We are all very familiar with the ways dramatic increases in life expectancy are radically transforming economic, institutional, relational, and congregational life. James Lubben, leading scholar in social gerontology with an active research agenda examining social support networks among older populations, equates the force of this longevity epoch to the transformative impact of the Industrial Revolution. Statistics include:
How should we respond to the inevitable care demands of an exponentially increasing 55+ population of exceptionally vulnerable persons due to illness, loneliness, and poverty? Quality of life suffers as economic support programs, health care systems, and family caregiving resources are marginalized in the press of increasing need. The aging of the Baby Boomer population widens the gap between need and resource, heightening the urgency for more coordinated, responsive, and innovative approaches to care. What are the implications of these compelling realities for ministry and professional practice?
The Baylor School of Social Work seeks to find these answers. We vigorously work to equip alumni for worldwide leadership in holistic practice and research in gerontology and to produce state of the science resources and practical models for the well-being of older persons, their families, residential care environments, congregations, and communities.
Gerontology at the Baylor SSW focuses on issues of the elderly and their families, drawing together several educational, research and application-based projects focused on improving quality of life for older persons.
The school provides a number of ways to focus on Gerontology, such as:
- Minoring in Aging Studies,
- BSW and MSW specialization,
- Infusion of gerontological content in courses and field placements,
- Participation in university-wide initiatives in gerontological education within the Baylor system.
2012/13 was a year of expansion of the Gerontology Initiative's social work education and applied research programs, funded by the Danny and Lenn Prince Endowment Fund.