Working with the elderly can be a rewarding experience for people committed to caring for others and making the world a better place. However, these kinds of jobs require patience and compassion to help people navigate and adjust to old age.
Since senior care is a delicate industry, ensure to get a higher education degree and relevant certifications. For instance, a gerontology degree specifically trains you in the care of older people.
From recreational therapy to personal support work, here’s a list of relevant careers working with the elderly:
Career #1: Geriatric Dietician
A dietician’s scope of work in this industry extends beyond caring for seniors. In this role, you’re required to support their families and caregivers as well. Similar to every stage in life, old age requires a dedicated nutrition plan. Our dietary requirements change as we age, and this applies to seniors.
Dietitians provide nutritional support to help seniors navigate their older years since aging causes drastic changes to the body. While dieticians work across many institutions like schools and hospitals, you’d have to obtain additional certifications to build a career in this role.
Working this job involves creating diet plans and identifying nutrition problems for seniors and older patients.
Career #2: Audiologist
Audiologist is a good career for those who enjoy working with the elderly The elderly are more likely to suffer hearing loss compared to younger people. Audiologists help older people manage illnesses related to the ears. Working in this role, you’d also diagnose and treat these disorders using tools like hearing aids and implants.
In Canada, the minimum requirement for audiologists is a Master’s degree in Audiology. However, you’ll need a doctorate degree to reach your highest career potential. You’d also have to apply for state licensing.
Career #3: Registered Nurse
Geriatric nurses monitor, test, and treat senior citizens in hospitals and health care facilities. Other work environments include private homes, assisted living, and retirement communities. They work in collaboration with doctors to provide support for patients suffering from different ailments, from arthritis to Alzheimer’s. Entry-level nurse assistants support and report to registered nurses in hospitals.
Nurses in this industry earn a median salary of $70,000 per annum. To become a registered nurse, you must have a nursing degree and advanced certifications in geriatric nursing.
Career #4: Personal Support Worker
In the health care industry, a personal support worker (PSW) supports and cares for old people in healthcare facilities and private homes. They help the elderly manage their daily routines and navigate life comfortably as they age.
Soft skills for this role include communication, conflict management, resilience, and flexibility. On the technical side, you’d need at least a diploma and a Personal Support Worker certification.
Personal support workers must study in a PSW course online, where they learn the basics of anatomy, physiology, and patient care techniques. They support the elderly in their daily personal lives by grooming, bathing, and administering medication. The median salary for this role ranges from $23,000 – $25,000.
Career #5: Recreational Therapist
Aging lowers the body’s physical and mental abilities, exposing older people to the risk of illnesses and injuries. Through recreational therapy, seniors and individuals with mental illnesses, disabilities, and injuries improve their personal and social lives. The therapist designs recreational activities and treatment programs like art, theater, and games to achieve this.
Recreational therapists primarily have flexible work routines determined by their client-patient schedules. The common work environment for this role includes hospitals, private homes, and retirement communities. Beyond a Bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy, employers also require a certification from the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association. The median salary for this role stands at $47,000.
Career #6: Physical Therapist
In the senior care industry, physical therapists specialize in diagnosing and treating elderly people suffering from physical injuries. This role primarily works in hospitals and healthcare facilities, including private clinics.
To compete for a job in this field, employers require a postgraduate degree in physical therapy and state licensure. Some job descriptions also mandate an associate’s degree as part of the qualifications. As a physical therapist, your projected annual income stands at $85,000.
Career #7: Social Worker
Social workers in this context help the elderly and their families navigate finding the best living resources, from medical facilities to support groups. They specialize in easing the transition from hospital care to assisted living.
To prepare for this career, you’ll need both Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Masters of Social Work (MSW) degrees. The ideal work environments also vary from clinical settings to assisted living locations. The salary range, however, depends on the work environment and job duties.
Career #8: Adult Education
As humans, we never stop learning, no matter how old or young we are. Building a career working with the elderly involves more than healthcare and rehabilitation. There’s a high demand for adult educators specializing in teaching seniors.
You don’t need an advanced degree for this role. However, employers require postgraduate Teaching Adults training for professionals in this field. Another way to excel is through tutoring foreign languages like French, Spanish, and Arabic.