Gerontological nursing is the specialty of nursing pertaining to older adults. Gerontological nurses work in collaboration with older adults, their families, and communities to support healthy aging, maximum functioning, and quality of life. The term Gerontological nursing, which replaced the term geriatric nursing in the 1970s, is seen as being more consistent with the specialty's broader focus on health and wellness, in addition to illness. Gerontological nursing is important to meet the health needs of an aging population. Due to longer life expectancy and declining fertility rates, the proportion of the population that is considered old is increasing. Between 2000 and 2050, the number of people in the world who are over age 60 is predicted increase from 605 million to 2 billion.
The proportion of older adults is already high and continuing to increase in more developed countries. In 2010, seniors (aged 65 and older) made up 13% and 23% of the populations of the US and Japan, respectively. By 2050, these proportions will increase to 21% and 36%. Geriatric nurses are expected to be skilled in patient care, treatment planning, education, mental health, and rehabilitation. They also take on many roles in the workplace. The main responsibility is as a caregiver. They can also be advocates, counselors, and educators for their patients. Gerontological nursing draws on knowledge about complex factors that affect the health of older adults. Older adults are more likely than younger adults to have one or more chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, hearing impairment, or a form of dementia such as Alzheimer's disease. As well, drug metabolism changes with aging, adding to the complexity of health needs