Gerontologists in Demand, but Degree Programs Languish

Gerontologists in Demand, but Degree Programs Languish 1

Istock

"There’s some scientific evidence that people with specialized training in aging give better care," says a researcher at a nursing-home association. But "right now it’s easier to find warm bodies than well-trained professionals."

Academic gerontologists are sounding an alarm: As more Americans reach old age, universities are not producing enough specialists to meet their needs.

In recent years, programs such as those at Appalachian State University, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and San Diego State University have been reduced in size, folded into other departments, suspended, or eliminated outright.

Gerontologists say such retrenchment, combined with low enrollments in remaining programs,