Senior Care Careers: 3 Ways to Start Working with the Elderly

Posted September 10, 2019 by in Career
working with the elderly

By 2030, 1 in every 5 people in the U.S. will be older than 65 years of age. A few years after that, by 2035, there will be more retirees than children under the age of 18. This underlines the increasing need for senior care over the next few decades.

Are you a people person? Do you have a talent for working with the elderly? Read on to learn three ways you can build a career in senior care.

Working With the Elderly

If you have a desire to work with the elderly there are many opportunities. Which is most suitable for you depends on your areas of interest, educational attainment, and circumstances.

There is a high demand for people to work with the elderly. The aging population is one major factor driving this demand.

As the baby boomer generation gets older so their health needs increase. Many careers in the eldercare sector relate to health care.

Demand for elder care workers especially those with health care skills is evident from statistics on the fastest-growing occupations. Demand exceeds supply so this is a secure occupation.

There are opportunities for people at all educational levels from minimal formal qualifications to master’s degree level. There are many entry-level jobs which can give any interested person the opportunity to experience caring for the elderly. The range of opportunities is huge with elderly people needing and wanting a huge variety of services.

Assisted Living Administrator or Director

Residential care for the elderly or RCFE administrator and director positions are senior roles in an assisted living facility. In many states, you must be certified or licensed for this job.

This requires a minimum of 60 hours of training and can be completed using online classes.

This is not an entry-level position. If it is your ambition to become an assisted living administrator or director it is likely that you will need to gain some experience in an assisted living facility in another capacity.

Spending time building your experience of working with elderly people will also help confirm that this is the right career choice for you.

Different residential care providers have different qualification requirements for their administrators and directors. A bachelor’s or even a master’s level degree in an appropriate subject may be preferred. There are health care administration degrees available.

Gerontology Nurse

Nursing is a very diverse profession. The range of specializations is huge. Some of them involve working with older people simply because older people tend to have health challenges.

It’s possible to specialize in geriatric nursing. This is an option for registered nurses as well as nurse practitioners.

The special needs of older patients can include providing general nursing care where other health issues complicate matters. For example, a simple medical matter can be more difficult to manage in the case of a patient with dementia.

The route into gerontology is to complete a general nursing training and then to specialize.


The counseling needs of elderly people are as diverse as they are in the general population. There are however particular skills that may be especially helpful in senior care.

Bereavement counseling is one such area. As we get older it’s likely that many of the people we had relationships with, in younger life, die. Providing counseling in this area requires an understanding of the special needs of older people.

Typically, an undergraduate degree in psychology and further training in geriatric counseling would be an appropriate route to a career in this area.

Is Working With the Elderly Right for You?

Whatever your academic and work experience, working with the elderly requires certain qualities. It’s well worth testing your level of interest by working with the elderly in an entry-level job or volunteering before undertaking a long education and training path.

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