Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link

Introduction to Social Issues in Older Adults

By

Daniel B. Kaplan

, PhD, LICSW, Adelphi University School of Social Work;


Barbara J. Berkman

, DSW, PhD, Columbia University School of Social Work

Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021
Click here for Patient Education

Social issues influence an older person’s risk and experience of illness as well as a health care practitioner’s ability to deliver timely and appropriate care.

A social history helps members of the interdisciplinary team evaluate care needs and social supports. It should include questions about the following:

  • Family and marital or companion status

  • Living arrangements

  • Social network (number and quality of routine social contacts)

  • Work history

  • Education

  • Typical daily activities (eg, how meals are prepared, what activities add meaning to life, where problems may be occurring)

  • Need for, availability, and ability of caregivers (to help plan and/or provide care)

  • History of trauma, losses, and coping strengths

  • History of substance use and legal issues

  • Patients’ own caregiving responsibilities (which may make patients reluctant to report their own symptoms lest their symptoms or any resulting interventions interfere with caregiving)

  • Worries or stressors in daily life

  • Environmental concerns regarding home, neighborhood, transportation, or access to goods and services

  • Financial status

Click here for Patient Education
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: Click here for the Consumer Version
Professionals also read

Test your knowledge

Religion and Spirituality in Older Adults
Which of the following voluntary social activities of older adults is most common?  
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
 

Also of Interest

 
TOP