Student Helps Ohio Prepare for Aging Population

by Victoria Stearns, Public Relations Writer

As demographics in the United States begin to move toward an aging populace, the state of Ohio is taking steps to help build a responsive statewide infrastructure for aging citizens.

Part of the state’s initiative involves recruiting college students to help build innovative programs and services for the elderly. Erin Scott, a senior social work major at Cedarville University, has been identified as one of those students.

Through a partnership with the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education (OAGE), the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) has created the Ohio Scholars in Aging program, which recognizes 14 students from colleges and universities across the state for their contributions to innovative approaches to elder services.

“These students are the future leaders in their chosen fields and, with what they have learned through the Ohio Scholars in Aging program, they will help our state and nation prepare and build a responsive infrastructure for our aging population,” said Bonnie K. Burman, Sc.D., director of the ODA.

This year’s group of Ohio Scholars in Aging represent 11 different colleges and universities in Ohio, including three from the Miami Valley (Cedarville, Miami University and Sinclair Community College). 

Each student selected for the program has participated in an internship or practicum that contributes to developing innovative approaches to elder services. Scott, a native of Haslett, Michigan, is being recognized for her work with the Alzheimer's Association Miami Valley Chapter.

“At the Alzheimer's Association I helped as a care consultant and advocate providing supportive listening and helped assess what assistance families may have needed. I was able to provide community resources for my clients and also provide education and information about Alzheimer's disease while representing the chapter at multiple health fairs,” said Scott. 

“Erin and her fellow students promote the kind of care and caring that we would each want for our loved ones as they live longer, and will advocate for opportunities for our elders to continue to grow, thrive and contribute,” said Burman.

The goal of the Ohio Scholars in Aging program is to cultivate future decision-makers and designers of elder services, while ensuring that Ohio communities and businesses design and implement solutions that address the impact of an aging population. 

Scholars are given the chance to connect their field experiences to policy development, as well as network with state-level officials, OAGE leadership and other scholars. In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in and be recognized at the 2017 OAGE Conference. 

As part of her selection to the Ohio Scholars in Aging program, Scott was given the opportunity to make a presentation about her internship at the OAGE Conference at Youngstown State University earlier this month.

“The Ohio Scholars in Aging program has been an amazing opportunity to gain knowledge about polices that affect seniors,” said Scott. “The program has enabled me to grow as a student and give me key experience in networking. This experience will be helpful as I consider pursuing a career in advocacy, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Ohio Scholars in Aging program.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu