Nurses who focus on caring for elderly patients are in the field of gerontology or geriatrics, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They provide the special care the elderly need in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and home health care.
Registered nurses have either an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree or a diploma from an accredited teaching hospital, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Licensed vocational nurses attend training for about one year and work under the direction of a physician or registered nurse. Nursing aides have the most contact with elderly patients because they handle day-to-day care such as bathing and feeding. Nursing aides are typically high school graduates with on-the-job training.
Different Nursing Specialties Within Geriatrics
Rehabilitation nurses work with people with short-term or long-term disabilities, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Long-term-care nurses provide medical attention to people with chronic physical or mental disabilities. Home-health-care nurses enable elderly people to receive care while staying in their homes, usually after they have been discharged from a hospital or long-term-care facility.
Average Incomes for Each Nursing Role
As of 2010, registered nurses working within a geriatric setting make $50,000 to $68,000 a year on average, according to Payscale. Licensed vocational nurses earn between $35,000 and $48,000 annually. Nursing aides earn between $19,000 and $27,000 a year.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in nursing facilities to grow in 2008-2018 because of the rising number of elderly people. Home health care is also growing as more patients prefer the comfort of being in familiar settings and as technological advances make it possible to transport complex equipment.