UMass Boston’s gerontology faculty and students produced exciting new research findings and achieved remarkable public service achievements in 2018. The news media took notice.
Associate professor Beth Dugan and her Gerontology Institute colleagues published the 2018 edition of the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Data Report in December.The comprehensive report examined a vast array of health indicators on a community-by-community basis, creating an essential resource for policymakers and local leaders to better serve Massachusetts seniors. News coverage by WBUR in Boston looked at seven key takeaways from the report. The Boston Globe dove into the healthy aging data and produced a front-page story examining the impact of depression among elders. Dugan and her team ended the year at work on a similar report profiling the health status of seniors in New Hampshire. Continue reading →
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 →
Older Americans in every part of the country depend on Social Security benefits to help make ends meet. But just how far do those payments go toward covering the basic cost of living?
The answer varies a great deal on the personal circumstances of individuals. But it also depends significantly upon where seniors live, according to Jan Mutchler, a UMass Boston professor who leads the Gerontology Institute’s Center for Social & Demographic Research on Aging.
This is an important economic issue for seniors because Social Security provides such a large portion of total income for most beneficiaries. A third of those beneficiaries receive 90 percent of their income from Social Security. Three of every five depend on the benefit for at least half of their income.
Mutchler analyzed U.S. data on expenses and Social Security payments to determine the percentage of living costs covered by those benefits on a county by county basis. Along with co-authors Yang Li and Ping Xu, she recently published the findings in the Journal of Aging & Social Policy. Continue reading →
Two gerontology students researching a multi-generational approach to community senior centers and property tax relief programs for older homeowners have been selected for the 2018 Capstone awards.
Students Beth Duggan Rouleau and Norma Strack were selected by a committee from the Management of Aging Services Program at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School. Each year, two Capstone papers are selected based on their demonstration of outstanding research in various topics concerning elder care, including policy development and program management. Continue reading →
Many older Americans, some of them disabled, badly need the support of a Social Security system they contributed to for most of their working lives. Often, that system does not provide nearly enough.
Two gerontology alumnae of the McCormack Graduate School have ideas about how to address that challenge. Kimberly Johnson and Elizabeth Johns, among the winners of an AARP competition seeking new ways to improve Social Security, presented their plan recently as the final spring semester guests of the UMass Boston gerontology speakers series. Continue reading →
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.
Couples who go through a divorce need to sort out many financial issues. Settling rights to pension benefits can be an important part of the process.
But a divorce may take place many years or even decades before a pension begins to pay a benefit. Over that time, a lot can happen to separate former spouses from benefits they are legally entitled to collect. Continue reading →
Marc Cohen, co-director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, is the first recipient of a Special Recognition Award from the Intercompany Long Term Care Insurance Conference Association honoring him for a career of contributions to the field of long-term care finance.
His nomination for the award cited work by Cohen and colleagues that “was responsible for bringing together key design parameters and gerontology knowledge that created the foundation for today’s long term care finance product.” Continue reading →
The Gerontology Institute Blog covered every major department and institute event of 2017. But few of those posts could match the impact of coverage of students and their accomplishments filed during commencement season.
Low-income elder Americans face a housing crisis today. We don’t have nearly enough decent, affordable housing for them, and our country’s aging population is adding waves of new seniors to the waiting lists every day.
States and the federal government generally do not build new affordable housing directly. Instead, they maintain a market-based system that allows private firms and nonprofits (many of them faith-based) to partner with government to build and preserve housing for low-income elders and the working poor.
For decades, this public-private partnership has been the main engine driving new construction and preservation of subsidized senior housing. With the passage of tax legislation in both houses, Congress now faces a stark choice.
The House tax bill would eliminate private activity bonds and accompanying tax credits—one of the last forms of government support making private investment in affordable housing for seniors possible. The Senate bill would leave the bonds and tax credits largely intact. It’s essential that a final bill preserves these critical tools to help us address the dire housing problem facing many of our most vulnerable citizens. Continue reading →
Marc Cohen, co-director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, has been named co-chair of a study panel organized by the National Academy of Social Insurance to help states design new programs to address challenges facing many of their citizens.
The study panel is part of a new academy project called “Designing State-based Social Insurance Programs for Paid Leave, Affordable Child Care and Long-Term Services and Supports.” Continue reading →