How to Become a Geriatric Counselor
Geriatric Counseling (also known as gerontological or geriatric LPCs) assists individuals and families with issues that relate to the aging process. The aging process is not always easy and there are times when a trained geriatric counselor is needed. The types of issues could include one or more of the following: retirement years; interpersonal discord; money concerns; memory loss; and illness. One of the major concerns among the elderly is losing so many friends and family.
The issues of illness and death become much more common as individuals enter their older years. Many fear the future of what could happen should they become disabled in some way. It proves a challenge for many adults to face the less-than-pleasant aspects of aging. As they age, some adults may approach their “Golden Years” with the anticipation of retirement, grandchildren, and relaxation time. Others may truly fear the possibility of the physical and mental adverse effects of aging. It may also be difficult for some older adults to face mortality. Another major concern is what to do with the challenge of attending to basic needs when experiencing the ill effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Some other challenges that can present to the elderly are the following: impairments in hearing, vision, or mobility, and worsening of overall health. Nobody looks forward to the possibility of a loss of independence and/or dignity. Geriatric counselors often assist the elderly with issues that are separate from, but accompany, the aging process. Some elderly individuals have had lifelong struggles with mental illness, for instance. Often, the aging process can exacerbate mental illness. Geriatric counselors are there to help.
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Geriatric LPC and CertificationIf you feel that you want to pursue a career as a geriatric counselor, you can begin the process by securing a Bachelor’s degree in a field such as counseling, social work, or psychology. Gain experience in the field! Your degree and experience will provide you an excellent foundation needed to effectively apply to a quality Master’s program. The admissions teams at the schools of your choice will know that you are serious. Many professionals choose to add to their repertoire by gaining knowledge of the geriatric population. If you already have a license in a related field, you can develop graduate certification in gerontological counseling. Continuing education is often a great idea. If your state requires continuing education for your license renewal, you might be allowed to select courses that pertain to the geriatric population, such as depression in older adults, and clinical neuropathology and health assessments.
Career Outlook and Salary for Geriatric LPCsGeriatric counseling is a growing field. Two factors have led to this:
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted 37% growth of counseling positions between 2010 and 2020.
- The number of individuals 65 and over is growing, and Baby Boomers seem to be more and more open-minded to the benefits of counseling.