UMass Boston’s Lillian Glickman Honored with MCOA Lifetime Achievement Award

Lillian GlickmanLillian Glickman has been honored by the Massachusetts Councils on Aging with its Lifetime Achievement Award for more than 50 years of experience in gerontology and work with the Massachusetts aging network.

Glickman, co-director of the Management of Aging Services Masters and Certificate Programs at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School, received the award at the MCOA’s annual meeting.

MCOA Executive Director David Stevens warmly recalled working in close partnership with Ms. Glickman for several years. “I consider Lillian my mentor, a tireless advocate who, for all of her accomplishments, deserves the same respect, admiration, and recognition as legendary elder advocates Frank Manning and Elsie Frank,” he said. Continue reading

Assistant Professor Jeffrey Stokes Joins UMass Boston Gerontology Faculty

By Martin Hansen-Verma

Jeffrey Stokes, a quantitative sociologist who specializes in aging, families and health, has joined the UMass Boston Gerontology faculty as an assistant professor.

Stokes, who earned his PhD in sociology from Boston College, most recently served as an assistant professor of sociology at Illinois State University.

Stokes’s research program focuses on the ramifications of intergenerational, marital and social relationships for adults’ well-being in mid- and later-life. His work has been published in journals such as The Gerontologist, Social Psychology Quarterly, Aging & Mental Health, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Research on Aging, and Journal of Applied Gerontology.

When talking about the fundamental interests and principles that animate his work, Stokes refers to his favorite book, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.

“It gets to the core of much of what my research is about, examining the impacts of social ties and loneliness in a crowd,” he says. “Loneliness and isolation are different things. Especially in a technology-driven world, loneliness can be pervasive, even in a group. It’s one of the best examples of literature serving the function of social science. Continue reading

Academic Life: Day 1 on the Long Journey of a Gerontology PhD Student

By Caitlin Connelly

I walked into the Gerontology Department for the first time as a new PhD student on Sept. 4. I don’t remember feeling any one thing at that moment. It was more like a combination of emotions: nerves, excitement and anticipation. I had often thought about how that first day might go and what my classes would be like. Those ideas were finally about to merge with reality.

I may be a brand new PhD student but my interest in gerontology goes back a decade. It was first sparked in high school, when I volunteered in a memory care unit over the summer and I found that I really enjoyed having the opportunity to engage with older adults. My passion for the field had followed me through my undergraduate degree in Public Health and into my applied work in Asheville, N.C., as an activities director in an assisted living facility in memory care. It led me to the decision to go back to school and eventually brought me to Boston. Continue reading

PAC Case Study: Timing of Pension Claim Helps Former Wife Collect Survivor Benefit

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.

Timing can be everything.

The Pension Action Center has represented clients in many disputes involving divorce and the right to benefits. Often these cases hinge on whether couples reached an agreement and signed documents about the disposition of retirement benefits as part of their divorce settlement. Continue reading

New Reports Explore Global Expansion of Foreign-Born LTSS Workforce

By Natasha S. Bryant

Foreign-born nurses and personal care assistants make up an increasingly significant percentage of workers in the field of long-term services and supports (LTSS) around the world, according to new research from the Global Ageing Network and the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston.

These immigrant/migrant workers, who come primarily from developing countries, bring myriad benefits to the LTSS organizations that employ them and the care recipients they serve, according to findings from a 2018 study by the LTSS Center.

Three new reports explore those benefits, in addition to identifying challenges associated with hiring foreign-born LTSS workers, exploring strategies to address those challenges, and providing an overview of global migration patterns and policies. Continue reading

Special Journal Edition Examines Aging Policy and Politics in the Trump Era

Edward A. Miller

Editor-in-chief Edward A. Miller

It takes more than a few words to explain what the Trump administration means to older Americans.

In fact, the Journal of Aging & Social Policy has dedicated an entire edition to address the issue. Its recently published special edition, “Aging Policy and Politics in the Trump Era,” looks at the White House and Republicans controlling both houses of Congress from eleven different perspectives on senior issues.

“The role of older Americans has been critical in both shaping and reacting to this political moment,” JASP editor-in chief and UMass Boston professor Edward A. Miller, along with four co-authors, write in the edition’s lead article (free access).

“Their political orientations and behaviors have shaped it through their electoral support for Republican candidates, but they also stand as highly invested stakeholders in the policy decisions made by the very officials they elected and as beneficiaries of the programs that Republicans have targeted,” they wrote. Continue reading

Institute Talk: A Conversation with Penny Shaw, Activist and Long-Time Nursing Home Resident

Len Fishman and Penny Shaw

Gerontology Institue Director Len Fishman and Penny Shaw in Braintree, Mass.

The word that might best describe Penny Shaw is “indefatigable.” A long-time activist for persons with disabilities, Shaw is a visible and vocal presence on national, state and community issues. She is known for her sharp opinions and blunt talk as an advocate. Shaw sits on more than a dozen committees, including an advisory panel to the state Executive Office of Elder Affairs. She is a prolific writer on disability issues whose work has appeared in a wide range of journals and other publications.

 Shaw has also been a nursing home resident for nearly 16 years. A teacher with a PhD in French literature, she became disabled in 2001 with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare neuromuscular condition, and was not expected to live. After a year in a rehab hospital, Shaw was transferred to a nursing facility in Braintree, Mass., specializing in neurorehabilitation care, where she now lives. Gerontology Institute Director Len Fishman recently met with Shaw to talk about nursing homes from a resident’s perspective. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

LEN FISHMAN: You’ve been living in a nursing home for many years now. What was it like at the very beginning?

PENNY SHAW: First of all, I was intubated for five years with a feeding tube. I arrived [at what is now called Braintree Manor Healthcare] on December the 26, 2002, but I was not decannulated until August 2006. So I was basically bed-bound. Continue reading

Research to Examine Impact of Aging Populations on Local Finances, Services

This post originally appeared in the Collins Report.

Municipalities face a changing demographic profile in the coming years and decades. By 2030, 28 percent of the Massachusetts population will be age 60 or older, and seniors will constitute at least 30 percent of the population in two of every three municipalities in the Commonwealth.

One of the municipal functions most heavily impacted by the aging population is emergency services. Based on preliminary research, the share of EMS responses for residents aged 65+ (47 percent) is three times the share of the population currently aged 65+ (16 percent) statewide. If these patterns of response and transport persist, demand for EMS services will grow dramatically in coming decades, with a more than 35 percent increase in demand for EMS expected by 2035, just for the population aged 65 and over.

Given the need to understand how aging populations will affect the finances of municipalities, the Gerontology Institute and the Collins Center for Public Management have partnered with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy to study this topic. The research will attempt to address questions such as: How do aging populations impact municipal costs, particularly related to EMS? How do aging populations impact revenues, particularly related to EMS? How do changes in the size of the senior population correlate with changes in EMS calls? And what models have emerged to manage the impact of aging populations on costs?

The results of this research will help municipalities understand the financial impact of their own aging populations and begin to consider how they provide EMS and related services to their residents so that they can devise new strategies to meet the needs of an older population.

If you are interested in learning more about or contributing to this research, please contact Michael Ward at michael.ward@umb.edu.

 

Listening to Consumers and Advocates Who Helped Shape a Health Plan

 By Erin McGaffigan

In 2013, Massachusetts developed the One Care Implementation Council so consumers could have an active role in a new health care program serving people with disabilities who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.  I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with consumers, advocates and state employees to talk about their experience on the One Care Implementation Council, and these interviews did not disappoint. You can find the full report on the Council’s engagement process and lessons learned here. This case study was jointly produced by the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation and the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston.

As I reflect on the interview experience, I realize how much one can learn just by listening. Without question, Massachusetts’ disability advocates have pushed aggressively for meaningful engagement in long-term services and supports (LTSS) program design for years, and this really influenced how advocates and state leaders approached One Care’s engagement strategy. This was not the advocates’ “first rodeo,” and they came ready with ideas for making the Council an active body. This meant ditching the term, “advisory” and replacing it with “implementation” to mirror advocates’ intention to be deeply involved and “part of the action.” State partners, who also have administered their fair share of engagement strategies, spelled out Council expectations, including its purpose and desired representation, through a formalized Request for Response process after meeting with community leaders so that unnecessary process challenges were avoided. Continue reading

How Income Affects Perceived Health of Older Americans

The LTSS Center’s preliminary study, conducted for the National Council on Aging, involves analysis of health and economic data from 2014 Health and Retirement Study.

Center researchers found that 43 percent of people aged 55 or older with incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty level reported their health condition as “fair” or “poor.” Individuals in this income group were 3 times more likely to characterize their health as fair or poor than similarly aged people who were at least 400 percent above the poverty level. Continue reading