Meaningful Careers in Geriatrics for 2021

A career in geriatrics means working with those that need care the most.  You are living in a time when the demand for care is only growing and poised for more growth.

As a healthcare professional, working with active aging patients is very rewarding. Regardless of your credentials or nursing specialty, there are boundless opportunities for you in geriatrics. Why work with the geriatric population? 

In this article, you will find several reasons that outline why you should work in geriatrics, including job security, pay, and satisfaction. There are also sample jobs with their respective salaries. Here are some important reasons why you should work with seniors.

Employment Security

  • 20% of the US population will be in the 65+ age group by 2050
  • There will always be a role for you, nonclinical or clinical
  • A  variety of work settings and job positions

When you pick a job, you want to make sure that there is going to be a job for you long-term, a secure employment choice. The demand for geriatric care is going to increase as time goes on, a report from the Congressional Budget Office explains that 20% of the United States population is going to be sixty-five and older. Translated, you will never be out of a job when geriatrics is your niche.

Job-hunting is always a daunting process but securing a foothold in geriatrics will ensure that you always have work. Even if you are looking to start a career in healthcare, there is a lot of room for you too! In 2017, some of the top fastest-growing careers included home health and personal care assistants,” according to the Bureau of Labor, and both of these career options involve direct care for clientele that are mainly older adults that need personal care assistance.

Once you have a foundation of senior care work, or additional credentials to begin working in senior care, there are advanced career options that guarantee you the same job reliability long term. Some of those career options include physical therapy assistants, occupational therapy assistants, and nurse practitioners. 

Geriatric nurse practitioners help with performing physicals on patients, prescribing medications, and adjusting a client’s care plan. Geriatric workplaces also vary, so you may work in a client’s home, at a retirement or long-term care community, office, or clinic, among others.

Pay

  • Working with seniors is fun and rewarding
  • Many geriatric careers are well paying
  • More education opens the door to higher-paying opportunities

Job security is tied directly into pay. There are several well-paying positions within geriatric and long-term care that can match your passion for your patients. Here are a few salary structures for geriatric care-related careers: 

  • Geriatric care managers make an average of $65,308 per year, according to ZipRecruiter
  • Geriatric occupational therapists make an average of $92,557 per year, according to ZipRecruiter
  • Geriatric nurses make an average of $98,860 per year, according to ZipRecruiter
  • Geriatric nurse practitioners make an average of $172,645 per year, according to ZipRecruiter

All these figures are for national average salaries, however, making a commitment to work with geriatric patients is rewarding in the financial and emotional sense.

Satisfaction

  • Seniors are a joy to work with
  • Working with geriatric populations is enjoyable and rewarding
  • You can put yourself in the shoes of older adults and in turn, provide better care and get more out of it

Working with older adults is an honor. They need a caring individual like yourself to hold their hand, to hug them, and to just have someone willing to listen to their concerns. You are in the front row seat of the older adults’ lives,’ who are full of wisdom, stories, and advice. It is a very gratifying feeling to walk away from taking care of a patient, knowing that there is a giant smile on their face. You got to help make their day that much brighter. 

Older adults require more care than some other patient populations. However, they are very grateful, hardworking, and respectful individuals that rely on you for quality care at all levels. There is a lot of versatility in working in healthcare, especially with seniors. This is because bedside nursing or direct-care jobs are not your only options, jobs span a wide variety of settings and responsibilities. 

Many employees that work with seniors are very vocal about the rewarding nature of this patient population. For example, the activities supervisor at Gramercy Court Nursing in Sacramento exclaimed, ‘‘‘Working with seniors has helped me realize that I love being part of a living, loving, learning environment.’’’ Geriatric work also gives you a glimpse into their perspective and what it will be like to be a senior yourself one day. This helps employees to approach each situation with tact, patience, and compassion.

Imagine you are a senior with dementia, having a difficult time completing tasks that a younger adult would complete with ease, such as going to the bathroom. You come in to assist a gentleman get to the bathroom, and he resists your help. This can be frustrating on its face; however, independence is important.

Being able to do things independently gives individuals a sense of purpose and belonging. Once the resident is comfortable receiving your help, he will be more receptive and responsive to your assistance. A little patience goes a long way. If you are able to put yourself in the shoes of an older adult, this can help you innovate and create new ways of improving and providing care.

Where to go from here?

You have a need to help others and want to get into a job field that will last you a lifetime. Look no further than geriatrics. Check your local job boards like NursingJobs, visit the websites of senior living communities near you. See if you can get a reference from a friend that works in the industry for a leg-up. From pay to job security, to the satisfaction factor, if you are #OpenForWork, geriatrics has everything that you need for a successful career choice.

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