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This essay will describe Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It will explore how these different needs are met by Social Services whilst clarifying the distinction between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. In doing so, it will define ‘social services’ in its widest sense, including facilities available from the voluntary sector and, on a more informal basis, from family and friends. The Hierarchy of Needs model was developed by Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist. Maslow (1943) publicly set out his ideology for the first time within an article written for the Psychological Review journal.

The basis of Maslow’s theory was that individuals, as human beings, are motivated by unsatisfied needs. He stated that people can only strive toward self-actualisation once their more basal needs are fulfilled. Maslow’s model (shown below) groups human needs into five different levels, forming a pyramid of progression, with the most basic needs at the bottom. Self-Actualization Esteem Needs Social Needs Safety Needs Physiological Needs Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Abraham Maslow – Father of Modern Management, 2007) As illustrated above, the first level is concerned with physiological needs.

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These are the resources required for basic survival, including air, water, food and sleep. Once physiological needs are met, Maslow’s model indicates that focus turns to safety and security. These needs are concerned with emotional security as well as physical safety and include a safe living environment, job security, financial reserves and insurance. Following the achievement of safety and security, social needs are addressed. Included in this level are a sense of belonging, interacting with others, giving and receiving love and making friendships. Esteem needs follow social needs.

This level incorporates the requirement to feel significant, including a sense of achievement, receiving recognition from others, building a strong and positive reputation, obtaining status and possessing self-respect. Only when all these needs are satisfied can self-actualisation, which is concerned with fulfilling potential, become the focus. Maslow believed that, unlike the lower stages of the model, this level could never be fully satisfied as there would always be opportunities to grow and develop further. In his words, “what a man can be, he must be.

” (Maslow, 1943 p. 382). The term ‘social services’ can be used in differing ways. The Collins Gem Dictionary (2006, p. 548) defines Social Services as “Welfare services provided by local authorities or the state”. This properly defines the welfare state, however it does not acknowledge that social care is also provided by private businesses, voluntary bodies and, on a more informal basis, by family members and friends. The following exploration of available social care resources will, therefore, also include these additional service providers.

The Welfare State, as defined above, came into effect on 5 July 1948 alongside the creation of the National Health Service. The broad framework was originally set out in 1942 in a report by British economist Sir William Beveridge (Moonie, N. ed. 2000). Originally entitled ‘Social Insurance and Allied Services’, the piece has since come to be known simply as ‘the Beveridge Report’. It states that all people of working age should pay a weekly contribution in the form of National Insurance and, in return, benefits will be paid in times of need such as sickness, unemployment or retirement.

It is pertinent at this stage to set out an abridged overview of provisions available from various sources under the umbrella of Social Services. To paraphrase Skills for Care (2007), services can be categorised as follows: Adult Care, for example, provides residential, day, domiciliary or community care in the form of care homes, sheltered housing, day centres, domestic help, meals on wheels, respite care and information services. Children’s Care provides residential, day or community care in the form of care homes, family centres, nurseries, holiday clubs, fostering and adoption, child protection and information services.

Healthcare meets the needs of individuals through the provision of hospitals, hospices, GP surgeries, dentists and opticians. It is important to draw a general distinction between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ before looking at practical considerations of how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can be met by existing resources. Whilst the State can certainly provide a ‘safety net’ to ensure basic needs are met, ‘wants’ such as expensive holidays or luxurious furnishings are not catered for. ‘Needs’ can be defined as necessary to survival; if not met, safety, well-being or health could be impacted. They are limited in number.

‘Wants’, on the other hand, are limitless and provide comfort and enjoyment but are not absolutely necessary for survival and are, therefore, outside the remit of health and social care. Whilst the majority of individuals of working age within Britain are in a position to meet physiological needs without assistance, some 8. 7 percent claim State Benefits (Office for National Statistics, 2003). As Directgov (2008) sets out, the Government can provide assistance in many forms to those who are unable to meet their physiological needs through private income such as employment or investments.

The full range of available benefits are too numerous to list within this essay but include Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Working Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Disability Living Allowance for those of working age. For households containing a child or children, Child Benefit may also be available. Meanwhile, for those of retirement age, a State Pension and Pension Credits may be payable. Some of the aforementioned benefits also address the satisfaction of safety needs. Having a place to live (or not) has massive impact on feelings of safety and emotional well-being.

Not only does a house provide physical protection from cold and wet weather, it also provides emotional refuge from the outside world; home is a place where people can feel safe and relax. In addition to local authority housing, there exists a variety of facilities available for those who would otherwise be sleeping rough. The provision of hostels and temporary accommodation, run by charitable organisations, local authorities or private businesses, means that the number of people being forced to sleep rough is kept as low as possible.

To quote Communities and Local Government (2008): “We estimate that, as at June 2008, there were 483 people sleeping rough in England on any single night. ” It could be argued that one person sleeping rough is one too many but, realistically and for diverse and complex reasons, there will always be a homeless population of varying number. Another factor related to safety needs is the increased risk of violent attacks, with homeless individuals being 13 times more likely to be a victim of crime (BBC News Online, 2004). The fact is that these statistics would be much worse if these facilities did not exist.

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