Working with older adults can be a rewarding experience. Here are more reasons to consider a career in gerontological social work! (source: CSWE Gero-Ed Center)
The Documented Need for Geriatric Social Workers
- 60,000 to 70,000 geriatric social workers will be needed by 2020, yet less than 10% of that projected number is now available.
- The demand for geriatric social workers will increase by 45% by 2015.
- Geriatric social work ranks as one of the top 20 careers in terms of growth potential.
An Institute on Medicine 2008 Report concluded that the supply of health care providers, including social workers, is inadequate for meeting the health and psychosocial needs of future older adults.
Dramatic Demographic Changes
- By the year 2050, one out of every seven people in the world will be 65 years old or older.
- Significant to issues of social justice, the number of those over age 85—elders with the highest rates of chronic illness, poverty, and living alone—is expected to quintuple to more than 19 million by 2050.
- The older population is becoming more ethnically and racially diverse. The percentage of minority elders will grow from the current 17% to 33% by 2050.
- Aging is a normal process that affects all of us.
- Issues of aging and older adults are linked with all the fields of social work practice— mental health, substance use, health care, child welfare (e.g., grandparents are primary caregivers to grandchildren), or corrections (e.g., the graying of the inmate population).