The population is aging. In the US alone, it is estimated that by 2035 78 million people will reach retirement age. In California alone during that time, 10 million people will reach retirement age, accounting for around 23% of the population. The demand for elderly care is only going to grow and increase, which is why it is the perfect time to take advantage of the expanding industry and either start your career or even start your own business in this field.
The best part is that the careers that can help and care for this aging population are actually very diverse. You can be an artist, an event organizer, a cook, or anything in-between and start to direct your career focus to elderly care. You could also take a more direct approach and become a nurse or an RCFE administrator.
There are so many possibilities, so if you are interested in taking advantage of the massive number of open positions and needs that an aging population poses, these are the top ten careers to consider:
Nurses are the backbone of the country, and they will be the backbone for any elderly care facility. This applies to every level of nurse. Elderly care facilities will need certified nursing assistants just as much as they will need APRNs who specialize in geriatric care. The good news for those currently working as nurses is that the workload is often less, with a greater emphasis on everyday care and on improving wellbeing as much as health. Nurses who work outside of the hospitals in care homes and other similar facilities also enjoy a more consistent work routine in comparison to their hospital counterparts, making it a great career move for those who want to settle in their career or who have children at home that they want to spend more time with.
- RCFE Administrator
Nurses might take care of the patients in an RCFE, but it is administrators that pull everything together. An RCFE administrator oversees everything from food service, to the activities and events that the residents enjoy to hiring and training staff. They are the ones in charge of the RCFE, and a great RCFE administrator is essential for a high quality of life for elderly residents.
It is also an excellent career option for those looking to either kickstart their career or to change careers. The requirements to earning administrative rcfe certification are relatively low, meaning that everyone can get trained and licensed in just 80 hours.
There are different levels of RCFE administrator. The bare minimum requires you to have a high school diploma and be at least 21 years of age before starting your certification. To oversee a facility with 16 – 49 beds, you will need at least 15 college credits or alternatively have been working at an RCFE for at least 1 year. To oversee a facility with 50+ beds, you will either need 2 years of college or 3 years of RCFE experience.
These, overall, are very easy requirements to earn, and once you do, you can start the RCFE administrator course and be ready to either be hired or even put yourself in a good position to open your own RCFE in the future.
- Fitness Trainer
Fitness doesn’t stop being important just because you age; in fact, it becomes more critical than ever. A fitness trainer specializing in the elderly will know exactly how to help them exercise and build strength and be there to oversee their exercises for the best results.
You don’t legally need to be certified, but you may find it difficult to find a job without it. These certifications simply teach you how to lead or conduct accessible training modules specifically for elderly clients. You will also want to be first-aid certified and be able to perform CPR.
Audiologists work with hearing loss. This is a very specific healthcare position requiring an AU.D degree and a state license, but it is far more accessible than many things. You can earn certification from several institutions that will teach you all that you need to know and get you prepared for the state exam so that you can start to help the elderly with issues related to their hearing.
- Aging in Place Contractors
Suppose you currently work in construction or are a contractor. In that case, a good way to future-proof your career and business is to expand your operations to include “Aging in Place” or other accessible home modification renovations. There are several courses that can help teach you on what options are available so that you can get started with expanding your clientele and your portfolio.
- Retirement and Lifestyle Coach
Many people struggle with the transition from working to retirement, especially if they really committed themselves to their work life. Retirement coaches help with the transition, and act similar to other lifestyle coaches or career coaches. They are not mental health professionals but rather help their clients navigate a new life that is fulfilling and brings joy. You don’t need professional certification or a degree to do this, either, though a nonprofit will train you and give you a credential you can use globally to kickstart your career.
Eating well is just as important as regular exercise, and once again, dietary needs change as the body ages. A dietician or nutritionist specializing in the elderly can help on a client-by-client basis or work at clinics and other care facilities to plan healthy, delicious meals and monitor meal prep.
- Recreational Therapist
Recreational therapists are perfect for artists or musicians who want to take their talents and put them towards social work. Recreational therapists are artists or activity organizers who put together activities and events for elderly clients, particularly those who live in an RCFE or memory centers.
Typically you will offer a class and lead that class at your place or places of work. As you work your way up the career ladder, however, you can start to organize other recreational therapists to add new activities for your clients.
- Financial Planner
Finances are a big part of a successful retirement, and specializing in retirement planning and money management after your clients are retired is a great way to cater to the aging population. You will be managing investments and even facilitating downsizing. You may also be tasked to work with a lawyer to keep the will updated. Like all financial roles, you will need to be trained and certified, and therefore this option is best suited for those who are already accountants or financial advisors.
- Patient Advocate
Patient advocates work on behalf of patients to solve issues like billing mistakes or insurance coverage rejections. They can also work to find suitable clinics and care facilities for their clients as required. Advocates are often previous nurses or social workers who want to help the elderly get the best possible quality of care and experience as they age. The medical system can be very stressful, especially as one age and their cognitive abilities begin to slow.
There is no need to have a license to be a patient advocate, however, there are credentialing programs to ensure you know what needs to be done. Having a credential can also make it easier to gain clients.
There are so many great career opportunities available and expanding thanks to the aging population, which means you have many great choices ahead of you.