5 Job Settings Where Gerontologists Can Work
- Nursing homes
- Home health care
- Government organizations
Because gerontology is multidisciplinary, addressing all facets of aging, there are many different job settings for gerontologists. With people over the age of 65 constituting the fastest growing segment of the population, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, expertise in gerontology will increasingly be relevant to everything from healthcare to product design and retail to real estate, as society increasingly must accommodate the needs and tastes of older adults.
Although doctors who specialize in the care of the elderly are in the related field of geriatrics, hospitals also employ gerontologists in many capacities to address the specific needs of older adult patients. Gerontologists may work as case managers, for example, coordinating the multiple levels of care an older patient may need and managing transitions from hospitals to outpatient care or recommending adaptive technology. Social workers and chaplains in hospital settings can address the special social, psychological, and spiritual needs of older patients, especially those with terminal illnesses.
2. Nursing homes
Gerontologists with many different fields of specialization work in nursing homes dedicated to older adults. Jobs range from nursing to occupational therapy and from counseling to management. Nutritionists who have training in gerontology can design menus for facilities as a whole and for individual patients.
3. Home health care
As individuals live longer, healthier lives, they often choose to “age in place,” continuing to live in their own homes or in active adult communities. This leads to growing home job settings for gerontologists who visit seniors in their homes and either help with tasks of daily living or help seniors adapt to doing those tasks in new ways. Physical therapists, nurses, occupational therapists, health aides, and social workers all may work in home health settings, especially with seniors with limited mobility.
4. Government organizations
Many government organizations employ gerontologists in areas ranging from social work to policy. Gerontologists may work in programs such as Medicare and Social Security which are specifically designed for older adults as well as with state and municipal government branches which offer support or services for the elderly. Gerontologists in government settings may focus on working with specific aging populations such as veterans, minorities, or those living in poverty or with disabilities.
As the average age of the population increases, corporations increasingly need to hire gerontologists. Retail or consumer-facing industries need experts who can design and market products appealing to older adults. Engineers, for example, need to design cars that have a variety of safety features for older drivers while stores need to stock products and offer services such as home delivery that cater to the elderly. Human resources departments need specialists who can enable companies to attract, retain, and enhance the productivity of older workers.
Related Resource: Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Gerontology Online
The changing demographic nature of wealthy countries such as the United States means that there is an increasing demand for gerontologists. Many organizations hire people who can address the various needs of an aging population. This means there are growing opportunities for careers in many different job settings for gerontologists.