“Such to me is the new image of aging: growth in self and service for all mankind.”
-Ethel Percy Andrus
Caring for you
Has left an indelible imprint
On my soul.
Viterbo University offers a minor program in Gerontology which is a multidisciplinary field examining the biological, psychological, and social aspects of aging. This minor is in the department of sociology, social work, and criminal justice and was developed to meet the emerging needs of the elderly based on changing demographic trends.
Why Gerontology? According to the Department of Health and Human Services:
- The population over the age of 65 will increase from 37.9 million in 2007 to 71.5 million in 2030.
- The population over the age 85 will increase to 6.6 million in 2020.
- Current statistics show about one in every eight Americans (12.4%) is over the age of 65.
- Demographic trends in Southwest Wisconsin and Southeast Minnesota mirror national trends showing a growing need for individuals who are trained to work with the older population.
- While state-wide statistics show 5.4 percent of Wisconsin residents in the 65+ category live in care facilities, in La Crosse that number is 7.2 percent.
- The aging of the population is also a world-wide trend; by 2030, one in eight or one billion people in the world will be 65+, representing a global challenge. Most of these increases will occur in developing countries (an increase of 140 percent by 2030).
Job Opportunities per The Occupational Outlook Handbook:
- Health care and social assistance occupations are two areas with the fastest job growth through 2016.
- Residential care facilities, individual and family services, public and private hospitals, and other types of social assistance will grow by 25.4 percent and add approximately four million jobs to the economy.
- Jobs related to management of housing needs for the elderly, such as retirement communities or assisted living, will be in high demand.
- Professionals in the field of aging work in a variety of settings including federal, state, and local governments, non-profits, business and industry, and academic and research settings.
- Need for professionals to work with the elderly, particularly among social workers, dieticians/nutritionists, nurses, psychologists, and other social service professionals. These majors are offered at Viterbo.
A minor in gerontology would add a complementary dimension to any of these career choices. This minor is the first and only such minor available in combination with these majors in the Western Wisconsin region.
“By most accounts, careers in the field of aging are going to be among the next big things in the twenty-first century workplace. A key factor in this expected job growth, besides the obvious demographic bulge, is the shift away from viewing employment solely from the illness, disease, and research model. This is due in large part to a redefinition of gerontology itself…No longer a single profession, careers in aging offer the possibility of a specialist overlay to any profession serving our aging population.”
“Careers in Aging: A Booming Industry”
CSA Journal 30 (March 2006)