Revija za socijalnu politiku, Svezak 21, Br. 2 (2014)

Veličine fonta:  Mali  Srednji  Veliki

The Role of Social Work in the Epoch of Intergenerational Solidarity in Society

Jana Mali


The increase in the proportion of older people heightened the awareness of the phenomena accompanying old age, aging and older people in social work. In the paper we want to draw attention to the importance of defining and understanding intergenerational solidarity from social work perspective. Care for older people is often presented simply as activities performed for the benefit of older people, but in fact it is a reflection of intergenerational cooperation and connection. The broad network of care for older people depends on intergenerational cooperation, since most assistance to the older generation is provided by the middle generation employed in the care sector, with the younger generation being included through various forms of volunteer work. From social work perspective we define intergenerational links on three levels: the micro level, implying intergenerational solidarity within the family and social networks, the meso level of a community, and the macro level of society as a whole. Social work operates on all these levels, exploiting its particular knowledge about intergenerational collaboration. It is possible to argue that social workers most frequently fulfil their mission through social care services, through which they co-create solutions with individuals, families and social groups, within a community and in relation to the state. The paper is focused on specific understanding of intergenerational solidarity in social work. Critical understanding of generations in society (presented in the first part of the paper) is an introduction to the following analytical review of intergenerational solidarity on the three levels of social work. The analytical approach is based on the definition of social work in Slovenia. Corroborated with current foreign literature on social work with older people the international perspective is incorporated. With presentation of older people as not simply passive users of help, but also co-creators of life during the late stages of their life courses, the paper presents understanding of older generation and their role in society from social work perspective. The growing awareness of the increase in the number of older people has placed solidarity and coexistence in modern societies increasingly topical issues. It is important to develop various forms of solidarity and through this help our civilization to survive.

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Revija za socijalnu politiku (Online). ISSN: 1845-6014