Work with the Elderly Outside of Retirement Homes

America is changing. People are aging and living longer. With more people living into advanced ages, the treatment needs of the community evolve. There is a growing need for individuals who are committed to working with the elderly. To begin a fulfilling career, we recommend enrolling in a program like Family Studies and Gerontology.

So, what is gerontology? As we age, our bodies change. Some of the effects of aging can sneak up on us, and others are more pronounced. Gerontology is the study of the aging process and the issues that arise with growing older. Professionals in this field study ways to identify and treat physical, mental, emotional and social issues with the elderly.

Geriatric care is a broad industry, but here are a few options for a rich and fulfilling career:

 Social Worker

Social workers strive to help people function as best they can in the environment they are in. In gerontology social work, these professionals help the elderly and their families navigate various issues such as assisted living or nursing home placement, long term health care plans, home health aides, or emotional support and training for caregivers with aging parents. They typically work in hospitals, family and government agencies, and residential facilities.

Medical Service Manager

There are gerontology careers that require more administrative responsibilities. Medical service managers oversee and develop broad health plans and policies for the elderly. In small facilities, the manager is responsible for daily operations, including personnel issues, financial oversight, and admissions. In larger facilities, they create policies and procedures and ensure they are carried out effectively.

Gerontology Social Scientist

It’s important to research whether the treatment of the elderly population is effective and how to improve upon existing best practices. Social scientists evaluate how people react to changing environments, how they relate to each other and how they make decisions. Gerontology sociologists are interested in how aging affects individuals’ ways of life and how they relate to society and others. The results of the research can help guide public policy and create solutions to existing problems.

Home Health Aide

The responsibilities of a Home Health Aide is similar to Certified Nurses Aides; the only major difference is the workplace and licensing requirements. Health aides can be seen working with the elderly in assisted living and retirement communities, but also in private homes as more seniors are aging in place. Licensing varies by agency and may not require a college degree or special certification.

These individuals are integral in maintaining order in patients’ lives and assisting with routine activities. Health aides work to keep living spaces safe from safety hazards as eyesight and mobility diminishes, administer medication, help with personal and hygiene needs, and more.

Gerontology careers require compassion and patience. The work accomplished in this field is important, not only to the individuals affected by aging, but also to society at large. If you have a heart for the aging, and you think a career in gerontology is for you, our advisors at SNU are available to help you achieve your professional goals with our Family Studies and Gerontology program. Email us at pgs@snu.edu or call us at 405-491-6332 for more information.

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