Career Tips

12 Career Opportunities That Address Elderly Well-Being

If you’ve always loved older adults and you’re a natural helper, you may consider working with the elderly. Far too often, the older members of society get left behind and forgotten — they may even be abused. Senior citizens deserve good care, advocates, and people passionate about ensuring their well-being.

Fortunately, plenty of opportunities exist that will allow you to help older people and make a living at the same time. Read on to learn how you could provide a much-needed service while fulfilling one of your passions.

14 Jobs for Working With Older Adults |

1. Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

One of the harshest realities in the world today is the abuse of older adults. Too frequently, an elderly person left in a nursing home is mistreated by a worker. Sometimes, more than one staffer or administrator is at fault. If you’ve been considering a career in law, a nursing home abuse attorney might be your dream job. These highly specialized experts hold nursing homes accountable and fight for proper compensation for abused residents.

2. Nursing Home Worker

Another way to help change the nursing home environment is from within. Whether you are a registered nurse, a caregiver, or an administrator, all kinds of jobs are needed in nursing homes. Having someone inside the home who truly cares for the seniors can make all the difference. You can brighten patients’ lives while monitoring the facility for improper or abusive behavior.

3. Social Worker

Some of the purest heroes in society are social workers. While social workers can be found everywhere from schools and hospitals to private practice, many work in government and nonprofit agencies. In that capacity, they can help create care plans for the underserved elderly and connect them with resources to improve their lives. As a social worker, you could hook up older adults with meal delivery, in-home care, and other services to foster their continued independence.

4. Patient Advocate

If you want more time and opportunity to assist elderly individuals, you could become a patient advocate. Usually, a patient advocate will be a social worker or a nurse, but this role allows a closer relationship with the patient. You’ll help older adults with their appointments, prescriptions, insurance, and perhaps housing and transportation. Essentially, your job is to be your patients’ highly trained and skilled best friend.

5. Recreational Therapist

A recreational therapist is another profession that allows you to build close relationships with seniors. In this role, you’ll arrange recreational activities that help keep seniors engaged and active. The job is often performed inside nursing homes, hospitals, or assisted-living communities. There you can organize games, arts and crafts sessions, presentations, and even field trips to improve elders’ overall well-being.

6. Home Health Nurse

A home health nurse is typically a registered nurse who makes house calls. You’ll go into the homes of your elderly patients and check on their health regularly. You’ll often be in charge of overseeing medications, checking and tracking vital signs, and treating injuries or illnesses. You can also assist your clients with daily activities like toileting or getting into or out of bed while you’re there.

7. Home Health Aide

A home health aide does not have to be a nurse, but most states do require HHAs to hold a high school diploma. Furthermore, agencies that receive Medicare require HHAs to undergo 75 hours of training for licensure. Typically, this job consists of being the personal assistant to an older person in their home, aiding them in their daily activities as needed. Whether that’s doing the laundry or helping them bathe, your assistance allows them to remain in their home, with greater independence and dignity.

8. Personal Trainer

If you’re into fitness and you like spending time with seniors, you could become a personal trainer. Maybe you already are one and would like to specialize. You can get extra training specific to the elderly and take on older adults as clients. In this position, you can help your clients stay fit and flexible and feel younger for longer.

9. Physical Therapist

Going beyond mere physical fitness is physical therapy. The elderly are prone to injury and debilitating conditions such as arthritis. As a physical therapist, you can help patients alleviate their pain and increase their mobility. You’ll get specialized training so you can create individualized treatment plans and exercise routines. Ideally, you can get your patients to a place where they only need a fitness instructor!

10. Occupational Therapist

Once older adults get to the point where performing daily tasks is difficult, they might need occupational therapy. An occupational therapist helps patients recover and maintain the motor skills required to carry out the activities of day-to-day life. As an OT, you’ll teach patients techniques that will enable them to more easily dress, feed, and bathe themselves. You might recommend home modifications such as shower grab bars, toilet lifts, and non-slip flooring to enable patients to continue living safely at home.

11. Geriatrician

If you’re interested in going to medical school, you may want to become a geriatrician. As people get older, their bodies change, and their healthcare needs tend to become more complex. Older adults are also prone to various conditions, ranging from osteoporosis to Alzheimer’s, that younger patients are not. It often takes a specialist to understand these issues and provide the best care. Geriatric physicians receive extra training to work with the elderly and ensure their needs are met.

12. Senior Move Manager

Finally, if you are in good shape and like to declutter, consider becoming a senior move manager. This fun and interesting job allows you to help seniors move out of their homes and into their new living arrangements. You’ll assist with sorting, packing, and — often — selling, donating, or discarding older items. It can be challenging to convince older adults to let go of things they’ve had for decades, so this job requires high levels of compassion.

Making a Living by Improving Elders’ Lives

As you can see, there are many jobs you can do that will let you work with seniors. Each one has its advantages as well as varying levels of qualifications. But all of these career paths allow you to build relationships with seniors and truly improve their lives.

The older adults in our society are the village elders of today, and they deserve respect and care. Choosing one of these careers can help you provide both.

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