There is no question that the population of Baby Boomers and their aging loved ones is rapidly increasing. Therefore, understanding the needs of these groups and those issues affecting them has never been more important. What some may not realize, however, is that various educational institutions have implemented programs designed for those interested in or currently serving seniors and their families.
Johns Hopkins University is one such school reaching out to professionals with its Odyssey Certificate on Aging. The offered core and elective courses have been constructed with a broad range of disciplines in mind and are especially relevant to caregivers, clergy, financial planners, lawyers, nurses, social workers, volunteers and work/life planners. However, admission to individual courses is open to any interested adult.
Students receive the Certificate on Aging upon completing four required courses, four electives and a capstone project that allows them to delve into a topic of their choice with the supervision of a faculty adviser. Examples of required courses include ‘Public and Private Programs for the Elderly’ and ‘Biological Aspects of Aging,’ while electives vary with ‘Aging, Nutrition and Fitness;’ ‘Counseling, Case Management and Older Adults’ and ‘Death, Grief and End-of-Life Planning.’
Designed to address the ethical, financial, legal, medical and psychological issues facing the fastest growing population in the U.S., Odyssey and similar programs allow these professionals to better serve the seniors they care for on a daily basis.
Like JHU, McDaniel College features programs in Gerontology through The Center for the Study of Aging (CSA). Here, required courses and electives from 12 departments and programs are offered including social work, communication, exercise science and physical education, biology and religion.
The Erickson School of Aging Studies at UMBC is another program that strives to educate leaders with the goal of improving society for older adults. Focusing on Aging, Management and Policy, the program enables students to immerse themselves in several disciplines with an active learning environment.
The Odyssey Certificate on Aging and similar programs are helping professionals improve the lives of older adults one class at a time. Through active learning environments, professionals in the field are gaining a greater understanding of the implications facing today’s Boomers, ultimately helping them to enhance society for this growing group.