over their lives. Your job is to help them take charge of their health, finances or other aspects of life that they might not be able to manage on their own. This requires patience and compassion as well as an understanding of how to guide people through difficult situations.

Geriatric Care Planning

Geriatric care planning involves the ability to assess an individual’s needs and develop a plan for their future. This is especially important in gerontology, where social workers often work with older adults who may have health concerns or depend on others for assistance. For example, a social worker might help an elderly person navigate Medicare or devise a living situation that ensures they can live independently as they age.

How Can I Learn These Geriatric Social Worker Skills?

There are a few ways that you can learn the necessary skills to become a geriatric social worker. One way is to complete a degree in social work from an accredited university. This will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to work with older adults. Another way is to complete a geriatric social work certification program. This will provide you with specialized training in working with older adults. Finally, you can also gain experience by working with older adults in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and community organizations.


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