This article examines Israeli social workers' experiences of their encounters with elder abuse survivors and its impact on professional and personal aspects in the social workers' lives. Participants were seventeen experienced women social workers, who intervened with elder abuse and neglect. Data were collected via in-depth semi-structured interviews. Data analysis revealed three main themes: (i) 'Sensing the Pain': Exposure to the Complexity of Clients' Life-Long Suffering; (ii) Taking Home the Pain: Social Workers Dwelling with the Sensitivity of the Encounter with Elder Abuse and (iii) 'Caring for Them, and Letting Them Be Part of My World': The Encounter as Resonating in Social Workers' Professional and Personal Life Domains. Social workers' experiences of complex, sensitive encounters with elder abuse survivors appear to be a multidimensional challenge, involving both burden and growth. This notion can leverage the client-helping professional relationship, thus enriching and shaping social workers' personal and professional worlds.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to thank the social workers, intervening with older adults suffering from abuse and neglect, who participated in this study. The study was approved by the University of Haifa committee for ethical research with humans (approval number 085/11). This work was supported by grants from ESHEL - The Association for the Planning and Development of Services for the Aged in Israel.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.
- Care of older adults
- Coping and resilience
- Elder abuse and neglect
- Qualitative research
- Social workers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)