Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Eldercare – An Area of Need

A guest post by Kelly Kilpatrick

As the economy tightens up, jobs in the nursing profession are becoming more and more sought after. One nursing specialty that continues to grow as the years pass, however, is geriatric nursing. Also referred to as eldercare, geriatric nursing refers to the care of elderly people who need assistance in a variety of ways.

A Growing Field
The United States’ population grew exponentially from the 1940’s to the 1960’s; this generation, known as the Baby Boomer generation, is now starting to age and many people that fall into this age group are in need of care. Naturally, as the years progress, more and more people from this generation will need assistance.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for nurses specializing in geriatric care will increase by 20% between 2006 and 2016, far exceeding the need for nurses in other areas of expertise. This figure is an estimate, and more nurses may in fact be needed in the years to come.

Contributing Factors
There are a wide variety of factors contributing to this large increase in demand for eldercare, including patients with terminal illnesses such as cancer, as well as Alzheimer’s and many other ailments that are manageable with proper care and assistance.

Advances in medicine have certainly helped to extend the longevity of people’s lives and this means that more assistance will be needed to help these people live out their days comfortably and healthily, to whatever degree possible.

Work Environment
There are many different places that will be in need of eldercare in the years to come. Naturally, hospitals will need more nurses who specialize in geriatric care. Hospices for terminal patients are another place where assistance will certainly be required.

In addition to these, nursing homes for elderly patients are another market in which nurses will be in high demand. Assisted living communities are sprouting up all over the US as well, where a dedicated staff is kept on-hand strictly for the people who live in the community.

Of course, for many years, home health care has been growing in popularity—especially for patients who wish to live in their home for the duration of their lives.

Work environments and working conditions will vary in these different locations, but one thing remains the same: the Baby Boomer generation is aging and will need the proper care to live the rest of their days with the care they need and deserve.

By-line:
This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of nursing colleges. She invites your feedback at: kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com

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