February 24, 2014

Healthy Generations Hartford Center of Excellence opens with lecture on changing culture of aging

News and Information

About 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, and by 2030, nearly a fifth of the U.S. population will be composed of senior citizens, according to findings from the Pew Research Center. They may not feel that old (many boomers say old age begins at 72), but health agencies and others are preparing to cope with the expanding older population.

The University of Washington’s School of Social Work will launch a new center – called the Healthy Generations Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work – with a public lecture and reception Thursday, Feb. 27.

At the public kickoff event, Wendy Lustbader, an affiliate associate professor of social work and an expert on aging and end-of-life issues, will talk about the changing culture of aging in America. She will speak at 5:30 p.m. in room 305 of the UW School of Social Work, 4101 15th Ave., Seattle. A reception will follow her talk. Register online for the free event.

The new UW center will focus on caregiving that promotes independence and dignity of elders as well as the health and well-being of their caregivers.

“It will enable us to promote the health and resilience of adults in midlife and older and their families, especially those from marginalized communities,” said Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, director of the center and a UW professor of social work. “We are very excited to continue our partnership with the Hartford Foundation and the Gerontological Society of America in improving the lives of older adults and their families.”

Named for its funder, The John A. Hartford Foundation, the new UW center was chosen by The Gerontological Society of America to be one of five centers around the country to help train social workers in geriatric care. The center will foster translational research that could be used in practice and policy-making. The initiative will also develop curriculum materials for students and practitioners.

With a multigenerational focus, the UW center will take on issues related to health and aging across the generations, including middle-aged adults looking after their parents, as well as for grandparents – who are raising their grandchildren through kinship care arrangements instead of foster care. The center will design competency-based curriculum, so that future social workers can successfully advocate for older adults, caregivers and their families.

Five $3,000 scholarships will be awarded this coming year through the Lynn Pigott Mowe Scholars program to students pursuing a master’s degree in social work at UW and will support their studies on health promotion, prevention and aging with midlife and older adults and their families.

In addition to Fredriksen-Goldsen and Lustbader, the center’s faculty includes Nancy Hooyman, Jordan Lewis, Robin Arnold-Williams, all at the UW; and Charles Emlet, of UW Tacoma. Amy Astle-Raaen is the associate director of the center.

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For more information or to register for the lecture and reception, email uwaging@uw.edu.

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