MARCH 2022
The pilot course on reframing aging will be tested with UMass Boston nursing undergraduates.
Team to develop, pilot course on reframing aging with UMass Boston nursing students
Point32Health Foundation is funding UMass Boston gerontologists to develop and test a reframing aging curriculum for the university's undergraduate nursing students. The project is part of the Foundation’s five-year commitment to support the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' age-friendly action plan. Educating college students is an opportunity to “change the conversation with several generations to come,” says Robin Lipson, deputy secretary of the state's Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

“Ageist stereotypes and implicit and unconscious biases can have a negative impact on health,” says Alrie McNiff Daniels, director of communications and stakeholder engagement for Point32Health Foundation. “To change pervasive misperceptions about aging and older people, we need to talk about ageism with people of all ages. This project will raise awareness among college students and help them understand how entrenched ageist attitudes influence our behavior in a variety of settings.”
Daughter/mother participants in the Boston Aging Together Study. Photo: Gretjen Helene
Growing older along with your parents
Boerner publishes latest Boston Aging Together Study paper
Gerontology Professor Kathrin Boerner has spent the last four years studying the relationships of older adults and the very old parents in their care. Her Boston Aging Together Study includes interviews with 114 parent-child pairs in the Boston area in which the parents are 90 or older and their children are 65 or older. Her latest paper from the study, “‘I’m Getting Older Too’: Challenges and Benefits Experienced by Very Old Parents and Their Children,” appears in the March 2022 issue of Journal of Applied Gerontology. “As I suspected, everyone talks about caring for their very old parents as a major issue in their lives, even if they have a positive relationship with their parents and relatively good support,” Boerner says.
Senior Center Director Heidi Whear helps with a 2021 grab-n-go lunch at Swampscott Senior Center.
Photo: David Sokol/
How Coyle helped a Massachusetts town serve its older population
In 2019, two residents of Swampscott, Massachusetts, contracted with UMass Boston gerontologist Caitlin Coyle, PhD, to guide their work in shaping age-friendly initiatives for their town. Coyle conducted a survey, focus groups, interviews, and more to assess the town’s needs for better supporting its aging population, then worked with a team of undergraduate and graduate students to compile the findings into a report. The two residents, meanwhile, grew into a committee of 30 or so. Fast forward three years and Swampscott has joined the national AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. Heidi Whear, one of the residents who first contacted Coyle, now serves as director of the Swampscott Senior Center. And in January 2022, the Massachusetts Councils on Aging awarded a $7,800 grant to Swampscott’s Council on Aging to carry out some of their age-friendly initiatives.
Meet a Researcher: Qian Song, PhD
For most of her research, Qian Song, PhD, has focused on the intersection of migration, families, institutional discrimination, and health. Primarily, she has pursued questions of how life experiences create health disparities in later life. Currently, for example, she is looking at the long-term health effects following massive layoffs of State-Owned Enterprise workers in urban China two decades ago.
Meet the newest member of the UMass Boston gerontology faculty. Song joined the department in 2019, coming to Boston from the RAND Corporation’s Center for the Study of Aging, where she was a National Institute on Aging postdoctoral scholar.

Report collects insights, offers action plan for supporting family caregivers
A new report from the Leading Age LTSS Center @UMass Boston and Community Catalyst’s Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation presents a strategic roadmap for better support of family caregivers. The report summarizes insights from a year’s worth of strategy sessions and interviews with representatives of more than 100 organizations. The research was made possible by the support of the RAISE Family Caregiver Resource and Dissemination Center at the National Academy for State Health Policy in collaboration with the U.S. Administration for Community Living, with generous funding from The John A. Hartford Foundation.
The Impact of Climate Change:
Why Older Adults Are Vulnerable
Older adults in communities of color and those receiving long-term support and services face different risks from climate change. A new LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston report offers advice for professionals assessing social isolation, sensory impairment, mobility, and dementia status. Download report.
"More than 201,000 in long-term care have died from COVID, but just how many more?" Robyn Stone, co-director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, talks with McKnight Senior Living Editor Lois Bowers, Feb. 7, 2022.

"Swampscott Council on Aging to ramp up outreach to local seniors," Swampscott Reporter looks at initiatives guided by work with UMass Boston gerontologist Caitlin Coyle (see newsletter story, above), Feb. 21, 2022.