The Crucial Role of Nursing in an Aging World

The Crucial Role of Nursing in an Aging World

The world is experiencing a remarkable demographic shift. Statistics show that nearly 27% of the world’s population will be over 65 years old by 2050. This means there’ll be more older patients than the healthcare industry currently has the capacity for. This changes the narrative for healthcare systems as the ever-growing need for healthcare professionals, particularly nurses, increases. 

The nursing profession, being at the center of patient care, is gradually adapting to this change. This is why the healthcare sector faces a high demand for nurses in several healthcare settings, including nursing homes and hospitals. Nurses aren’t just caregivers, they are also friendly faces for patients and advocates for their rights. 

Their roles and responsibilities to cater to this increasing population of older adults also require that nurses advance their knowledge and education. Nurses are pursuing advanced certifications to enhance their skills and prepare for the oncoming patient wave in geriatric care.

Spring Arbor University knows this and provides nurses with the necessary resources and training to sharpen their competence. 

Nurses can choose between various programs, and it’s important to choose the path that best suits you. For example, when considering the benefits of aanp vs ancc certifications, nurses should keep in mind which qualification offers them the best credentials based on their career goals.

Spring Arbor University explains everything you need to know about these certifications and how to choose the most suitable one. Courses at Spring Arbor are reputable, accredited, and prepare students to be nurses specializing in elderly adult care.

This article will explore how nursing is shifting to better cater to the aging population and the practices they’re adopting to achieve this goal.

Challenges of caring for the older population

Caring for the aging population naturally comes with unique challenges. For example, consider the prevalence of chronic conditions among older adults—many adults battle hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. 

Senior patients also experience multimorbidity, which is when one person suffers from multiple health conditions at once. These patients can be challenging to coordinate care for as each of these conditions is linked in a complex way, and caring for these interconnected medical issues can, therefore, be tasking.

There are also mental health concerns. Elderly patients frequently suffer from depression and cognitive disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

You must know that physical and psychological health issues merge when caring for adults; your dementia patient may have trouble walking down the stairs, or even walking at all. You must learn to balance treatments for their physical and mental conditions.

Five ways nursing is caring for the adult population

The baby boomer generation is aging, and the healthcare system is facing a significant increase in elderly patients. Here are five ways nurses are tackling this surge. 

Addressing increased life expectancy

One of the factors accompanying this rise is that elders are living longer. The life expectancy since the 1960s has significantly increased; men are now expected to live seven years longer in 2040 than they were in 1960, while women are expected to live four years longer.

This growth in the elderly population and the higher life expectancy means they have to receive more care than they did in the past. This is where nurses come in. Nurses can contribute to the growing population and life expectancy in several ways, depending on their role and specialization.

Nurse researchers, for example, can focus their studies on understanding how and why chronic conditions affect older patients. For instance, you might explore the impact of diabetes on cardiovascular health in older patients or investigate why Alzheimer’s disease progresses differently in elderly patients. Your research could help healthcare professionals develop new treatment options to improve seniors’ quality of life.

If you work as a public health nurse, you could educate communities about the importance of healthy lifestyles, especially for seniors. Nurses can organize community health fairs or offer workshops on nutrition for older adults. Their efforts can help seniors understand their health needs better and take measures to maintain their health.

Direct care nurses in primary care offices, clinics, or hospitals have a more critical role. They’re often the first medical contact during a crisis. For example, if a 70-year-old man came to the hospital with a heart attack or stroke symptoms, nurses would be the first to provide immediate care.

They’d work with other healthcare professionals to stabilize the patient. Their direct care can save and prolong patients’ lives, while their constant monitoring can also prevent minor health issues from escalating into major crises.

Dealing with workforce shortages

American healthcare systems are already facing critical staffing shortages that could limit access to care, especially with the aging population. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing says that while nursing intake is good, more is needed to match the healthcare system’s demands for nursing professionals. 

One of the things you can do as a nurse is to help increase the size of the workforce, by encouraging and helping those wishing to join the profession. For instance, you can mentor nursing students or potential candidates by sharing your experiences and showing them how rewarding nursing can be. This can inspire others to take up the profession and help increase the overall size of the workforce.

Another thing you can do is to learn continuously. It’s okay if you aren’t a geriatric nurse yet—what makes you one is educating yourself in the field. Take courses and enroll in school programs that teach you ways to care for elderly patients.

You should also keep yourself up-to-date with new knowledge and technologies to help these seniors live comfortably. You can obtain certifications in geriatric nursing to help you provide better care for older adults and fill a gap in this specialty area.

Most nurses that resign from their roles do so due to inadequate workplace conditions, which could cause stress and lead to burnout. You can change this by advocating for improved working conditions for your colleagues.

This might include lobbying for a better nurse-to-patient ratio that ensures a nurse isn’t tending to more than four patients at a time. You can also ask for safer work environments and benefits packages. An improved nursing work environment leads to less burnout, creating a sustainable workforce.

Utilizing AI and other technologies

The healthcare system is experiencing massive technological evolution, with most processes now digitized. Nurses can use digital tools, such as artificial intelligence, to assist in healthcare delivery. These technologies can help them manage the increased demand and still provide high-quality patient care.

One of these tools is remote patient monitoring. You can use monitoring systems to track your patient’s vital signs and health data from the comfort of their home, reducing the need for them to visit hospitals. This makes healthcare accessible to elderly patients with mobility issues and can also help you catch health issues at early stages.

Another way technology is revolutionizing geriatric nursing is through data analytics. You can identify trends and risk factors that can determine the needs of your patients through sophisticated health data analysis. Data analytics can show you the complications that might happen to patients with particular health conditions from past cases and occurrences. This way, you can prepare to tackle these complications when they rear their heads.

Artificial intelligence can also help with a nurse’s workload. For example, artificial intelligence virtual nursing assistants can handle routine tasks, such as scheduling patient appointments and answering frequently asked questions.

It may even organize your schedule to ensure every patient gets your unwavering attention. This generally makes your work easier and gives you more time to care for your patients.

Besides these, telehealth is one of the most critical uses of technology in nursing. Telehealth focuses on delivering healthcare services digitally. This technology allows nurses to discuss patients’ issues virtually through video conferencing.

It also means you can consult internet-based platforms to get medical advice from specialists and consultations from professionals online. 

For the aging population, telehealth means you can provide these consultations and medical advice without bringing them into the hospital, making it an invaluable resource for patients that can’t travel or live in remote areas. 

Specializing in geriatric care

The aging population is creating a higher demand for professionals who specialize in caring for seniors. Several nursing specialties cater to the care of senior citizens, including hospice and home health, and gerontologic nursing.

Nurses specializing in hospice and home health care focus on providing comfort for patients with severe and often terminal illnesses. You can help them manage their symptoms, alleviate their pain, and offer much-needed emotional support.

This kind of care is becoming increasingly important as most seniors prefer to age in their homes, surrounded by family, rather than in hospitals or nursing homes.

Gerontologic nursing, on the other hand, focuses on other settings, such as clinics, hospitals, and community health centers. This field allows nurses to treat often overlooked physical and mental health conditions.

Besides these two fields, many nurses work in long-term care settings, including nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Here, you provide comprehensive, 24/7 care to seniors that can no longer live independently. Your role in this setting involves a little bit of everything, from managing their medications to helping them with their daily activities.

Improving nursing qualifications

Many registered nurses (RNs) are advancing their qualifications to become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to meet future healthcare challenges. Becoming an APRN requires furthering your education and acquiring specialized training. This certification shows that a nurse is qualified to fill a variety of roles effectively.

Nurses can also pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing, depending on the level of expertise they’re aiming for. Spring Arbor University offers many programs you can enroll in to sharpen your knowledge and provide more value to the healthcare system.

The core areas of APRN roles are nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse anesthetists. Each role has a unique set of responsibilities and requires specific training and skills.

For instance, nurse practitioners (NPs) are primary care providers. They’re skilled enough to fill in areas with a shortage of physicians. As an NP, you can specialize in family practice, where you provide care for people of all ages.

While NPs have the expertise to care for all ages, their ability to manage chronic conditions is especially valuable to the senior population needing comprehensive care.

APRNs are advanced NPs. These professionals have a broader scope of practice, which can include diagnosing and treating health conditions and prescribing medication. Sometimes, they may even perform specific procedures that registered nurses may not be allowed to. This autonomy helps them provide continuous care to their patients.

Your advanced skills and greater autonomy as an APRN can make an incredible difference. It doesn’t only elevate your career; it can also help you provide high-quality and effective healthcare services for senior adults with chronic conditions.

Now that you know how nurses contribute to caring for older adults, we’ll now explore why it is so essential that the geriatric field experiences an influx of trained nurses. 

The need for specialized geriatric training and education for nurses

Geriatric patients often have multiple health conditions that require close monitoring and caregiving. It’s vital that the caregivers tending to them understand their aging processes and how it affects their physical and mental health. They must be able to detect subtle changes in these elders that could indicate a health problem. 

These changes could be as simple as reduced appetite or complaints of dizziness. Being a specialized geriatric nurse means you can find the causes of these subtle signs and find ways to ease them. It also means knowing how to manage your patients’ medication and understanding that their old age could come with cognitive decline and mobility limitations. 

Another factor that differentiates geriatric nurses is their communication skills. The way these professionals communicate with elderly patients is unique. This isn’t only about being patient with senior patients.

Older adults usually have hearing, vision, or cognitive impairments that may make conversing with them challenging. Geriatric nurses are adept at communicating with them calmly and straightforwardly, which makes them even better companions for patients in their golden years. 


Nurses are an indispensable part of the healthcare system, and this is apparent in their increasing demand in the geriatric care field. They address the unique challenges of caring for senior citizens and also manage their complex health issues. The population growth highlights the importance of these professionals, giving opportunities to future nurses.