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.