UMB offer programs, courses, and clinical training in the field of aging that will prepare trainees with the knowledge and skills to effectively work with and on behalf of older adults.
People are living longer than at any other time in human history — we have entered the uncharted waters of living and working in an aging society. Every day, 10,000 people celebrate their 65th birthday. By the end of this decade, all members of the baby boom generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) will be age 65 and older. They will represent more than 20 percent of the American population. Moreover, by 2034 there will be more people age 65 and older than under the age of 18. We also will experience an unprecedented 350 percent increase in the population age 85 and older during the first half of the 21st century.
Though staggering to comprehend, we must remember that these figures represent our parents, grandparents, co-workers, friends, neighbors, and, yes, even our future selves. Despite the rapid growth of our older adult population, there is a significant shortage of doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, physician assistants, and others in the health and social care workforce trained in geriatrics and gerontology to meet the growing demand. This can lead to care and support based on stereotypical thinking about adults and their care needs, and increase overall cost of care. In fact, recent research estimates the cost of ageism in health care to be $63 billion annually.
Older adulthood is the most heterogeneous period of the entire life span. While some individuals require a complex array of care and management, many continue to live healthy lives and contribute to society in myriad ways. Unfortunately, most practitioners and other professional working with and on behalf of older adults have never taking a course related to aging or older adults. This is no longer acceptable. The significant growth in the age 65+-plus population means most of us will professionally or personally interact with older adults. Now is the time to become age-educated.
March 26 -April 1 is National Careers in Aging Week. It is the perfect time to consider the rewarding opportunities an aging population offers to you to make an impact on society. As a member of the Age-Friendly University Global Network, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) can be a leader in geriatric workforce development. Through our contemporary Graduate School and six professional schools, we offer programs, courses, and clinical training opportunities in the field of aging that will prepare trainees with the knowledge and skills to effectively work with and on behalf of older adults and their families and make a difference in an aging society.
Among our offerings, you will find opportunities for interprofessional collaboration, which is recognized as a national priority to optimize the health and social well-being of older adults. Our interprofessional educational (IPE) approach to health and social care training emphasizes the importance of team-based care. It is the cost-effective cornerstone of providing quality, person-centered care to older adults. We offer a variety of IPE training models to support health and social care students as they develop geriatric-specific knowledge and assessment skills and learn how to effectively collaborate with team members from outside their discipline. These shared learning opportunities increase confidence in and the ability to effectively understand and manage clinical problems that manifest in later life.
For a listing of upcoming student IPE events and professional conferences related to geriatrics and gerontology, visit www.umaryland.edu/gerontology or contact Diane Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Min Kyoung Park, MA, is a PhD candidate in gerontology. Diane Martin, PhD, is an associate professor and director, Geriatrics and Gerontology Education and Research Program, University of Maryland Graduate School.