Populations are getting older, not only in the United States, but also around the world. Greater numbers of older people mean the healthcare system will have to change to accommodate the growing medical needs of this group. These changes are already beginning, with the appearance of new services for home health care and adult day care. Career opportunities in a number of areas will open up for those interested in this growing area of the healthcare industry.
1. Nursing Professionals
Nurses have been at the forefront of modern healthcare services for many years. As the aging population increases, more nurses will be needed to provide the day-to-day care that this group requires. Nursing specialties such as cardiac care, renal disease treatment and oncology care will increase in importance, and the need for trained nursing administrators will also increase for nursing homes, long-term care facilities and home-health care agencies.
2. Physical Therapists
The role of physical therapy is likely to expand with a growing elderly population, as those who have undergone joint replacement surgery, cardiac surgery or have experienced a stroke require rehabilitative treatment. Highly trained physical therapists design appropriate treatments for these patients to help restore normal function and assist them in returning to their normal lives.
3. Gerontology Specialists
Individuals who are interested in the gerontology field, the medical specialty that deals with the illnesses and treatment of the aged, will be needed to coordinate care in a variety of healthcare settings. Long-term care facilities, hospitals, rehabilitative centers and other institutions will require administrators and program coordinators designed to serve the special needs of this age group. A Gerontology master’s degree such as a Master of Aging Services Management or Master of Arts in Gerontology will be a desirable academic credential for these positions.
4. Healthcare Administrators
The growing aged population will also mean increased pressure on the healthcare system to find new ways to serve this demographic. Home healthcare services have experienced a boom, which is expected to continue for some time. Specialized treatment for cardiac, renal, orthopedic and mental health treatment of the aged will continue to expand, creating a greater need for healthcare administrators to manage these facilities. Individuals with a strong background in healthcare administration training will find a number of career opportunities.
Individuals who have an interest in the healing arts and administration of healthcare services will enjoy an expanding field with many opportunities for advancement. Proper training will be necessary to be ready for these new career avenues.