What Are The Different Types Of Gerontologists?

The field of gerontology is diverse and multi-disciplinary, as gerontologists work in various fields to improve, promote, and support elderly individuals. A gerontologist’s duties include improving standards of living, supporting emotional and physical health, and promoting lifestyle related needs of the elderly. As a gerontologist, it is your responsibility to understand how humans, specifically the elderly, change as they continue to age. When choosing a career within the field of gerontology, you can choose to study within the areas of psychology, sociology, biology, and healthcare.

Gerontologists typically work directly with older or elderly adults, often as advocates or caregivers. Many gerontologists work in medical research, public policy, administration, or education. Social work and healthcare social work accounts for a large part of the gerontology field, as do healthcare professionals. The issues of the elderly can be applied to so many areas of academics and science; it is a broad and diverse field of study. The work of a gerontologist is so vital to understand the needs of elderly individuals. Without the compassion, research, and responsibilities of gerontologists, many elderly would not have the proper care or quality of life that they may require.

What are the specific areas or groups of gerontology? We will explore the various facets of the career and identify which area may be suited for you. Gerontologists, such as Life Enhancement Professionals, Personal Healthcare Aides, Facility Directors, and Geriatric Social workers are part of the gerontology field. We will analyze their individual roles and duties within the field of gerontology.

Life Enhancement Professionals

Programs for the elderly and senior citizens, such as adult enrichment programs, offer recreational therapy for this specific age group. As a life enhancement professional, you will be responsible for facilitating and designing suitable programs at residential or adult care centers. Examples of adult enrichment programs include community projects for the elderly, arts and crafts, or dancing.

Personal Healthcare Aides

Personal healthcare aides are responsible for providing the elderly with personal care within their patient’s home. The duties of an aide vary from patient to patient. For example, an aide may dispense medication to the patient, cook for the patient, dress or bathe the patient, grocery shop for the patient, and drive the patient to their medical appointments. The variety and specifics of care will depend on the aide’s education and medical background. An aide may also work within hospice centers or nursing homes.

Facility Directors

Gerontologist who work as facility directors, are responsible for overseeing and managing elderly healthcare institutions such as assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, and hospice care. It is the duty of the facility director to manage and analyze the facility’s employees, health and safety regulations, and budget.

Geriatric Social Workers

Social workers and healthcare social workers account for a large part of the gerontology field. Social workers and healthcare professionals work to understand, advocate, and treat the specific needs or ailments of the elderly. Social workers for the elderly assist their clients with completion of paperwork, provide the client with medical or assistance referrals, and act as liaisons with healthcare institutions. Geriatric social workers may work for social work agencies such as Adult Protective Services, which handle elderly cases in which their client’s well-being may be at risk.

Examples of issues concerning the well-being of the elderly include income level, living conditions, and lack of a family support system. A geriatric social worker will take the time to meet with their elderly client or families to understand and establish assistance that is necessary for the elderly client.

Career Spotlight: Gerontologist

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