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Aging in Families & Society

This practice area prepares students to work in settings that serve older people and their families, including hospitals and outpatient clinics, senior centers, nursing homes, and planning and advocacy settings and organizations. Practicing in this field involves working with individuals, families, groups, and communities on issues such as caregiving, retirement, coping with aging, social isolation and depression, substance abuse, death, and/or bereavement.

Program Details

Students selecting aging in families and society are required to complete the following courses, each worth three credit-hours:


Potential Careers

Geriatric Specialist, Geriatric Case Manager, Assisted Living Director, Older Adult Program Developer, Hospice Social Worker, Policy Analyst

Alumni Profile

Lindsay Schroeder

By the year 2030, there will be approximately 72.1 million people age 65 and older living in the United States. That’s more than double the number just 15 years ago. As this aging population has expanded, the field of geriatric social work has kept pace and is one of the most rapidly growing career fields today.

Lindsay Schroeder is a Geriatric Scholar enrolled in the program’s 16-month curriculum in the Aging in Families and Society practice area. She chose the Community Organization concentration but has tailored her MSW track to focus on Management of Human Services through course electives.   

“The flexibility of this program has been a really good fit for me,” said Schroeder. “I chose U-M’s MSW program because it met the high standards and requirements that I have for myself. And it’s one of the very few in the country that provides the option of combining macro social work with an Aging specialty.”

Schroeder is focusing on building her program planning, executive leadership and social work entrepreneurship skills and is set on developing and managing a progressive senior living facility that provides a home-like environment and high quality of life.

“Older adults shouldn’t have to give up cooking, gardening and other activities that are enjoyable and therapeutic just because they are no longer able stay in their own home,” said Schroeder. “I want to create a place that feels less institutional, and offers things like open kitchens where residents and their families could prepare meals together, and gardens that are designed for easy accessibility with raised beds, wider pathways, and comfortable resting spots.”

The Geriatric Scholarship program places a strong emphasis on fieldwork, rotating students through two site placements, with at least one placement in Detroit. Students are exposed to a broad range of practice interventions on behalf of older adults in rural and urban settings and in direct service, policy, and management environments.

Schroeder’s first field placement was with Presbyterian Villages of Michigan in Southfield, Michigan where she worked with a team to implement a new in-home respite program that supports veteran and active military families who care for older adults and adults with disabilities. “I coordinated the community outreach efforts to inform and recruit individuals and families who were in need of respite care. I had my hands in every aspect of the program planning.



  • Bonnie C. Dockham

    LEO Lecturer I
  • Leslie J. Dubin

    LEO Adjunct Lecturer, University of Michigan School of Social Work

    Social Worker, University of Michigan Health System
  • Ruth E. Dunkle

    MSW, PhD
    Wilbur J. Cohen Collegiate Professor of Social Work
    Clinical gerontology, service delivery to the elderly, the oldest old, coping and service deliver strategies for the elderly, racial and ethnic variations in caregiving to the elderly.
  • Jennifer T. Heckendorn

    LEO Intermittent Lecturer
Full faculty list »

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