Home Blog 5 Reasons to Become a Geriatric Social Worker

5 Reasons to Become a Geriatric Social Worker

April 02, 2019

Valuing human development over a lifespan is one of the core values of the social work profession, and this is certainly true for those who specialize in geriatric social work. Social workers become closely involved with the challenges of their clients, and there is a growing need for social workers in the U.S. to apply their skills to our aging population. Geriatric social workers focus on the particular challenges facing older populations and their expertise can have a critical impact on care during the “final act” of a person’s life. Here are five reasons to consider gerontology as a focus in social work.

A Wide Breadth of Care

Geriatric Care

So, what is geriatric care and what does it entail? Some geriatric social workers work in a clinical or educational setting, while others use their specialty to focus on advocacy.1 A geriatric social worker takes on a wide range of roles, helping to ease elders and their families in transitions between living arrangements, navigating the complexities of housing and transportation, or coordinating healthcare.2 So many options means a career full of variety, with a chance to help elders in an assortment of settings and scenarios. Not only that, but as it grows, the aging population itself is becoming increasingly diverse. That means a need for caregivers from all walks of life.3

Creating a Network of Care

Geriatric social work doesn’t mean solely interacting with elders: social workers will also interact with other clinicians, caregivers, family members, and friends of their clients. Most importantly, they serve to coordinate care plans for their clients, creating a ripple effect of positive impact. When social workers perform early interventions in a client’s medical and home care plan, clients have shorter stays, better outcomes, and greater satisfaction with the care they received. With a geriatric social worker in the room, care improves for their clients and stress decreases for caregivers.4

Job Satisfaction

There is nothing more intimate and personal than end of life care. Many who specialize in social work for the elderly report high levels of job satisfaction. Experienced practitioners find inspiration from their interactions with older adults and develop meaningful relationships. It’s also a stable job in a growing field, with many resources at hand to help develop your career.5

Increasing Demand Means Job Security

The size of the elderly population in the U.S. is growing rapidly. By 2030, some 20 percent of American citizens will be over the age of 65, compared with just 13 percent in 2010.6 As the population of older Americans grows, the number of practicing social workers with a specialty in gerontology is shrinking.7 Compared with other jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics sees the field growing more than 20 percent over the next ten years.8 That means job security and a median geriatric social worker salary upwards of $60,000 per year.9

Geriatric Social Work Benefits Everyone

In addition to serving the family and friends of older clients, geriatric social workers create a positive impact for the rest of their community, too. Since all Americans over the age of 65 are covered by Medicare, better, more coordinated geriatric care for elders has a measurable financial impact on the rest of us. Coordinated care means lower healthcare spending, fewer and shorter hospital stays for seniors and savings for everyone.8

There’s no better time to take your passion and purpose to new heights. If you want to learn more about how to broaden your future in social work, check out the online Master of Social Workfrom the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and find the role for which you were made.

1. Retrieved on March 4, 2019, from americangeriatrics.org/geriatrics-profession/pathways-geriatrics
2. Retrieved on March 4, 2019, from monster.com/career-advice/article/geriatric-social-work-jobs/
3. Retrieved on March 4, 2019, from nap.edu/read/12089/chapter/2#4
4. Retrieved on March 4, 2019, from cswe.org/getattachment/Centers-Initiatives/Centers/Gero-Ed-Center/Initiatives/Workforce-Development/Reports-and-Facts-Sheets/IGSW-PolicyBulletinNYAM4-04-05.pdf.aspx
5. Retrieved on March 4, 2019, from americangeriatrics.org/geriatrics-profession/why-geriatrics/geriatrics-for-you
6. Retrieved on March 4, 2019, from careersinpsychology.org/employment-outlook-guidance-geriatric-social-work/
7. Retrieved on March 4, 2019, from johnahartford.org/ar2009/Escalating_Need_for_Geriatric_Social_Workers.html
8. Retrieved on March 4, 2019, from socialworktoday.com/archive/070708p38.shtml
9. Retrieved on March 4, 2019, from careersinpsychology.org/become-a-geriatric-social-worker/