The capstone seminar is the grand finale of the Management of Aging Services program in the Gerontology Department. Each student's journey comes to an end with this course, which gives students the opportunity to develop a special project in his or her specific area of interest, while utilizing all of their acquired knowledge and skills provided through the program. Students are guided in producing projects which evidence their understanding and mastery of topics in aging, involving policy development and analysis, program management, administration, and finance.
Each year, a committee selects two outstanding capstone papers, one from fall and one from spring, to be recognized at the John W. McCormack Graduate School graduation ceremony. The committee selected Inbal Nuen as the capstone award winner for fall 2013. Her capstone paper, titled “Strengthening Communities Through Intergenerational Programs," discusses the value of intergenerational programs which can serve as an effective means of providing engagement and care to both children and elders that are at risk for isolation in the community. She points out that these programs develop generational relationships that reincorporate the concept of “neighbor helping neighbor.” Inbal’s paper reviews the literature on this issue and presents four different types of intergenerational programs that have been successfully implemented. She discusses barriers to developing such programs as well as ways to surmount these. Her paper presents a pathway for strengthening communities and improving the quality of life for both elders and children.
The Management of Aging Services capstone award for spring 2014 goes to Deborah Canter. Deborah’s Capstone paper, "Putting Veterans First: How to Increase Noninstitutional Care in the Greater Boston Area,” addresses the fact that Massachusetts has a higher than average percentage of veterans age 65 or older, with a large cohort of Vietnam veterans beginning to reach this age who are in need of long-term care. She points out that the VA has traditionally been more focused on acute and inpatient care as opposed to community care. Yet, veterans prefer to age in place, and there are a limited number of nursing home beds in the state which makes the development of community options a needed objective. Deborah’s paper outlines the obstacles to providing more noninstitutional care for veterans and then proposes four recommendations to solve the problem. Her Capstone is a well researched approach to providing quality, cost effective care to the greatest number of veterans.
On behalf of UMass Boston Gerontology, congratulations Inbal and Deborah! We appreciate your contribution in bringing awareness to relevant issues of aging that are timely and deserve attention.