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How do I Become a Geriatric Aide?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 17, 2024
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Someone who works in the health services sector as a personal support worker might want to become a geriatric aide. The primary responsibilities of a geriatric aide include dietary support, personal hygiene, physical therapy and organizing social programs for senior citizens. Employment opportunities include working at long-term care facilities, government agencies, social service programs and health services companies. There are four items required to become a personal support worker: formal training, related work experience, physical strength and interpersonal skills.

A person who is ideally suited to a career as a geriatric aide are naturally outgoing and enjoy working with senior citizens. Patience and the ability to maintain a positive outlook in the face of ongoing challenges are very important characteristics of a geriatric aide. Senior citizens who are facing recurring health challenges and mobility or mental health issues often require the assistance of a geriatric aide on an ongoing basis.

Post-secondary training to become a geriatric aide is available from a wide range of community colleges and career colleges. These programs usually are one year in length but can be even shorter for candidates with prior training in health care services. A trained personal support worker might take a three-month certificate to become a geriatric aide. Take the time to confirm that the school is accredited before paying the course tuition, in order to avoid wasting time and money.

Related work experience is primarily in the health care services industry as a primary support worker. Most people gain the necessary experience through positions as personal support workers or as volunteers in a long-term care facility or hospital. Some training programs include a co-operative or job placement opportunity. Explore these programs to learn more about the different placement settings and length of the assignment.

As a geriatric aide, physical strength is required to move clients in and out of bed and to provide assistance when needed. Strong upper body and back muscles are necessary to avoid injury. Although all training programs include techniques for safe movement of patients, the risk of injury is still quite high.

Someone who wants to become a geriatric aide must have excellent interpersonal skills. The ability to quickly connect and develop a rapport with the client is an important part of the job. Loneliness, social isolation and depression are quite common among the elderly. Social connections are the best way to fight these conditions and tp make a huge difference to the quality of life for clients.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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