Skip to Content
Resource Articles //

How Social Workers Can Help With Lifespan Planning

All types of social workers have an opportunity to help clients plan for the future.

Global life expectancy is now at 71.4 years, with citizens of the world’s most developed nations living considerably longer.* That’s a long time to be alive. But, of course, it’s not very long at all.

For many, the years seem to rush by and they often feel unprepared for the challenges that arise with each stage of life. Lifespan planning, however, can help you better prepare for what’s ahead. And social workers holding an Master of Social Work (MSW) degree are uniquely equipped to help.

How Social Workers Can Help With Lifespan Planning

What Is Lifespan Planning?

Assuming you’ll live an average lifespan, what are the biggest challenges you’re likely to face? Lifespan planning is the process of answering that question and then making sure you’ll be able to handle the challenges when they arise. Lifespan planning isn’t about setting life goals or plotting out major decisions long before they’re needed. It’s about taking measures to ensure you’ll have the resources and knowledge you need to tackle predictable challenges.

What Do Social Workers Do and How Do They Help With Lifespan Planning?

All types of social workers—from clinical social workers to medical social workers to school social workers—are trained in helping people overcome difficult situations. This focus on improving lives and building stability makes lifespan planning an important part of the job for many social workers. After all, the more a social worker’s client can prepare for the future, the less likely they are to struggle with life’s challenges.

No matter what stage of life a social worker’s client may be in, the social worker can help them plan for a healthier and more fulfilling future.

Social workers can work with young adults on:

  • Developing a healthy lifestyle, including eating a proper diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular physical activity.
  • Developing skills to manage stress and maintain good mental health.
  • Establishing a basic, workable budget that includes a savings plan.
  • Building a career.
  • Preparing to buy a first home.
  • Planning for parenthood.
  • Raising small children.

Social workers can work with middle-aged adults on:

  • Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle and maintaining physical strength and flexibility.
  • Maintaining a strong marriage or relationship or strengthening a relationship that’s suffering.
  • Monitoring health and addressing new risk factors that come with aging.
  • Handling a career change.
  • Parenting teenagers.
  • Having children later in life.
  • Saving and planning for children’s college.
  • Caring for aging parents and coping with parent death.
  • Preparing for retirement.

Social workers can work with older adults on:

  • Remaining physically capable and mentally strong.
  • Monitoring health and addressing health concerns.
  • Maintaining emotional health.
  • Maintaining strong social and family connections.
  • Collecting benefits and navigating Medicare.
  • Budgeting for the retirement years.
  • Coping with losing a partner.
  • Identifying care options such as assisted living facilities.

How to Become a Social Worker

The best way to start a social work career is to enroll in a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program. An MSW degree is designed to prepare you to help people address life’s biggest challenges and is considered a prerequisite for the best social worker jobs.

If you’re concerned that your current job and obligations will make it difficult to complete a social work degree, you should look at online education. With an online MSW program, you won’t have to worry about driving to a campus or taking classes at inconvenient times. Instead, when you earn your MSW online, you can complete most of your coursework from home. Plus, MSW online programs let you take advantage of a flexible schedule, meaning you can attend to your education at the time of day that works best for you.

You can even find online social work degree programs with CSWE accreditation. Why is this important? Because CSWE accreditation is the only accreditation recognized in the U.S. for social worker degrees. That means an online MSW program with CSWE accreditation meets the highest possible standards and can make you eligible for licensure as a social worker in most parts of the U.S.

Helping people with lifespan planning can help them prepare for life’s biggest challenges. When you earn a master’s in social work online, you can position yourself to provide expert life counseling to those who need it most.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a CSWE-accredited MSW degree online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

*World Health Organization, Global Health Observatory Data, Life Expectancy, on the internet at

Walden University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation is responsible for developing standards that define competent preparation for professional social workers and ensuring that social work programs meet these standards.

The minimum academic credential required to obtain licensure to practice as a social worker in most states is a Master of Social Work (MSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Walden University’s MSW program is accredited by CSWE.

State licensing boards are responsible for regulating the practice of social work, and each state has its own academic, licensure, and certification requirements.

Walden recommends that students consult the appropriate social work licensing board in the state in which they plan to practice to determine the specific academic requirements for licensure. Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide information relating to the state-by-state requirements for licensure. However, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all licensing requirements for the state in which he or she intends to practice. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of its coursework or programs will permit an individual to achieve state licensure, authorization, endorsement, or other state credential as a social worker

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,