Golden Careers: Gerontology in Action

Golden Careers: Gerontology in Action

Only one group of Americans has more than doubled in size over the past twenty years: the elderly. They’ve experienced more than most in their lifetimes, from world wars to the first man on the moon. Thanks to lengthening life spans, they have much more to experience; over 41.4 million Americans are 65 and older – that’s more than 13.3 percent of the total U.S. population.1

As this golden group ages, how can we serve and love the elders that hold such a special place in our communities and families?

GERONTOLOGY CAREERS

Case worker

The role of geriatric social workers includes:

  • Helping senior citizens cope with common problems experienced by the elderly
  • Ensuring the needs of their clients are met from day-to-day
  • Providing aid with financial issues, medical care, mental disorders and social problems

Geriatric care manager

Care managers help the elderly and their loved ones develop a long-term care plan and connect with necessary services.

Healthcare business manager

These managers make sure healthcare facilities provide the most effective patient care. This includes planning and coordinating services in hospitals and clinics.

Art therapist

Art therapy uses the visual and auditory arts to help restore function and general wellbeing. Benefits can include:

  • Increased cognitive skills
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Improved motor skills
  • Alleviated pain
  • Socialization
  • Self-expression

78 percent of art therapists report working with older adults on a regular basis.2

Grief counselor

Grief counselors help seniors process bereavement and loss, as well as cope with thoughts of their own death.

Assisted living administrator

Administrators manage assisted living facilities or services, which provide care to adults who need help with daily tasks like bathing, eating and dressing.

Health educator

These educators provide the elderly with lessons that inform them about health concerns.

Physical therapist

Physical therapists help aging adults strengthen their muscles, increase mobility and improve endurance. They also help with recovery from an injury or illness.

HELPING AND HEALING

The elderly are likely to face hardships, but with our help, they don’t have to go through them alone.

Bereavement and loss

A natural part of the aging process is experiencing the loss of loved ones as well as coping with one’s own progressing age. Seniors often experience bereavement and loss differently than younger adults, which puts them at risk for depression, anxiety and PTSD. Grieving seniors can benefit from the support others as they work through difficult times.

75 percent of adults 50 and older reported finding humor and laughter in their daily lives.3

Family caregiving

Family caregivers play a crucial role in keeping the elderly comfortable at home by providing support like:

  • Economic resources
  • Loving relationships and companionship
  • Minimal health and wellness assistance
  • Support with day-to-day needs

More than 10 percent of the U.S. population have served as unpaid caregivers for older adults.4

Health promotion and self-care

Age can prevent seniors from properly taking care of their bodies, but we can help our loved ones stay beautiful and healthy. Helping the elderly groom themselves, receive regular medical attention and stay active can go a long way in promoting general wellbeing.

Disabilities

In more extreme cases, seniors may experience disabilities or other chronic health conditions. You can support older adults by ensuring they can access the healthcare professionals and resources they need. This might involve assistance with transportation and attending to business, legal and medical concerns.

75 percent of seniors have at least one chronic health condition, and most have two or more.5

End-of-life and palliative care

As our loved ones enter their final days, specialized care can help provide relief from the symptoms and stress. End-of-life and palliative care makes their last days as pain-free and comfortable as possible.

Quality of long-term care

Fortunately, there are a number of geriatric professionals trained to provide excellent care for aging adults in all of these areas. A growing population of the elderly means the demand for these practitioners is greater than ever – and there are more opportunities for you to bring wellness and care into the lives of the elderly than ever.

Interested in a career in a gerontology? Pursuing an online master’s degree can help. Learn more at: https://www.cune.edu/academics/graduate/master-healthcare-administration/gerontology/

SOURCES

  1. https://www.upi.com/133-percent-in-US-are-seniors/75971362689252/
  2. American Art Therapy Association
  3. https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/basics/info-2017/truth-about-grief.html
  4. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/geriatrics/social-issues-in-the-elderly/family-caregiving-for-the-elderly
  5. National Council on Aging

This sponsored story is brought to you by Concordia University Nebraska.

Nurse of the Week: Nurse, Mother, and Former Camp Counselor Meg Busing Founds Camp YouCan

Nurse of the Week: Nurse, Mother, and Former Camp Counselor Meg Busing Founds Camp YouCan

Our Nurse of the Week is Meg Busing, a nurse, mother, and former camp counselor who founded Camp YouCan, a summer camp in Nebraska for kids with epilepsy. She was inspired to found the camp after going through her own health struggles and after serving as a counselor at a camp for families of kids with cancer before she started nursing school.

After a car accident in 1998 left Busing with a traumatic brain injury that left her struggling with seizures for over a decade, she eventually underwent a successful brain surgery, which has left her seizure free since. Meg started the camp along with her husband Kael Busing, as well as their own nonprofit, the Midwest YouCan Foundation.

Busing tells Omaha.com, “We named it Camp YouCan because kids are always reminded of the things they can’t do. We just want them to see all that they can do and meet other kids with epilepsy.”

Camp YouCan provides a sense of community and a chance to talk with other kids going through the same thing. The camp offers a number of activities including ziplining, tightrope walking, rockwall climbing, archery, and a water slide. By the end of the week, campers leave with new confidence in their abilities, lifelong friendships, and excitement to come back and do it again the next year.

Before opening Camp YouCan, Meg overcame her illness and injuries and became a registered nurse and mother of three. Now she’s sharing with others how to advocate for themselves, build a community of support, and find things they CAN do. To learn more about registered nurse Meg Busing and how she founded her nonprofit and a summer camp for kids with epilepsy, visit here.

New Simulation Lab Strengthens Nurse Education at Midland University

New Simulation Lab Strengthens Nurse Education at Midland University

Midland University and Methodist Fremont Health opened a new $1 million simulation lab earlier this summer, providing simulated learning to medical students. The lab, constructed inside of Methodist Fremont Health Center, is used both by medical professionals and Midland University students.

Located in a modern wing of Fremont Health Center, the lab includes five hi-fidelity Gaumard Manikins. Deborah Brester, MSN, RN, a professor at Midland University, has already seen how students are greatly benefiting from having access to simulated learning in addition to their classroom education. “The lab complements the traditional clinical experience by allowing our students to experience real-life scenarios,” Brester said. “You can simulate an entire birthing experience, cardiac arrest ­— anything. You can give IVs and draw blood. Instructors can even speak through them and simulate distress.”

Brester, who is currently leading Midland’s mother/baby nursing class, is also using the simulation lab for her own doctoral dissertation, as she pursues her Ph.D. in nursing education at Midland.

“We can create scenarios that [students] may not otherwise ever be exposed to in a clinical setting,” she shared. “This builds a tremendous amount of confidence and enhances critical thinking skills that they’ll use throughout their careers.”

The Gaumard Manikins use “Care in Motion” simulation technology, which allows students to treat the Manikins like actual patients in different environments. In addition to the manikins, students are able to practice on the same equipment that Fremont Health medical professionals use every day.

“The simulation lab represents our vision to provide relevant opportunities, dynamic experiences, and innovative programs for Midland students by working from the marketplace back,” Midland University President said. “Marketplace relevancy is twofold: educational programs that prepare our students for the careers of today and tomorrow, and partnership with organizations in our community to create opportunities for continuous employee development.”

To learn more about Midland University’s nursing program, click here.

UNMC College of Nursing Receives $91.5K Grant for Geriatric Services

UNMC College of Nursing Receives $91.5K Grant for Geriatric Services

The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing recently received a $91,500 grant from Women Investing in Nebraska (WIN) for geriatric and dementia services. The grant was given specifically to the UNMC Geriatric Cognitive and Mental Health Project for Rural Nebraska.

The project is being managed by UNMC assistant professor Dr. Nancy Meier, who teaches adult gerontology and psychiatric mental in the nurse practitioner programs. She explained that many older patients have to travel further for specialized services, which limits their access to care. “One of the reasons for my applying for this grant is that in the 11 Panhandle counties, almost 20 percent of the population is 65 or older,” Dr. Meier told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald. “That means almost 1 in 5 individuals living in the Panhandle are over the age of 65, yet there is really a lack of providers who have specialty in being able to evaluate them from a psychiatric standpoint, as well as geriatric.”

The grant will help Dr. Meier and other UNMC nurse practitioners get trained on performing geriatric assessments and psychiatric evaluations on patients in their own homes, in order to help access to care and help the nurse practitioners better see and understand their patients’ living situations, backgrounds, and other important details.

“I work with them to provide the details on what I think is the problem,” Meier shared with the Scottsbluff Star-Herald. “We are very specific into the needs of that older adult. Our goal is that they will be able to stay longer at home. Our goal is to be able to help them take care of the problem or give them a reference to another provider, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy or the right resource so that they are healthy and stay healthy.”

This grant from WIN is a huge boost for the program, which will also provide caregiver assessments, dementia education, and mobile services. This comes in addition to a four year, $2.6 million grant gifted in July to the UNMC College of Nursing by the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration, aimed at improving engagement of registered nurses in patient management.

For more information about the grant awarded to the UNMC Geriatric Cognitive and Mental Health Project for Rural Nebraska, click here.

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