Older Persons

Older Persons Credential

Social workers are integral to services that cater for the health and wellbeing of older Australians across government, non-government organisations, hospitals, health settings, and private practice. They require distinctive skills, knowledge and abilities to work with older people. They also play a unique and valuable role in supporting older people to lead a good life longer at home and in residential settings. They source and support services to meet the diverse and multidimensional needs of older people. 

They engage with older people across a wide variety of settings using a large range of skills, knowledge, interventions and approaches. They understand the impact of ageism on how older people are viewed and treated, focusing on holistic care, self-determination and considering the complexity involved from an ethical, legal, psychosocial perspective.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released findings identifying the need to enhance quality and safety across aged care. AASW has been particularly concerned that aged care workforce needs specialist professional development to adequately identify and address the range of mental health issues experienced by older people. There have also been failures of allied health professionals to recognise significant grief and loss issues facing older people and their families associated with the transition into aged care services.

The Older Persons Credential will improve client outcomes by ensuring that social workers have the knowledge and skills to provide effective and appropriate support, that improves the health and wellbeing outcomes of older people.

The provision of high level of care is enabled by:

Person-Centred Care

Social workers play a vital role in promoting person-centred care for older adults. By understanding their unique backgrounds, preferences, and aspirations, they tailor interventions and services to meet their individual needs, ensuring their dignity, autonomy, and self-determination are respected.

They achieve this by:

  • an informed understanding of the changing context and expectations about ageing in contemporary Australia, and its impact on the person, family and community.
  • exemplifying a person-centred focus on health and wellbeing outcomes of older persons, achieved by engaging with the individuals involved and working in collaboration with them to facilitate their use of appropriate support systems.
  • practicing from an intersectional perspective focused on the fullness and complexities of an older person’s identity and the impact of ageing.
  • applying an approach based on an awareness of clients’ strengths, needs, characteristics, preferences and circumstances of older people, and the underlying structures that create and maintain disparities, especially related to older people accessing health services.

Support and Advocacy

Aged care settings often present various challenges for older adults and their families – social workers, offer crucial support and advocacy. They help in navigating complex systems, accessing necessary resources and services, and advocating for their clients’ rights and best interest, supporting the development and implementation of support systems, and work to ensure the services are engaged and utilised to their full extent.

Collaborative Teamwork

Working in aged care settings involves collaborating with interdisciplinary teams, including healthcare professionals, caregivers, and administrators. This collaborative approach allows for a holistic and comprehensive care experience for older adults. It provides opportunities to share expertise, exchange ideas, and work together towards common goals.

Making a Meaningful Impact

Working as a social worker in aged care settings allows them to make a profound and meaningful impact on the lives of older adults by working to support their human rights, dignity and worth, enhance and enrich their lives, prevent discrimination, abuse and exploitation, provide emotional support, and addressing their social and psychological needs.

Benefits of an Older Persons Credential

Professional Competence

The credential signifies that an individual has acquired specialised knowledge, skills, and expertise in working with older persons. It ensures that professionals have a comprehensive understanding of the unique needs, challenges, and issues faced by the aging population. This enhanced competence allows them to provide more effective and tailored care, support, and services to older persons.

Improved Decision Making

The credential equips social workers with a deeper understanding of the aging process and age-related conditions. This knowledge enhances their ability to make informed and effective decisions regarding the care, support, and treatment of older people. Social workers can rely on their expertise to assess situations, identify appropriate interventions, and navigate complex ethical dilemmas related to older persons’ well-being.


By earning the Accredited Older Persons Credential, social workers can enhance their sense of confidence in their abilities to work with older persons. The credential validates their skills, knowledge and expertise. Thanks to a proven industry framework, it gives them the assurance to make well-informed decisions to provide quality care. This increased confidence may contribute to enhanced social workers’ resilience and better outcomes for older persons. It also fosters a positive professional identity related to older persons’ well-being.

Enhanced Credibility and Trust

Accredited Older Persons Credential lends credibility to professionals in the eyes of clients, colleagues, and other aged care providers. It provides assurance that the individual has undergone rigorous training, met specific standards, and has the necessary knowledge and skills to provide quality aged care. This can build trust and confidence in their professional abilities and expertise.

Older Persons Credentials FAQs

Our Social Work Online Training platform contains Older Persons Social Worker specific on-demand training, as well as a selection of Live training which can be accessed through our events calendar. Accredited School Social Workers are required to meet the CPD requirements annually to maintain their credential.

Social Work Australia is the AASWs online community of practice, providing a dynamic, member-led space for peer connection, support, discussion, and learning through shared practice knowledge, experiences and resources. There is a dedicated Older Persons Social Worker group where members can share and collaborate fellow credentialed members.

Applicants who are not currently working in direct practice can also be eligible for the Older Persons credential if they can demonstrate their understanding of the Older Persons capabilities that are fundamental to their ability to perform their role. This might apply to roles such as research, education and leadership and management roles.

You are required to show at least two (2) years’ full-time equivalent, post-qualification experience within the past five (5) years in an Older Persons Social Worker setting. You must only include in this section employment positions from within the last five (5) years that are relevant to Older Persons. These roles must have been held after having qualified from an accredited social work course.

Direct and Indirect Practice – Applicants who are not currently working in direct practice can also be eligible for the Older Persons credential if you can demonstrate that your understanding of the Older Persons capabilities is fundamental to your ability to perform your role. This might apply to roles such as research, education and leadership and management roles.