New program prepares students to work with older adults

June 01, 2010

As the largest adult population in U.S. history turns gray, McDaniel’s newest five-year program responds to the increasing need for workers who know something about older adults and the aging process. Students in the program will earn both a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Gerontology after completing the 10-semester curriculum.

Every 20 seconds, another baby boomer will turn 65 starting on Jan. 1, 2011. While it’s a generation planning to remain active in later life, projected increases in physical and mental health concerns with such a large population create unprecedented opportunities in the field of Gerontology.

Available statistics on careers in working with aging adults predict a 15- to 37-percent increase, depending on career choice, in these opportunities over the next several decades, according to Diane Martin, director of McDaniel’s Center for the Study of Aging (CSA) and visiting professor in Psychology.

“Some of these careers already exist, but will need to be revamped to accommodate the needs and wants of this aging demographic. Other opportunities will need to be created as the needs and wants of the demographic become apparent with time,” Martin says.

Students in McDaniel’s program are prepared to think holistically.

“The faculty at the Center for the Study of Aging uses a bio-psycho-social model of instruction,” Martin says. “This perspective allows students to understand a person's mind, body and spirit when addressing the needs and wants along with the challenges and issues facing older adults.”

The CSA offers a 36-credit hour master’s degree in Gerontology, an 18-credit hour post-baccalaureate certificate in Gerontology, an undergraduate minor in Gerontology, several paraprofessional workshops and CEU offerings for social workers in Maryland and Pennsylvania.