The baby boomer generation is nearing the retirement age. There will be a huge increase in the aging population. As a consequence, more healthcare professionals are needed especially physical therapists. Aging bodies become weak and fragile. The elderly will have a difficult time walking and doing other activities. Physical therapists help to regain physical health as much as possible. Physical therapists that specialize in treating the elderly are called geriatric physical therapists.
Geriatric Physical Therapy Career
A geriatric physical therapist helps elderly patients to achieve the highest level of physical health possible. Since the seniors are prone to osteoporosis, joint soreness and arthritis, they have a hard time engaging in daily activities. A geriatric physical therapist will evaluate the condition of the patient and will develop an exercise plan to keep the patient fit and healthy. Throughout the implementation of the exercise plan, the geriatric physical therapist continues to monitor the progress and adjust exercise plans if needed. Geriatric physical therapists often work in outpatient facilities, in private patient homes and nursing homes. They can work with a patient in an individual or group setting.
What Do You Need To Become A Geriatric Physical Therapist?
To become a geriatric physical therapist, you should acquire a master’s or doctorate degree first. Some states will have certification criteria as well as the educational requirements. The master’s and doctorate degree will take 2-4 years after earning your bachelor’s degree. Geriatric physical therapists focus on human growth and development, psychology, anatomy and therapeutic techniques. Specialized courses on geriatric physical therapy are also offered online.
Geriatric physical therapists should have excellent communication skills as well as motivational and encouragement skills. The seniors can be very stubborn once they experience difficulty with the exercise. As a geriatric physical therapist, you should be able to motivate them to be physically fit. You will also need to be sympathetic and patient to your elderly patients. Apply the right level of challenge on the exercise plan. Push them appropriately and do not get frustrated with them.
Career Outlook For Geriatric Physical Therapy
In The U.S., the number of elderly continues to increase which has led to the growing number of jobs in the field of geriatric physical therapy. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there will be a projected growth in employment in geriatric physical therapy. The median annual salary for a geriatric physical therapist is around $69,000.