Today, some 40 million Americans (13% of the population) are 65 and older. By the year 2030 there will be 70 million older Americans. Much like the nation, the state of Maine is experiencing an aging population explosion. Increasingly Maine is serving as a haven for older adults and within the next 20 years, nearly 1 in 4 Mainers will be 65 and older. Given the reality of a greying America and an aging Maine, is our health and human services workforce going to be prepared to provide the resources and programs required by both the growing numbers of vulnerable elders and the swelling cohort of active and well older adults?
To respond to these unprecedented state and national trends and the demands that will inevitably be placed on our workforce, the Center on Aging was established, and began implementing programs in 2001. The center is under the purview of the School of Social Work and the College of Natural Sciences Forestry and Agriculture. Its tri-partite structure enables the Center on Aging to embark on major interdisciplinary initiatives in aging education, research and evaluation, and service to the community. It represents a groundbreaking initiative — the first of its kind in the history of Maine’s public university system.
The Center is a critical resource for students, providing opportunities both for those preparing for careers in aging as well as for those whose disciplinary interests are more generally affected by an aging society. Through the administration of specialized certificate, graduate training and continuing education programming, the Center plays a unique role in helping to prepare social workers and other allied health professionals to serve the many faces of an aging America generally, and an aging Maine in particular.
The mission of the Center on Aging is ambitious and multi-faceted. It promotes and facilitates activities on aging in the areas of education, research and evaluation, and community service to improve all aspects of the quality of life of older citizens and their families in Maine and beyond.
Image Description: social worker & older person
Image Description: presenting research