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The Rising Demand for Gerontologists and the Common Challenges They Face

A Closer Look at One of the Most Difficult Nursing Careers

By andrewdeen14Published 2 months ago 4 min read
The Rising Demand for Gerontologists and the Common Challenges They Face
Photo by Rusty Watson on Unsplash

As we delve deeper into the future, the older adult population is steadily increasing. Sadly, this increase in older adults is also coinciding with an alarming increase in healthcare worker shortages.

As a result of this disheartening predicament, healthcare professionals with the skills to provide robust, specialized care to older adults are rising in demand. In particular, gerontologists are becoming some of the most highly sought-after healthcare professionals in the modern age.

Anyone interested in cultivating an understanding of the ways that healthcare is evolving in the modern age can benefit from gaining perspective on the evolving state of gerontology in America.

Here is why the gerontology field is seeing increased demand, and why some people may be intimidated of nursing careers.

Why Gerontologists Are Increasingly Important in the American Healthcare System

Gerontology is the study of aging and, as a field, aims to promote the well-being of older adults as a whole. As such, there are a wide variety of healthcare professionals who can also be considered gerontologists.

For example, doctors who specialize in the care of older adults — often referred to as geriatric physicians — are both doctors and gerontologists. In addition, nurses, psychologists, and even social workers who focus on older adult populations are also considered gerontologists.

What this scope of professionals’ highlights is the fact that the study of aging and the support of older adults is broad and encompasses many fields. In addition, it indicates that a variety of professionals across specialties are crucial to the field of gerontology.

As has been noted, the older adult population is increasing at a rapid pace. This means that more support for this demographic of people will soon be needed in order to ensure that all older adults have access to the care and resources they need to achieve states of well-being.

Ultimately, this is the most pressing reason that demand for gerontologists is rising. In other words, without a rapid and significant influx of gerontologists into the healthcare space in the near future, older adult care will significantly suffer.

Common Challenges Gerontologists Face

Given the fact that gerontologists span a wide variety of professions, the challenges facing these professionals are broad. Despite this, there are some key issues that many gerontologists face on a consistent basis.

Here are common challenges that gerontologists face.

Battling Social Isolation Among Older Adults

One of the biggest problems among elderly adults in America is that of isolation and loneliness. Sadly, reports indicate that more and more of the older adult population in the country is reporting feeling lonely on a consistent basis.

This issue can cause individuals to experience and develop a slew of mental health issues and physical ailments. For older adults already battling acute illnesses, loneliness can make symptoms more severe.

Gerontologists, therefore, often struggle to help older adults overcome this key issue. One main reason this is so difficult to do is because gerontologists only have so much control over their patients’ and clients’ social lives and support systems.

One way to bypass this problem is to increase coordination between gerontologists in different fields. For example, an AGANCP could make an effort to contact a patient’s social worker to ensure that they’re provided resources and made aware of benefits that encourage social interactions.

Despite these efforts, the problem of older adult isolation is still making it difficult for gerontologists across different fields to achieve their aim of bolstering well-being among older adults.

Consistently Being Exposed to Death

Oftentimes, professionals pursue careers in gerontology because of an inner desire to help older adults live more fulfilling lives. Sadly, this also means having to watch scores of patients and clients that one works with pass away during the course of one’s career.

Though this is a natural part of life and is to be expected for those entering the field of gerontology, it can still be a difficult fact to deal with. Specifically, dealing with loss on a consistent basis can take a toll on gerontologists and cause a range of mental health issues.

Thankfully, there are resources that can help gerontologists work through the difficult nature of their jobs and properly deal with death. This includes practices such as talking to a therapist, taking specialized training for individuals who care for older adults, and attending grief support groups.

Sadly, this is likely to remain a key challenge for gerontologists as death is a normal part of life. Hopefully, there will soon be more resources made available to gerontologists to help them overcome this issue and find more fulfillment and joy in their work.

Gerontologists Are Becoming Increasingly Important in the American Healthcare System

As we delve deeper into the future, it’s more than likely that gerontologists will continue to steeply increase in demand. From studying the process of aging to helping older adults live more fulfilling lives, these professionals truly play a crucial role in the lives of masses of people.


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    andrewdeen14Written by andrewdeen14

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