Lubia Gwak is currently a graduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work with a concentration in gerontology. Before pursuing her master’s degree, Ms. Gwak served as Director of Social Services in small town in New Mexico. Ms. Gwak is a Tarrant County Ombudsman Trainee as well as a member of the National Association for Social Workers, a member organization of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance.
Why is the training of the health care workforce to care for older adults so important?
Due to the lack of dedicated healthcare professionals who specialize in eldercare, many older adults find themselves in the care of doctors who do not specialize in aging. By training the healthcare workforce as a whole, even doctors who do not specialize in geriatrics can still provide some level of positive care.
How did your training in gerontology prepare you to work with older adults?
Learning theory and evidence based practice helped me make the most of my experience in working with the aging population. These skills helped me evaluate not only present cases, but also past ones and this gave me the opportunity to improve drastically by making self-evaluation more scientific.
How did you decide to work in the aging field?
Ever since I was very young I always liked helping the older adults in my community, but it was when I took an aging and dying class with Professor Ron Barnes during one of my undergraduate classes, that I instantly knew that this field was what I had been searching for all along.
Have you worked as a part of a team to care for older adults? How did that team care approach impact the care of the older adult?
Yes. I served as the Director of Social Services at a nursing home and around me were others who made a team. The Director of Nursing, Activities Coordinator, Physical Therapist, and the Primary Doctor, just to name a few worked with me tirelessly, and each brought different perspectives and contributions for problem solving.
What do you see as the future of the elder care workforce?
The future of eldercare is bright. As demand for eldercare increases, so will the number of social workers looking to get involved in this field. As the Baby Boomers enter retirement, this new generation of social workers will not only provide immediate help, but also update and expand on existing theories and doctrines. The eldercare field will become bigger, smarter, and more effective.