Geriatric Social Workers

Employment for social workers who provide services for the elderly and persons with disabilities is expected to grow by 64 percent through 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, or much faster than the average for all careers. Those specializing in geriatric social work will be in especially great demand for several reasons. It is estimated that, as people live longer—more than 19 million people in the United States will be over the age of 85 by the middle of the 21st century—more geriatric social workers will be needed to create programs and provide services for the growing number of elderly persons. Rising health care costs are causing many insurance companies to consider alternatives to hospital treatment, so some insurance coverage now includes home stays. In addition, hospitals and nursing homes are trying to balance the demand for their services and their limitations in staff and physical facilities. As home care becomes a viable, affordable option for more older people, more geriatric social workers will be necessary to evaluate the needs of clients and set up services.

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