Today’s healthcare availability, nutritional habits and lifestyles mean that every generation of Americans has a longer life expectancy than the last. With millions now living well into their 80s and beyond, the demographics are constantly changing, and by 2030, more than 20 percent of Americans will be over 65 years old.
This shift has major implications for a whole variety of industries, from retail to leisure and travel, but perhaps the most significant impact will be on the healthcare industry.
Specializing in geriatric care
If you are newly qualified as a doctor or nurse, are still studying or perhaps have been in a particular area of practice for a while and are contemplating a change, then working with the elderly is well worth considering.
As a specialty, there are bespoke courses available, such as a masters in gerontology to get you on the right track. Best of all, this is the type of course that you can study online and fit around your day-to-day work and personal commitments.
Here is a look at some of the reasons that geriatric care can prove to be such a wise area in which to specialize.
You’ll be in demand
The statistics mentioned earlier tell their own story, and you will never be short of work. As the number of elderly citizens grows, so will the demand for healthcare professionals to look after them. There are, at present, more than a million Americans residing in nursing homes, all of whom need regular care, plus millions of others living on their own.
Geriatric care is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the healthcare industry.
Making a difference
Without getting too mystical about it, the fact is undeniable that most everyone who enters the healthcare profession does so because they want to make a positive difference in people’s lives. The very young and the very old have an important thing in common, which is that sense of dependence on whoever is caring for them. Perhaps, though, the difference in geriatric care is that the patient has a deeper understanding of what is going on and the role that you as a caregiver are playing in making their lives better.
Providing care goes beyond diagnosing an illness, prescribing medication or changing a dressing. Sometimes, your mere presence, a kind word and a smile can make a huge difference in a vulnerable person’s day.
From the above, it becomes clear that caring for the elderly is more than just a clinical role. Those who work in nursing homes in particular build relationships that are often almost as close as that of a grandchild and grandparent. For those who have lost their grandparents at a young age, this can be as rewarding for the caregiver as it is for the patient.
History in the making
Most elderly people have a vast range of experiences behind them and are only too happy to share them with you. Count this as the blessing that it is. For example, World War II ended 72 years ago. There are still veterans around who fought during the conflict, but their numbers are dwindling, and even the very youngest are in their 90s now.
You are privileged to be of a generation where you can speak to people and hear first-hand about these moments in history, and the storytellers relish the opportunity to reminisce to a willing pair of ears.
Of course, such reminiscences are not just about world events. Simply hearing about memories of life in a bygone era, before the days of the Internet, transatlantic flights and reality TV, is an opportunity that you should cherish.
A rewarding career
All people seek a career in which they feel fulfilled and rewarded, enjoy their work, make a difference to others and earn a good salary to take care of their personal needs and support their families.
It is hard to come up with any other career that checks all those boxes quite so effectively as working in the senior healthcare industry. Some experiences will make you laugh so hard that you cry, and some will induce tears for sadder reasons, but of two things you can be sure: no two days will ever be identical, and you will likely never dread the prospect of going to work.
Why not make the change and consider a career in the geriatric healthcare sector?