Gerontology is a specialized field of study. It refers to the study of behavioral and physical changes in the elderly as they age. Included in this is a study of their specific needs, and how members of society can actively participate in helping and addressing these needs. It is inevitable that the human race does age; hence, it is essential that there are experts in this field who can hold careers to help with senior care. This article allows you to learn more about gerontology, and the jobs that you can pursue.
- Gerontology is related to the field of psychology
In comparison with medical fields that offer senior care such as nursing and caregiving, gerontology is a four-year program from universities, such as the University of Southern California, which focus more on the field of psychology. This means that gerontology concentrates more on the behavioral aspects of the elderly rather than the medical aspects. Remember that care of the elderly is not only about the medical care of their bodies, but also care for their emotional and mental aspects.
- Gerontology answers to the emotional, mental, and social needs of the elderly
As a person ages, it is not only the physical body that gets affected. There are also effects on the emotional, mental, and social aspects, which are sometimes overlooked. Careers in gerontology now open up better and more specialized care on these aspects. For example:
- Anxiety and depression
- Mood swings brought about by menopause
- Trauma due to grief or other problems
Working-age adults are often more capable of managing psychological problems more than the elderly. The elderly, unfortunately, rarely have the support that most adults have because they often live alone. Their lives also tend to become more sedentary as they retire. Hence, it is essential to draw attention to the aspects mentioned above as well.
- Gerontology offers various career options for their graduates
The field of gerontology is one of those fields of study that opens up numerous career options after graduation. This makes it one of the most attractive courses to take up, career-wise. As the aging population continues to increase, it is essential to have enough workers to cater to their needs. Some of the career opportunities include:
- Social worker
- Geriatric care worker and advocate
- Grant writers
- Geriatric assistants
- Therapists and counselors
- Assisted living managers
- Gerontology discusses different levels of aging
Recognizing the different levels of aging is vital so that it is easier for family members as well to identify the specific needs of each group. Not everyone in the elderly population are the same, and you cannot perform a generalized plan of action that is suitable for all. Here are the three different levels of aging:
- Primary aging concerns the state of how the physical body deteriorates
- Secondary aging is when the body goes through medical and mental problems that cause the aging process to go faster, such as cancer and dementia
- Tertiary aging pertains to the speedy deterioration of cognitive abilities
- Gerontology careers also offer various work settings
The common misconception about careers relating to the care of the elderly is that you will be confined to a nursing home. No, this isn’t the case. The field of gerontology also allows you to work in different work environments. For example:
- The tourism industry, such as flight attendants, cruise employees, hotel employees to provide specialized care to the needs of elderly travelers
- Academe, as professors
- Hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospice
- Government offices
- Counseling offices
- Gerontology is a need, and it is in demand
Yes, there is a need for more gerontologists, as there is a constant demand for these kinds of workers. With the presence of gerontologists, going into the ripe ages of life can be a bit less daunting. Because of this specialized form of care, you have a higher assurance that all your needs and your loved one’s needs are also taken care of.
For as long as man continues to age, there will always be the presence of the elderly population. In fact, in some places, the senior community is even higher than the working class. This fact shows that much emphasis has to be placed in the rising demand for gerontology graduates.
- Gerontology careers offer a competitive pay
If you are leaning towards a career in gerontology, you can feel rest assured that you will enjoy a relatively competitive pay. In the United States, the average median salaries in this field are between 25,000 USD and 45,000 USD.
Gerontology now opens up more holistic and specialized care for the needs of the elderly. Rather than just being focused on medical care regarding their health, there can now be specialized care regarding the emotional, mental, and social aspects as well. As the senior population grows even older, it is advantageous to their health that their overall needs as individuals are met.