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Geriatric Aide Job Description, Career as a Geriatric Aide, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training On-the-job training

Salary Median—$8.47 to $9.11 per hour

Employment Outlook Very good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Geriatric aides offer personal care and assistance to elderly people who no longer have the health, strength, or resources to be completely self-sufficient. They work in nursing homes, adult day care centers, specialized recreation programs, health care facilities, and private homes.

Some geriatric aides help medical personnel care for patients who are ill, disabled, or medically fragile. Duties may include feeding, dressing, and bathing the patients, as well as providing physical therapy. The older adults they serve range from critically ill patients who need constant attention to relatively healthy individuals who require only social activities, transportation, or companionship.

Geriatric aides assist elderly people in a variety of settings, including nursing homes, adult day care centers, specialized recreation programs, health care facilities, and private homes. (© Martha Tabor/Working Images Photographs. Reproduced by permission.)

Education and Training Requirements

Many geriatric aide positions have no educational requirements, although high school diplomas are often preferred. On-the-job training is usually provided. Many colleges now offer two- or four-year degrees in gerontology. Courses in first-aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), biology, psychology, health care, and sociology are useful.

Getting the Job

Job seekers can apply directly to nursing homes or public agencies serving the elderly. Newsletters and other publications in the geriatric field may have job listings. School placement offices, state employment services, newspaper classified ads, and job banks on the Internet are other sources of employment information.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Aides who pursue higher education may advance to professional positions in the field, becoming geriatric nurses, therapists, or counselors. Others may obtain additional training and become medical assistants.

Employment of geriatric aides is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. The elderly population is increasing, and many in this age group may require assistance. In addition, many families want to contain costs by moving patients out of hospitals and nursing care facilities to keep them at home with geriatric aides.

Working Conditions

At facilities that offer around-the-clock care, night and weekend work is usually required. In addition, aides may be on call for emergencies. The job may be strenuous if patients need to be lifted and stressful if they are failing mentally or physically. Patience, sensitivity, and good judgment are essential.

Earnings and Benefits

In 2004 the median hourly wage for geriatric aides ranged from $8.47 to $9.11, depending on experience, type of facility, and geographic location. Experienced workers earned $12.32 per hour or more, with the highest pay going to workers in nursing homes.

Where to Go for More Information

American Association for Homecare
625 Slaters La., Ste. 200
Alexandria, VA 22314-1171
(703) 836-6263

American Geriatrics Society
350 Fifth Ave., Ste. 801
New York, NY 10118
(212) 308-1414

National Council on the Aging
300 D St. SW, Ste. 801
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 479-1200

Some facilities offer health insurance, retirement plans, and holiday and vacation pay. Overtime is frequently available.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service