What Social Work Jobs are in Gerontology?

If you enjoy spending time with older adults and like helping people, social work jobs in gerontology might be right up your alley. These types of position vary in duties, settings and educational requirements. However, they all require a certain type of person who loves to work on behalf of others and who enjoys spending time with an aging population.

About Geriatric Social Work

Geriatric or gerontological social workers work to meet the daily needs of elderly folks. They provide assistance along these lines in a number of ways. Usually their clients are age 65 or older. These professionals might provide counseling. They could serve to match clients with needed resources. Regardless of specifics, their purpose is to meet the social, environmental and personal needs of their clients. At least a bachelor's level degree is usually required for such work. Advanced degrees at the master's or doctoral level can lead to positions with more responsibility and wider perspective.

Duties of Geriatric Social Workers

Social work jobs in gerontology vary widely. Therefore, it makes sense that the duties of the job would also be vast. However, let's take a look at some of the more common activities you might expect when working in this field. Geriatric social workers help address a number of problems like financial issues, social problems, mental health conditions, health care needs and emotional issues. They may work to provide direct care or therapy. It's also possible such practitioners might work in an assessment capacity to help their clients obtain much-needed resources such as housing, utilities assistance or medical care. Transitional services such as coping with death of a loved one, debt or unemployment is another area in which professional assistance for the elderly is often needed. Some professionals serve as an advocate for the elderly. They might also provide assistance to the families of their older clients.

Skills of Gerontological Social Workers

If you're hoping to be employed in this profession, there are certain skills and characteristics that would benefit you. Clearly, you must be a people person and have compassion. You must also enjoy being around the elderly. Patience, good listening and problem solving are also important. You will be faced with a number of scenarios in which you will be asked to provide a satisfactory outcome. Good organizational and time-management skills are also important because you'll likely need to work with a caseload of clients. Managing various duties for each client can quickly become overwhelming if you aren't an organized person. Listening skills are paramount. Your clients want to feel heard and understood.

Related Resource: The 30 Most Influential Social Workers Alive Today

Becoming a geriatric social worker is a rewarding career. It can also be quite challenging. There are a wide assortment of positions within this field. You are likely to be able to find one that fits your unique skills and personality. Social work jobs in gerontology continue to be needed across the nation.