Happy anniversary, CAC

 

Celebration and community were the key words at UIndy’s Center for Aging & Community this year. CAC faculty and staff marked the Center’s 10th anniversary by celebrating a decade of achievements and continued to use their expertise to enhance the quality of life for all aging people.

In a timely anniversary-year highlight, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education has designated the CAC’s Master of Science in Gerontology as a “Program of Merit.” CAC’s program is only the third master’s in gerontology program in the United States to receive the Program of Merit designation and is the only such master’s program delivered in a completely online format. CAC faculty voluntarily undertook the rigorous application process to put the gerontology master’s program under review by AGHE. The designation indicates that the program has been deemed to adhere to or exceed national guidelines, expectations, and practices in gerontology education.

Other achievements in the past 10 years:
—transitioning all of CAC’s academic programs to a completely online format. Offering these programs online allows people to enjoy outstanding gerontology education, no matter where they live.

—creation of the DeHaan Endowed Chair in Gerontology, currently held by CAC’s executive director, Ellen W. Miller, PhD.

—working with the Indiana Division of Aging to create five “Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities,” which harness the power of the residents, local businesses, and government to create communities where it is possible to “age in place” successfully.

—conducting significant research on the opportunities and challenges of the aging workforce with many collaborators, including the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

—leading meaningful, outcome-driven discussions on senior hunger and nutrition on behalf of the Central Indiana Senior Fund.

—convening aging-oriented organizations and service providers from around the state to implement two Indiana Collaborative Conferences on Aging.

—contributing to improvements in health care quality through initiatives with the Indiana State Department of Health, including the Indiana Pressure Ulcer Initiative and the Indiana Healthcare Associated Infections Initiative.

—presenting to regional, national, and international audiences on issues affecting older adults.

True to its name

The Center for Aging & Community reached out to extend its anniversary celebration to professionals in the field of aging and to older adults in Indiana. CAC hosted two educational workshops for professionals. The first brought together community leaders, care providers, architects, and designers to look at purposeful ways a community can shape itself to best support not just older adults, but all citizens.

The second event focused on helping professionals guide families in difficult conversations about aging, including when driving is no longer a safe option, when changes in housing are necessary, and when it is time to make end-of-life decisions. The story of aging with its joys and challenges was told over the course of three weekends in Indianapolis at Forever Sung, an original musical theatrical production at the Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis. CAC Associate Professor Sharon Baggett, PhD, co-produced the show with the Phoenix’s Bryan Fonseca.