A Bachelor’s in Gerontology will make you a godsend for seniors and their families. For many elders, the “golden years” are fraught with multiple losses, such as health, mobility, income, and loved ones. By obtaining an in-depth education, you’ll help them manage such hardships and enjoy their lives more. Additionally, you can streamline senior access to needed healthcare and social services. Here are five fantastic careers available to you.
Geriatric Social Worker
The heart of this job is easing the burdens of aging physically, emotionally, and financially. For both elders and their families, the social worker connects them with valuable community services, such as affordable transportation. They may also counsel seniors in overcoming crippling emotions, such as anxiety and depression.
Geriatric social workers are instrumental in helping adults age in the comfort of their homes. For instance, they give tips to family members for keeping loved ones active, safe, and independent. Additionally, they make referrals to home care agencies and assist with applying for government benefits.
Adult Day Care Director
Presently, there are roughly 5,700 adult day care centers in the United States, reports Aging in Place. These non-residential facilities host a range of supervised activities, such as games, classes, sharing hobbies, exercise, nutritious meals, and parties. Centers with rehab departments may provide physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
Some sites go the extra mile, offering salon treatments, counseling, podiatry care, medication dispensing, and dementia programming. While seniors enjoy friendly company and TLC, their caregivers back home get a welcome breather.
An adult day care director oversees all the services held at their facility, ensuring they conform to government requirements for safety. Before accepting senior members, the director evaluates whether the center can meet their needs. If so, they create a care plan for each participant and coordinate their activities. They also hire and train all employees.
Assisted Living Executive Director
This healthcare administrator manages an assisted living facility, a residence for those needing modest help with activities of daily living and medical care. The setting is homey, aimed at fostering senior independence. Typically, the amenities include meals, housekeeping, laundry service, recreation, social activities, assistance with personal hygiene, medication monitoring, and round-the-clock security.
The executive director supervises all staff members, conducting regular performance reviews to ensure they serve with excellence and compassion. By maintaining a quality assurance program, the director enforces compliance with government laws and company policies. They also resolve any residential problems that arise.
Geriatric Care Consultant
In many instances, when a senior’s health declines markedly, their family members panic, not knowing how to cope. At such times, a geriatric care consultant becomes a lifeline, easing worry and giving families a clear direction. The initial step is scheduling a home visit with the consultant to assess a senior’s living situation. The evaluation is comprehensive, including their physical capabilities, home environment, mental and emotional well-being, social network, personal interests, financial resources, and family involvement.
Based on the findings, the consultant devises an action plan. Then, they tackle the various needs to be met. First, they determine the most suitable senior residence, such as a nursing home, assisted living facility, or the client’s home. If adult day care is an option, the consultant researches local centers. Next, in priority order, they address other pressing concerns.
Dementia Care Coordinator
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities to hire this professional to lead programming for residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The goal is to prolong their cognitive abilities through social, physical, and mental stimulation. Before initiating a care plan for each client, the coordinator tests their intellectual skills. Then, they schedule activities tailored to the person’s functional level. Examples are discussion groups, sensory games, perusing family photo albums, doing puzzles, singing, dancing, playing instruments, and attending religious services.
Employers require a bachelor’s degree in gerontology, at least three years of professional experience in dementia care, and one year in a leadership role. You can boost your qualifications with certification as a Dementia Care Manager through the Alzheimer’s Association. Here, U.S. News and World Report highlights the features of standout dementia programs at assisted living facilities.
Related Resource: 15 Best Affordable Gerontology Degree Programs
Management positions available with a Bachelor’s in Gerontology are geriatric social worker, adult day care director, assisted living executive director, geriatric care consultant, and dementia care coordinator. Additional high-salaried career options are sociologist, health educator, senior center director, health services manager, and gerontology researcher.
Bachelor degree programs delve into the aging process and its associated challenges. You’ll be ideally equipped to address them with courses in public health, family development, social work, psychology, gerontology, senior nutrition, and exercise. You’ll also become skilled in organization, researching, communication, and problem-solving.
Most certainly, you have a fondness and empathy for seniors, crucial for gaining their trust and cooperation. Now, all you need is a solid education, certifications, and a few years of work experience. Whichever career you choose, life will get better for seniors because of you.