Special to The Sun
A large chunk of the U.S. population is aging, including right here in Oklahoma. Estimates show that by the year 2030, nearly one in five Oklahomans will be older than the age of 65 — a major shift in demographics coming ever since the baby boom began in 1946.
As a result, professionals with specialized knowledge of the changes that aging brings are in increasing demand. In response to that demand, the University of Central Oklahoma has revamped its gerontology program with the launch of its Master of Arts in gerontology degree.
The program is designed to educate and train the professionals who will care for, advocate for, and even develop technology for the aging population.
“It means a lot to go home at night knowing you’re doing something that benefits people, and knowing you love your job,” said Douglas Reed, Ph.D. professor of gerontology and program coordinator.
“If you have an affinity for this group of people and a desire to learn about the biological, sociological and psychological changes that aging brings, this is the program for you.”
Central’s gerontology master’s offers students flexible, early evening classes along with an option to either write a thesis or complete practicum experiences.
Elective courses cover topics such as the politics of aging, caregiver support, assisted living management and more.
“The full-time professional can finish this degree relatively quickly,” Reed said.
As the only gerontology master’s program in the state, Central’s metropolitan location gives students access to the fastest growing aging population in the state.
Oklahoma’s Area Agencies on Aging are broken up into sections, and the local section covers Canadian, Cleveland, Logan and Oklahoma counties — three of the five most populous counties in the state.
Aging citizens are attracted to the wide range of health-care services Oklahoma City has to offer, making this local Area Agency on Aging district the home of more than 25 percent of Oklahoma’s population of those age 60 and up.
FOR MORE information about Central’s Master of Arts in Gerontology, contact Reed at 974-5803 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.libarts.uco.edu/sociology/gerontology.