Updated December 2022
Gerontology is the study of aging and the challenges of the elderly. It spans legal and ethical concerns, common health care issues, access to community resources, and the stigma around aging that is so prevalent in our society.
And it may surprise you to know that gerontology is considered one of the biggest growth areas of the 21st century.
Businesses and organizations across industries are "gerontologizing" their products and services, positioning themselves to tap into this enormous pool of consumers.
But just how big will Canada's population of seniors get? And are we truly ready to meet their complex needs?
Take a look at three reasons gerontology training is becoming crucial for those of us who work with seniors, and why now is an excellent time to enhance your skills and knowledge through certification.
1. Seniors are a rapidly growing segment of Canada's population
By 2051, seniors will rule the world. Or at the very least, they'll rule Canada, where census projections show that one out of every four people will be over the age of 65.
Already, seniors make up a larger percentage of our population than children. And according to the latest census, the number of Canadians aged 65 or older grew six times faster between 2016 and 2021 than the number of those under age 15.
What's more, the number of Canadians over 85 doubled between 2001 and 2021. And this age group is forecast to triple by 2046.
All kinds of industries have set their sights on tapping into seniors' wants and needs. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the health and wellness sector, where understanding and meeting the growing demands of seniors has become a pressing issue.
2. Demand for gerontology professionals is on the rise
Demand for professionals with gerontology training can be felt across disciplines, from law enforcement to social services to education to health care.
We simply don't have enough geriatrics experts and resources to meet the needs of our aging population. A good example is the long-term care industry. In Ontario, there's a serious shortage of long-term care facilities and staff.mAt this point, Ontario has approximately 35,000 people on a waitlist for long-term beds.
And by the time seniors are granted admission into nursing homes, their needs are acute, and they're at their most frail. Professionals who work in these facilities need special training to provide effective, safe, compassionate care to residents.
In fact, across the board—in home-care situations, seniors day programs, social services, medicine, and nursing homes—we see a growing need for targeted geriatrics training.
This skills gap spells opportunity for health care, education, and social services providers who actively pursue gerontology training.
Those with a better understanding of aging and how to care for seniors will be ideally positioned to land emerging jobs in this exploding sector of the Canadian economy.
3. There are flexible, online options for gerontology certification
You don't need a university degree to supplement and expand your knowledge of senior care. A quality gerontology certificate provides an excellent grounding in key topic areas, such as:
- Community resources and social issues related to aging (housing, income, access to services)
- Recreational programs and activities to promote healthy aging
- Typical health issues faced by seniors (co-morbidity, pain management, sleep problems, nutrition, etc.)
- Elder abuse
- Issues around consent, substitute decision-makers, and medically assisted dying
- Common mental health conditions and disorders among seniors
- Understanding the physical and psychological process of aging (and the impact on relationships, family, social inclusion, etc.)
Professional development courses in gerontology are geared toward people who are working in a related field and want to dig deeper into the challenges seniors are facing and how best to support these needs.
You'll qualify for certification with a secondary degree or diploma—or work experience in a related field. And there are plenty of gerontology certificates available online, which students can pursue at their own pace, with instructor support.
Seriously considering training, and want to learn more about the Gerontology Certificate offered at Kompass Professional Development?
Click below to explore the scope of the program, and connect with a helpful advisor. Ask about the next program start date, tuition costs, courses, or any other questions you have. We're here to help.