Working in a job where you get to give back to the community is incredibly rewarding, and many career options will allow you to do this.
One such role in healthcare that does just this involves working with the elderly, and making sure that they are being looked after, and monitoring their health. However, have you ever considered what job roles are there to support the elderly community and what their jobs involve? Below are some of the different areas of the industry that provide care to the elderly.
A geriatric nurse generally works in a hospital environment, but many will also visit patients in their homes. Many geriatric nurses choose to work within a retirement community, providing healthcare to the residents who live there. At an assisted living facility like this Oak Park senior living community, nurses will be available 24/7 and provide telemedicine care if necessary to help those living there. Many nurses will also help with grooming and bathing, cleaning, and managing their medications. This allows seniors to live a high-quality life, even if they are suffering from dementia or long-term illnesses.
If you feel inspired to become a geriatrics nurse, you will first need to qualify as a registered nurse and obtain your license. From there, you can choose to take further training and study to specialize in geriatrics nursing.
An audiologist, as the name suggests, focuses on issues with hearing and problems with balance that could be associated with issues with the patient’s ears. Audiologists carry out tests and diagnose various ear-related health conditions.
While audiologists don’t have to work specifically with the elderly, many choose to focus their specialty on this just like you can in geriatric nursing. Audiologists will typically work within hospitals and healthcare clinics in this role, helping elderly patients.
Everyone needs to keep fit and healthy, but none more so than the elderly. Keeping active allows them to live longer, minimize the risk of falling, and improve bone density. Therefore, a fitness instructor plays an important role in helping the elderly community.
A fitness instructor can work in retirement homes, assisted living facilities, or a community center running fitness classes for the elderly. Many even work privately for clients and visit them at home. This is an important role as it’s very beneficial for senior citizens to stay active and still clock in a good amount of regular exercise each week. While they might not be able to do more strenuous workout routines anymore, things like yoga and Pilates is great for their balance. Swimming is another gentle exercise that is easy on the joints but can get your heart pumping at the same time.
If you’re an individual who loves spending time with the elderly and has a passion for fitness, this could be a better fit for you, so why not consider stepping into a career like this?
Occupational therapy helps people who are recovering from surgery or illness to gain strength and be able to become more independent. Occupational therapists often work with the elderly, making sure they can do things like preparing meals, walk up the stairs, and get up and down from a bed or chair without assistance (or minimal assistance) from others or a form of support.
They can help to make senior citizens feel more confident in their abilities and prepare them for returning home from the hospital. This is another role where they might visit patients at home to do some strengthening exercises with them and tests to make sure they’re still safe to live in that environment and recovering properly from surgery or illness.
Personal Care Aide
This healthcare job holds an important role that many elderly people rely on. It focuses more on helping senior citizens manage their daily routines, like preparing meals for them if they struggle to do this themselves, running errands like grocery shopping, and helping them dress and wash.
Some personal care aides will take them to their appointments and keep their homes clean and tidy. More importantly, it’s a role that makes sure senior citizens have regular contact with someone, as many who have lost their partners or see little of their family become very lonely in their old age.
To become a personal care aide, you will need to take an exam to become certified, and there may be additional training you need to take, but this will depend on the state you live in.
General healthcare is important, but it’s not just the physical ailments that the elderly community needs assistance or help with. Mental health is just as important, if not more. Social workers come into contact with a variation of people from different age groups and backgrounds, but a lot of them work closely with senior citizens.
They can help an elderly person by checking on their welfare and helping them find suitable care and support if need be. As a social worker for the elderly, many help them transition to moving into a care home, as well as providing emotional and psychological support to them if need be.
Skills and Traits to Work with the Elderly
Each area of healthcare requires a specific set of skills from people to successfully perform their duties. If upon reading these careers, you feel inspired to work in this industry yourself, then you need to think about the skills and traits you have.
Strong communication is key, and you will also need to be a patient and compassionate person. Being well organized will also work in your favor, and the ability to overcome challenges and stay positive will also prove useful in a career like this.
It’s important that senior citizens are treated with respect and can be provided with the right care and support that they need, no matter what condition their health is in. Working with the elderly isn’t always easy, and you might lose a patient or client that you have grown close to, which will be hard.
However, it’s also an incredibly rewarding career, no matter what role you choose. If you are a caring person who loves spending time with the elderly and wants to give back, perhaps following one of the career paths above could be a great choice for you.