A gerontologist is anyone who works with the elderly in one way or another.
If you lived 100 years ago, your life expectancy would have only been about
50 years! Because of medical breakthroughs in this century, people are living
That means we have more older people. We need professionals who can help
make their quality of life better. These professionals are called gerontologists.
The field of gerontology is multidisciplinary. That means that people from
many different educational backgrounds (doctors, nurses, teachers and sociologists)
work as gerontologists.
Since we all age, the study of gerontology is in everyone's best interest,
not just those who are seniors right now. Gerontology researchers actually
study the aging process. They study how we change mentally and physically
as we get older.
Some gerontologists are doctors who specialize in working with the elderly.
Teachers can also be gerontologists. They may teach the subject at a university
or college level, and write about the issues of aging.
A gerontologist can be an administrator in a nursing home, an assisted
living community or a senior citizens' center. They try to provide the most
comfortable environment for the elderly.
Since gerontology includes many different professions, people in this field
are hired in various positions and settings.
"You are limited only by your imagination," says David Haber. He works
with the health promotion and gerontology department at the University of
Texas in Galveston.
"Health-care facilities, retirement communities, educational institutions
and government agencies hire gerontologists."
"Workweek and hours of work can vary in different settings," says Bill
Krever. He is the president and CEO of a charitable organization for seniors.
"In a community setting, there is some evening work and weekend work, though
it is mostly 9 to 5."
Haber says that in his position, he has a lot of freedom to choose his
hours. Some travel can be involved. "I travel about four times a year," he
says. "I could travel more or less if I wanted."
The physical requirements for this field are the same as any other office