Five Gerontology Specialties that are In Demand
- Geriatric Social Worker
- Geriatric Physical Therapist
- Memory Specialists
- Gerontology Research
- Gerontology Policy Adviser
Gerontology is the study of the aging process, and as people are living longer, the number of in-demand specialties in gerontology is expected to increase. These professionals focus on different aspects of aging including social issues like housing, money management, and income as well as psychological issues including preventing loneliness and depression. Geriatrics is a related branch and focuses on caring for elderly individuals. Some popular specialties in this field include the following.
1. Geriatric Social Worker
Many of the social issues that the elderly population face relate to housing. Affordable housing can be difficult to find for individuals with fixed incomes given the rising rental rates. Plus, it is tremendously important to ensure that these individuals have adequate resources for heating and cooling expenses even if they own their own homes. Geriatric social workers help with these issues as well as monitoring the mental and physical process of aging to ensure that their clients can continue to live independently and to recommend appropriate assistance. Transportation, food preparation, and home safety are important aspects of this gerontology specialty.
2. Geriatric Physical Therapist
As individuals enter old age, they physically become more frail and lose muscle strength and stability. Physical therapists are in high demand in gerontology because any major surgery or lengthy period of inactivity after an injury leaves patients at risk of developing more significant illnesses. These professionals help design exercise programs and evaluate homes in order to minimize fall risks.
3. Memory Specialist
Unfortunately, memory loss sometimes accompanies aging, and these professionals can help determine whether a client is experiencing a normal degree of forgetfulness or displaying early signs of dementia. In clients with dementia, regular assessments are required to ensure the proper level of care. As Forbes reports, memory specialists care both for the patient suffering from dementia as well as the family, giving them tools to help cope with the illness.
4. Gerontology Research
Aside from direct care, gerontology specialists are in demand at universities, nonprofit organizations, and even private healthcare corporations. These positions focus on researching specific issues affecting older populations in order to determine societal solutions or individual products that can make this stage of life easier. They study the physical and mental process of aging as well as society's response to this older generation.
5. Gerontology Policy Adviser
Professionals who understand the social and economic realities of aging can be valuable in proposing changes in public policy and campaign messaging. These advisers can be incredibly influential in elections because older generations are generally most likely to actually vote. Some important issues include healthcare, taxation on pensions and retirements benefits, and elder abuse prevention.
Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Online Masters in Social Work 2018
Working with older populations and their families can be rewarding work as professionals can help make an individual's final years good ones. Equally important and fulfilling is researching the sociological, biologic, and psychological aspects of aging because this can help improve services and care for entire populations. Regardless of the chosen path, there are a variety of satisfying gerontology specialties that are in-demand in the workforce.