Global Leaders In Education On Aging

AGHE's mission is two-fold

To advance gerontology and geriatrics education in academic institutions.
To provide leadership and support of gerontology and geriatrics education faculty and students at education institutions.

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Careers in Aging – Accidental Tourists

As we become a world and a country where there are increasingly more older adults than younger ones, the need to provide services for the elderly is ever more apparent. But, it was not always this way. Back in the 1970s when Judy and I were stumbling around searching for our careers, the aging of America was barely recognized. Yet, even in the 70s and throughout the following decades a huge gap existed between the need for service providers who could provide quality services for senior citizens and the number of providers available. Despite the chasm, as a 2008 Institute for Medicine’s report, “Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce,” notes that there are a limited number of people willing to take on training and enter the field of gerontology to fill this gap. It was around this time that Judy and I, in our musings over a glass of wine at AGHE conferences, wondered what factors brought us and others to the field of aging. Despite wide differences in our backgrounds and growing up years, we found there were several similar themes.

We were intimately connected to our grandparents and had a genuine talent and comfort in communicating with older adults. We had a curiosity for diverse knowledge, an interdisciplinary perspective, and a willingness to take a chance on pursuing something new. Historically and culturally the timing was right; Judy and I took advantage of the relatively generous Administration on Aging grants in supporting our practica and training working with and conducting research on older people. In addition, the institutions that hired us provided us with wonderful, compassionate, and inspiring mentors. Respected leaders and scholars in gerontology and geriatrics, they proved to be lifelong role models. Moreover, we both were committed to working with older adults and had a desire to help others. In our professional positions, we encouraged others to become gerontologists. As Judy has noted, “Career opportunities are boundless for those who are forward looking and like to think outside the box.”

We hope you enjoy the article in The Atlantic that highlights our Careers in Aging and how Judy Howe and I found our field.



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