After working in the aging field for more than 18 years as a geriatric social worker, Bob Bell earned his Master’s degree in Gerontology, Management of Aging Services (MAS) from UMass Boston in 2012. Soon after enrolling in the program, Bob became interested in hoarding issues among older adults as well as dementia. He further developed these interests in his award-winning Capstone paper titled, "Why do elderly hoarders present challenges for social workers, and what intervention strategies can be used to address these challenges?" Courses like, Health and Physical Aspects of Aging, Social Aspects of Aging, Aging Policy, and Service Delivery Issues helped him decide he wanted to apply his knowledge and skills in a specialized setting outside of a social work environment.
Soon after graduation, Bob was hired as a Programs and Services Manager with the Alzheimer's Association National Capital Area Chapter. This chapter covers 11 counties in Virginia, 5 in Maryland, and Washington DC. He is responsible for 6 of the Virginia counties covering an area of approximately 2,200 square miles. Bob’s job involves networking to identify agencies, organizations, health facilities, and educational institutions as potential collaborators and service providers; and the delivery of a wide range of educational programs and professional training courses. He also monitors support groups and support group facilitators throughout his area and continually seeks to increase access to these groups.
Bob shared that he enjoyed all aspects of the Gerontology program at UMass Boston and his choice of courses, which complemented his years of social work experience. Knowledge gained from the MAS program has enhanced his understanding of aging issues leaving him energized, motivated, and satisfied in his career.