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Health & Social Care careers

Social Care: Older People

Why work with older people?

If you’re eager to work with older people, this area of social care is an excellent career path to pursue. The work is varied and doesn’t just revolve around things like taking older people food shopping once a week.

It can be just as fun as it is rewarding. In fact, we even read something recently about health and fitness playgrounds being developed for the over 60s!

What do I need to work with older people?

This area of social care is all about providing support to older people, giving service users the opportunity to live a more fulfilling life and helping them cope with the detrimental effects of ageing.

It’s probably worth noting that you need to enjoy working with older people to work in this area of social care. If you don’t, then this career path probably isn’t for you.

More than anything, you need to be a compassionate person, an excellent communicator and a good listener. A lot of the job involves listening to the problems of the people under your care and coming up with programmes and schemes to make things better for them.

Your energy and enthusiasm will be great tools in helping older people to get the most out of their lives. It will rub off on them and help them to be happier and more active.

Most employers will be looking for candidates who have some experience of working in social care. This doesn’t have to be specific to older people, but this would certainly help. Why not get involved with volunteering schemes? It could be a great starting point for getting into this line of work.

What can I do in this field?

If you get involved with this area of social care, you’ll be using your expert knowledge of social care issues and communication skills to assess the specific needs of the older people that you are working with. You’ll spend your time meeting with them, speaking to them and learning about their needs in order to figure out where they most need support.

Furthermore, you will be making the important decisions about what assistance specific service users will require, such as special mobility equipment, help at home and access to group social activities.

It’s not all about making assessments and providing advice and guidance, though: you might also be getting actively involved in helping service users to enjoy their life and get to grips with their problems.

This area of work is a lot more hands-on. For instance, you might be leading group activities and organising social events for lonely service users. You might even be getting some older people down to one of those adult playgrounds!

Alternatively, you could specialise in helping older people with psychological problems. You could be offering therapy and counselling for service users that are struggling to cope with depression, paranoia or anxiety.

Moreover, you might specialise in providing care and support for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. This can be an especially distressing area of social care, so you will need to be emotionally tough, patient and passionate about helping people with these devastating conditions.

Not all older people are like Abe Simpson and his friend Jasper Beardly – and it is unlikely that you will hear phrases like “we had to use ‘diggity’, because the Kaiser stole our word ‘twenty’”. However, these little eccentricities and stories can be one of the most fantastic parts to working with older people. After all, there’s a lot more to this area than the less popular nursing side of things.