So much in our society separates the rest of us from the old that a discussion of the differential aspects of practice with the elderly and their families (many of whom are aging) runs the risk of being redundant as well as a concealed endorsement of the professional biases which afflict us all. The truth of the matter is that important differences do exist between social work practice with the old and with younger generations, differentials which emanate from a sound gerontological knowledge base. Although the similarities far out-weigh the discrepancies, failure to recognize or delineate these differences has resulted in frustration and disillusionment and qualitative limitations on our work.

Our quantitative efforts have also suffered. Morris has noted that the under-representation of older persons as recipients of all types of social services is attributed to the fact that social work has overlooked scientific knowledge, failed to recognize the potential of the elderly for personal growth and successful adaptation and therefore has set low priorities to their needs.

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