The stories in this section all involve situations of difference, disagreement, tension or conflict. None of them include violent or threatening incidents of the sort that social workers working with older people are likely to face only rarely. Rather, they are the more subtle, everyday incidents that arise when long-standing tensions resurface or when relationships become strained by changed circumstances or differences of opinion. Sometimes differences are compounded by fear, misunderstanding or the fact that those involved simply do not know which way to turn. The social workers in the following three chapters respond to these challenging dynamics by demonstrating a wide range of skills and practice approaches, while the varied contexts and situations within which these episodes of practice are set raise a number of issues and topics for discussion. Some of these are themes that have emerged elsewhere in the book as characterising good practice in any circumstance, while others are specific to the stories that follow and relate particularly to work in circumstances characterised by difference and disagreement.
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