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California State University, Long Beach
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

What Can I Do as a Professional Working in the Field of Gerontology?

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Career options in the field of aging include work in a variety of settings:

  • Community/social services agencies, religious organizations;
  • Health care and long-term care institutions;
  • federal, state, and local government agencies, including the system of service delivery to older persons under the Older American Act;
  • retirement communities;
  • academic and other educational and research settings;
  • professional organizations;
  • business and industry;
  • The arts and sciences.

Some professionals work directly with culturally diverse older persons, in areas such as:

  • Developing programs such as health promotion, recreation and leisure, and intergenerational activities in senior centers, community agencies, or retirement communities;
  • Providing direct care to frail, ill, or impaired older persons and their caregivers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, assisted living, adult day care or home care programs.
  • Teaching older adults in community settings
  • Counseling older persons and their families about issues of care giving, employment, finances, death and dying, or mental health
  • Advising older clients about estate planning and investments, long-term care financing, or housing options.
  • Advocating for older adults as an ombuds, conservator, care manager.

Some professionals work indirectly with older adults from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds and on their behalf in areas such as

  • analyzing issues related to older persons such as retirement, income, the health care system, housing alternatives
  • planning, administering, and evaluating community-based and health related services for older persons and their families
  • Writing grants to support programs
  • teaching courses on aging to college and university students, health care professionals, and older adults
  • advocating with or on behalf of older persons before legislative bodies
  • designing products to meet the special interests and needs of older persons
  • developing marketing strategies
  • consulting with business, industry, labor, arts, sciences both nationally and internationally about older adults and aging
  • Entrepreneurial options - creating businesses/services
  • Residential Care Facility for the Elderly administrator

Some of these careers require post-baccalaureate education in a specialty field or in Gerontology. Knowledge about aging enhances almost every career and discipline

What Does the Field of Aging Offer Me Personally?

People working in the aging field experience great personal satisfaction from knowing they are making a true difference. You can help to improve the quality of older persons lives, influence agencies and organizations serving older persons, help to change legislation and policies effecting older adults, educate the community on aging related topics, and serve as a leader/advocate for older adults. Studying aging also gives you a more realistic perspective on your own aging and insight into the aging of your family members.