Graduates with a degree in gerontology have achieved skills and abilities that allow them to work among a clientèle that just keeps growing in numbers. In the last fifty years our national population has experienced a population explosion among senior citizens as well as in the number of careers now open to graduates with a degree in gerontology. Graduates with a degree in gerontology while aware of medical challenges faced by seniors , are trained and prepared to deal with the entire gamut of senior needs and concerns. With life expectancy limits continuing to move in an upward direction, there is a strong likelihood that careers for graduates with a degree in gerontology will also continue to grow and expand.
Careers in Nursing Homes, Retirement Homes, Assisted Living Facilities Graduates with a degree in gerontology have studied and done field work to prepare them to play an active role in the life of senior citizens. Because there is a high concentration of seniors in seniors only living facilities such as nursing homes, retirement homes or assisted living facilities, there are likely to be career positions for graduates with a degree in gerontology there.
Obviously graduates with a degree in gerontology are not medical staffers. They are not hired to perform medical tasks. They are hired to help the elderly connect with their new living situation, their new house mates, their new schedule, in fact their new life. Moving from a private home or apartment to a facility can be an overwhelming event for seniors. Change is something that often disorients or depresses the elderly. Having a graduate with a degree in gerontology on staff to assist seniors in establishing themselves in a new living space can spell the difference between a gentle transition and some real emotional upheaval.
Graduates with a degree in gerontology are also brought on staff in senior living centers to assist families of the senior citizen to deal with the changes they will experience as their parents age. Graduates with a degree in gerontology are knowledgeable in the aging process and can help families to adjust to a parent’s declining physical dexterity, emotional stability and mental acuity. Graduates can give guidance to families about dealing with the special problems of the elderly associated with incontinence, Alzheimer’s, senility and osteoporosis. Homes that serve seniors recognize the benefits that derive from hiring graduates with a degree in gerontology who can give families time and the consolation of knowing they have an advocate and a friend for their parent on site .
Senior Centers A big change in the last 50 years has been the continual growth and development of community buildings and programs devoted entirely to the needs of our aging adults. Community after community invests in the construction of a secure site to be used for senior meetings, meals and activities. In many of these centers you can find graduates with a degree in gerontology who bring understanding and caring for the senior participants.
Some graduates with a degree in gerontology who work in Senior Centers take responsibility for planning programs, events and even trips for senior citizens who participate in the center. Programs might include musical performances, talks on relevant senior issues or movies. Graduates with a degree in gerontology may plan events like a trip to the local bowling alley, a walk at a nearby nature center or a mystery ride through beautiful scenery. They might even plan long distance overnight trips that seniors can enjoy at their own speed. Graduates with a degree in gerontology are adept at selecting programs and activities for seniors that fit their abilities, tastes and needs. Their studies allow them to match seniors with appropriate entertainment, exercises and enrichment activities. There may be many assistants and volunteers that work in senior centers to help carry out the centers schedule of events. But often supervising this staff is a graduate with a degree in gerontology.
Some senior centers include adult day care for senior citizens who may be living with adult children but who should not, or do not chose to be, alone for the entire day. Arranging activities that are appropriate and in no way demeaning for such members of the community is a demanding job even for graduates with a degree in gerontology. Yet careers in this field also give amazing sense of satisfaction through the interpersonal relationships that are established .
Counseling, Public Speaking Graduates with a degree in gerontology go out into the community with very complete training in the aging process. With each day of active employment among seniors their knowledge of the senior citizen increases. They become a source of help and guidance for seniors and for their families through a variety of counseling services. These services are sometimes provided in a hospital setting, in the seniors home through social services or through a senior’s place of employment.
Graduates with a degree in gerontology can give aging citizens helpful suggestions about health insurance, housing options, retirement benefits, wills, long term illness and issues of death and dying. While many of these issues are not necessarily pleasant they are very real parts of the senior’s life. Listening to a trained professional talk about senior issues can provide information, reassurance and also additional resources if more assistance is required. Hospitals, Community Health Organizations, Senior Citizen Groups like AARP often sponsor these types of informational programs and frequently the presenters are graduates with a degree in gerontology.
Senior Products It is not surprising that graduates with a degree in gerontology and the accompanying knowledge of senior living which it implies are involved in the designing, production and sales of senior products. Graduates with a degree in gerontology will find careers in companies that are centered on senior products and work in the area of that company for which they are best suited. Some graduates with a degree in gerontology may even choose to break into a select line of senior products on their own. While beginning your own seniors products business may take some up front investment, for some graduates with a degree in gerontology a little sacrifice is well worth the opportunity to work on your own design or product and reap the benefits.
Advocacy Not every graduate with a degree in gerontology works directly with senior citizens. Some decide to work to assist seniors by working as advocates for senior issues as lobbyists for senior organizations at the state and federal government legislatures. They may work to convince legislaotrs of the need to improve health care, lower the cost of prescription drugs, address diseases like Alzheimer’s or osteoporosis. Graduates with a degree in gerontology will make an impression on others not simply because of their own speaking style or personality but because they are credentialed professionals.
The large senior population in the United States needs to be assisted in many aspects of daily living. Much of their aging process can be made more pleasant for them and for their families through the assistance of a graduate with a degree in gerontology. The rewards for this job are not necessarily monetary but they are extremely obvious.