Life is like a spectrum that entails many phases like infancy, toddler, teenage, adulthood, middle age, and old age, through which every person goes through. It is well known that infancy and old age are the two phases that require the utmost care and attention from other people so that the individual belonging to that age group lives comfortably. Apart from care and attention, people in old age require a lot of medical attention too as even a little health problem can result in dire consequences. To provide special medical assistance to senior citizens there is a dedicated field of study known as Gerontology.
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What is Gerontology?
Gerontology is a science that deals with every problem that an individual can encounter in old age. It, therefore, entails the study of social, mental, physical, and biological changes that elderly people may face and how the knowledge can be applied in real life to assist the old people in order to make that phase of their life better. Read this article to know more about the career path of a Gerontologist!
Roles and Responsibilities
Mentioned below is the list of roles and responsibilities that a Gerontologist have to perform as part of their daily work:
- Take a daily update on the hygiene of old people in the facility and in case of any change in the physical well-being of the elderly people, report about the same to the family members or to the reporting physician.
- Ensure that the food is properly served to the elderly people in a courteous manner according to the set guidelines.
- Review the weekly submitted reports by other staff members and follow up about the same in case of any discrepancies.
- Gerontologist has to make sure that operations are carried out smoothly in the facility when it comes to the patient’s socialization, health, and welfare and it should be in accordance with the health and state departments.
- Either complete all the tasks or delegate them to the program service coordinators so that the work is completed on time.
Skills Required to Become Gerontologist
Every field requires an individual to have certain skills which make that individual successful in that profession. Discussed below are some of the skills that a Gerontologist must possess in order to excel in this field:
- Compassion – Since a Gerontologist has to work with old age people who are prone to high-stress levels and vulnerability, they need to have compassion and empathy so that their services prove beneficial for elderly people.
- Communication Skills – Communication is one the most important skills that a Gerontologist must excel in since they have to converse with clients, their family members, and other professionals.
- Organization Skills – Although tedious in nature, paperwork is an essential part of a Gerontologist’s day-to-day work as it keeps everything organized. Therefore, a Gerontologist must possess good organizational skills in order to ensure smooth and effective functioning.
- Problem-Solving Skills – Gerontologists come across various economic, social, medical, and emotional problems of their patients. Therefore, it is quite important for a Gerontologist to have a problem-solving mindset in order to provide effective and practical solutions.
- Interpersonal Skills – Throughout their career, Gerontologists get a lot of opportunities to interact and collaborate with patients and professionals from all over the world therefore, it goes without saying that a Gerontologist must have great interpersonal skills.
Guide to Become a Gerontologist
Mentioned below are some of the things that an individual needs to follow in order to become a Gerontologist and get great opportunities in their professional journey:
- Complete a Bachelor’s degree – The first step in the journey of becoming a Gerontologist is to complete graduation in a relevant field such as psychology, nursing, social work or sociology.
- Pursuing higher education – Having a bachelor’s degree can help a student get entry-level jobs but in order to get better job opportunities a student should pursue higher education which includes masters and doctoral programs in the field of Gerontology.
- Work Experience – Gaining work experience is always a great way to get better career opportunities. Gerontology students can gain invaluable practical knowledge and experience by doing internships, volunteering in healthcare facilities or community service centres or opting for part-time jobs.
- Obtain Certificates – Having further certificates can add credentials and showcase the commitment of a student towards the field of Gerontology. International organizations like the Gerontological Society of America or the International Association for Gerontology and Geriatrics offer certification and training courses related to Gerontology which students can consider taking in order to make their resume look impressive.
- Network and prepare for job interviews – It is always a great option to network with other professionals and students in the field as this helps in getting good career opportunities. Also, while applying for jobs make sure to prepare well for the interview as performing well in the interview is a critical step in getting a job.
The eligibility criteria for the Gerontology course differs from university to university in India therefore, we have listed the basic requirements that a student must fulfill in order to apply for a Gerontology course.
- The applicant must have completed 10+2 or equivalent and cleared the same.
- The student must have completed graduated in a relevant subject from a recognized university or institute and also they should have secured 55% average marks.
- A candidate who has 2 yrs of work experience and is working in an NGO or social organization, will be generally given preference.
Before enrolling in a course it is always a great idea for a student to go through the syllabus of it so that they know beforehand what they are going to study during the duration of the course. Mentioned below is the general syllabus of the Gerontology course:
- Aging and Media
- Older adults with special needs
- Health and wellbeing
- Collective action, advocacy, and networking
- Personal and interpersonal development of the practitioner
- Policies, programs, and management of services for older adults
- The multidisciplinary Perspective of Gerontology
- Developmental and therapeutic interventions with older adults and families
Also Read: How to Become a Doctor?
Top Colleges Offering Gerontology Courses in India
As a student, it is important to aim for the best college that offers a quality-driven course in the field they want to pursue. Following is the list of the best Gerontology course in India:
- Institute of Home Economics, Delhi University
- Indian Institute of Counseling, New Delhi
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai
- National Institute of Social Defence (NISD), New Delhi
- Ramnarain Ruia College, Mumbai
Job Prospects for Gerontologists
After becoming a Gerontologist there are various areas an individual can work, some of which are mentioned below:
- Teach at universities or colleges
- Work with other professionals such as counselors, therapists, lawyers, dieticians, etc.
- Work as a counselor to older people
- Consultant in private companies or healthcare facilities
- Nursing care facilities
- State, local, or government agencies
- Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
- Shelter houses or other relief services
- Medical and Surgical Hospitals
A. The role of a Gerontologist is to provide assistance to elderly people so that they can deal with social, psychological, emotional, cognitive, and physical effects associated with old age.
A. Gerontologist is not technically a medical doctor but a healthcare professional that studies the physical and mental effects of old age and applies knowledge to aid senior citizens live a better life.
A. V.Korenchevsky is regarded as the father of Gerontology.
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