16 Pages

Changing the Paradigm: Strengths-Based and Empowerment-Oriented Social Work with Frail Elders

Approaches to social work practice with fraH elders that equate aging with dis ability and conceptualize the helping process based on a medical model of the fraH eIder as passive recipient of expert services, face increasing challenges from professionals seeking a shift to a very different practice paradigm. A growing literature reflecting the re]evance and application of empowerment-oriented and strengths-based practice perspectives for gerontological social workers has been evident throughout the past decade (Cox, 1999; Fast & Chapin, 2000, 2001; McInnes-Dittrich, 1997; Perkins & Tice, 1995; Cox & Parsons, 1994). This article is written by two authors each representing one of these perspectives and explores the contributions these two practice approaches can make as we shape gerontological social work practice in the twenty-fIrst century.