Mass. Gerontology Association Honors Associate Professor Elizabeth Dugan

The Massachusetts Gerontology Association has selected UMass Boston associate professor Elizabeth Dugan as the 2018 recipient of its Louis Lowy award, which honors individuals who have made important contributions to the field of aging in the state.

Dugan’s “research, leadership, and advocacy have directly contributed to the field of aging and have helped both researchers and providers alike improve on and expand their work in better serving the Commonwealth’s older adult population,” said association president Emily Williams, who is a director at Boston Senior Home Health and a UMass Boston gerontology alumnae.

“She is an inspiration to both current and past gerontologists alike,” said Williams. Continue reading

New Grant: Creating and Sustaining Intergenerational Culture in Senior Housing

By Geralyn Magan

A new grant from the Retirement Research Foundation (RRF) is helping the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston and Generations United continue their work to support the development and implementation of high-quality intergenerational programming in senior housing communities nationwide.

“The project activities are designed to foster a broader culture of intergenerational interaction and exchange that, over time, becomes normalized in the housing setting,” says Dr. Taryn Patterson, policy research associate at the LTSS Center. Continue reading

UMass Boston Gerontology PhD Student Molly Evans Joins LTSS Center’s Washington Office

When LeadingAge and the University of Massachusetts Boston established the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston last spring, researchers in Washington eagerly anticipated one partnership benefit: incorporating UMass Boston graduate students into their applied research projects.

That anticipation ended in November, when PhD Candidate Molly Evans arrived at LeadingAge for a 6-week fellowship. Evans, who is pursuing her doctorate in gerontology, has been working part-time in the LTSS Center’s Washington office ever since. Continue reading

Video: Marc Cohen at U.S. Treasury Committee Hearing on Long-Term Care Insurance

The market for long-term care insurance has a lot of problems. That same market could be an important element in a broader solution to financing challenges surrounding long-term care as the nation’s population grows older.

That was the message Marc Cohen, co-director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, brought to the U.S. Treasury Department’s federal advisory committee on insurance. Cohen spoke to the committee in detail about the state of the long-term care insurance market on Feb 22. His complete presentation can be viewed here.


The Age-Friendly Movement: How it Grew and What Plans for an Older Future Could Achieve

The age-friendly movement is being embraced in small towns, cities and even states across the country. All of them see populations growing older and recognize that they must adapt. They are assessing needs and creating plans so their communities will be great places for residents of all ages to live in the future. The Gerontology Institute Blog invited three of the leading age-friendly voices in Massachusetts to discuss the movement — what it has achieved and where it is going.

Michael Festa is the Massachusetts state director of AARP, the leader in developing age-friendly community networks across the country.  Nora Moreno Cargie is president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, a leading supporter of work in healthy living with an emphasis on older adults. Jan Mutchler is director of the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her center works directly with communities across the state to assess age-friendly needs and develop action plans to address them. The following is an edited version of their conversation.

Q: Mike, AARP recently designated Massachusetts the nation’s second age-friendly state. How did that happen and what does it mean?

Michael Festa: It means Massachusetts is in a place where all departments of state government – not just public health and human services, but in all aspects – are committing to a process in which an age-friendly lens is applied. But the application also asks what you are doing already that is reflective of that commitment. There are a lot of things going on in communities with the age-friendly initiative. You already have a coordination of professional associations like planning councils and other groups. AARP asks, is this state in a place where we can acknowledge it is age-friendly or in the process of achieving all it is aspiring to do? The reality of what is happening in Massachusetts made it quite easy for AARP to say yes.

Nora Moreno Cargie: I would add just to that the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts. There’s this statewide body, to Gov. Baker’s credit. We talk to ourselves about ourselves — here you have three people who are involved in age-friendly stuff. What the governor recognized is that we had to talk to people in transportation and housing and those other areas, so that they could also become aware of what was necessary to achieve this age-friendly work.

Q: Local age-friendly planning is taking place all over the state. How did it become so popular on the municipal level?

Jan Mutchler: This whole initiative took off because there was an interest in doing something innovative, but there hadn’t been a name for it or models for it. It’s been so successful here because there were early adopters and the publicity about this being an initiative that had a name and a framework attached to it. People are excited and moving ahead because it’s been where they wanted to go all along. Communities approach all of this with very different capacities. We’re seeing a huge range needs for guidance and support. Continue reading

UMass Boston Associate Professor Elizabeth Dugan Joins State Healthy Aging Committee

Elizabeth Dugan has been appointed to a new committee that will provide advice to state officials responsible for an initiative to make it easier for older adults to live in healthy, inclusive and equitable environments.

Dugan, an associate professor of gerontology at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School, joins the 14-member Determination of Need’s Healthy Aging advisory committee that is expected to begin meeting in March. Continue reading

PAC Case Study: Tracking Pensions After Records Lost Along Trail of Mergers and Bankruptcies

The Gerontology Institute’s Pension Action Center is part of the McCormack Graduate School at UMass Boston. It provides free legal assistance to low- and moderate-income workers, retirees and their survivors in the six New England states and Illinois whose pension benefits have been wrongfully denied. This is one in an occasional series of posts about cases the center pursues on behalf of its clients.

Two sisters in Chicago had been employed for many years by catalog retailer Spiegel Inc. during their working lives. But after they both passed retirement age, the sisters couldn’t find any sign of the pension benefits they had earned. Continue reading

Study Tracks Gap Between Nursing Home Satisfaction Ratings and Quality Data

   Consumers have come to expect easy access to a lot of information about user satisfaction before they make decisions. When buying items online, for example, it’s now normal to read through reviews and check out product ratings. Would similar information be useful to people choosing a nursing home for a loved one?  Do satisfaction ratings, from nursing home residents and their families, say anything meaningful about the quality of care provided? Or might satisfaction scores provide different kinds of information that existing reports on quality miss?

Pamela Nadash, an associate professor at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School, led a team of researchers who analyzed satisfaction data from nursing homes with these questions in mind. The answer: While satisfaction ratings agreed somewhat with other quality ratings, they also capture something different about the nursing home experience. Continue reading

Video: Marc Cohen Joins Bipartisan Policy Center Panel on Future of LTSS Finance

Marc Cohen

How should America finance long term services and supports in the future?

Marc Cohen, co-director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, participated in a panel discussion on the future of LTSS financing, hosted by the Bipartisan

Policy Center in Washington on Jan. 31. Cohen, also a gerontology professor at the McCormack Graduate School, discussed an LTSS finance plan he developed recently with colleagues from Georgetown University and the Urban Institute.

A video of the entire panel presentation covers comments and ideas from six participants. Cohen first appears in the video at about the 47:00 mark.

UMass Gerontology Video: Professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne

Susan Krauss Whitbourne kicked off the University of Massachusetts Boston Gerontology spring speaker’s series Jan. 29 with a presentation on the psychosocial development of subjects over a span of four decades.

Whitbourne is an adjunct professor of Gerontology at UMass Boston and a professor emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at UMass Amherst. This video of her presentation, “40 Years of Studying Psychosocial Development: Insights from Sequential Research on Midlife and Beyond,” is the first in an anticipated series of video blog posts featuring gerontology presentations at UMass Boston.