Antioch University Santa Barbara has announced a new Healthy Aging concentration in its Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology Program designed to provide students with knowledge and clinical skills for serving older adults and their families.
“Older adults are the fastest-growing population in our community,” said Dr. Elizabeth Wolfson, chairwoman of the MACP Program. “How we respond to the social, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs of older adults and their families will shape the face of our community in the future. AUSB has responded by developing a new concentration in Healthy Aging, which will infuse the community with experts trained in working with older adults and their families and in supporting a process of healthy aging.”
The Administration on Aging identifies “the older population — persons 65 years or older — as numbering 39.6 million. Older adults represent 12.9 percent of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000, and are expected to grow to be 19 percent of the population by 2030.”
In Santa Barbara County, about 15 percent of the population is older than age 60.
Through specialized coursework and training, Antioch students will gain knowledge about the physical, social and psychological aspects of aging and learn intervention skills to assist older adults, their families and caregivers. In addition to coursework, the concentration includes training and supervision in a clinical field placement. In these sites, students will acquire skills in assessment and counseling with individuals in response to the normal challenges of aging, as well as in emergency interventions around crisis and complication situations.
The concentration will include substantial training in working with families, caregivers and others with the goal of supporting a quality lifestyle for older adults from wellness and prevention approaches.
“As a one-of-a-kind program in our community, the Healthy Aging concentration is uniquely poised to enrich our community with a growing cadre of professionals whose training and knowledge will, in collaboration with community agencies, respond to the growing needs of our most vulnerable community members and their families,” Wolfson said.
— Kristine Schwarz is associate director of institutional advancement at Antioch University Santa Barbara.