Judah Ronch, Erickson School, in Baltimore Magazine

In its Summer 2014 retirement guide, Baltimore Magazine published an article exploring what modern retirement means to the “baby boom” generation. Erickson School Dean Judah Ronch was quoted extensively in the story and commented on how American society’s notions of aging are outdated.

Judah Ronch

“Younger boomers don’t want to eat at 5 p.m.,” said Ronch when discussing the changing nature of continuing-care retirement communities (CCRCs). He said today’s retirees aren’t necessarily looking for a quiet place to live out their golden years surrounded by people similar to them: “the CCRC is based on a model of aging as leisure and decline,” Ronch said. “I’m hearing from CCRC operators that younger boomers are saying the model doesn’t work for them.”

In the article, Ronch noted that the baby boom generation is rethinking its concept of what home means to them. “Creative solutions come as second nature to boomers,” he said. He added co-housing and group-living arrangements are becoming more common. “This is a generation that knows about groups. We grew up with group therapy, consciousness-raising, and political activism. I expect to see a landscape of options.”

The importance of technology was discussed in the story, and Galina Madjaroff, a clinical assistant professor at the Erickson School, said developers should recognize the vast market potential. “Most technology is being developed for the 25-35 age group,” said Madjaroff, who specializes in technology and older adults. “There’s a huge gap between what the older generation needs and what the industry is providing.”

Helena Mentis, an assistant professor of information systems, said wearable technology such as FitBit, which is a bracelet that monitors sleep and physical activity, among other inputs, “has taken off with healthy twenty somethings.” But that technology could also be used for older folks “to make sure they’re moving enough,” and in some cases, “to see if they’re engaging in social interaction.” Mentis also discussed the potential benefits of Google Glass and Wii Fit.

To read the full article in Baltimore Magazine titled, “A boomer’s guide to 65,” click here.

Erickson School Featured in Provider Magazine Video

Erickson School Dean Judah Ronch and Professor Bill Thomas were recently featured in a video series examining elder care in Provider Magazine. In the video, they discuss the UMBC Aging curriculum, its impact on students, and what it means to the future of aging services.

Ronch and Thomas highlight the program’s integration and study of public policy, business management and human aging as a way to provide undergraduate and graduate students with the knowledge and experience necessary to be leaders and entrepreneurs in the field.

You can watch the complete interview in the video above. For more on the video series in Provider Magazine, click here.

Judah Ronch, Erickson School, in The Baltimore Sun

Judah RonchAn article published April 9 in The Baltimore Sun explores how Columbia resident Shirley Johannesen Levine has entertained audiences around the country with her puppetry skills and her company Puppet Dance Productions, with a focus on her recent trip to the Ellicott City Senior Center.

Erickson School Dean Judah Ronch was interviewed for the article and said productions such as Johannesen’s not only provide entertainment for elders, but they can support wellness.

“At any age, interaction is key to a sense of engagement and meaning of life,” Ronch said. He added interactive activities such as puppet shows can promote autonomy and self-esteem. They can also help elders with dementia positively respond to an environment that isn’t overwhelming. “The more you can do for engagement, the better,” he added.

To read the full article in The Baltimore Sun, click here.

Judah Ronch, Erickson School, in The Baltimore Beacon

Judah RonchAn article published in the April 2014 edition of The Baltimore Beacon newspaper examines the current view of retirement and how it looks much different today than it has in the past.

Erickson School Dean Judah Ronch is quoted extensively in the article and comments on how people are living longer and healthier lives due to less demanding work environments and better healthcare.

“We have more vigor and more energy than our parents and grandparents did,” Ronch said. “As a result, we don’t feel the need – or the desire – to view retirement as a life of total leisure. Many of us still want to contribute, whether it’s using our skills in new ways, or developing new areas of expertise and new careers altogether.”

In the past, retirees would keep busy through volunteer work, but Ronch said that is one of the many aspects of retirement that is changing.

“Baby boomers are used to being compensated for their time,” he said. “We may still want to work and earn money, but perhaps in a less competitive environment.”

To read the full article titled, “Retirees are hardly retiring,” click here (Ronch is quoted extensively on page 24).   

Judah Ronch, Erickson School, on WYPR’s Maryland Morning

After Maryland was hit with heavy snowfall last Thursday, WYPR’s Maryland Morning looked into the question: how do our older neighbors plan for and deal with this kind of weather? Sheilah Kast, the program’s host, spoke with Erickson School Dean Judah Ronch about tips and suggestions for helping elders during snowstorms.

Judah Ronch

Ronch discussed how elders can be vulnerable when they lose power and heat in their homes during storms, which can make them more susceptible to injury, cause them to become disoriented and it can even spoil food which can lead to lack of nutrition.

“That affects both body and mind. Their thinking gets to be a little less clear, and they may make decisions which really aren’t typical of what they can do,” Ronch said.

Ronch added you can help elders by creating a buddy system and forming relationships before storms and emergencies happen. He said having a plan in place and making sure the person has everything they need in advance can go a long way.

“Having a checklist of what the person needs, for example, do you have enough food, do you have enough water, do you have all the medications you would need for let’s say a four to five-day period?” Ronch said. “I think those who are checking in on older adults should check in before, during and after the event.”

You can listen to the full interview on WYPR here.

Judah Ronch, Erickson School, Publishes New Books on Elder Care

Judah RonchLeading Principles and Practices in Elder Care (Health Professions Press) is a new book series edited by Erickson School Dean Judah Ronch and colleague Audrey Weiner, President and CEO of the Jewish Home Lifecare in New York. Ronch and Weiner have also co-authored the first two volumes in the series: Culture Change in Elder Care (available now) and Models and Pathways for Person-Centered Elder Care (to be released in October).

Culture Change in Elder Care prepares health professionals with the essential arguments, values and business case for adopting new care models that better serve the needs of older adults “to bring dignity, choice, and comfort back into the day-to-day lives of elders.” Models and Pathways for Person-Centered Elder Care features reflections from the “visionaries whose model communities reflect the ideals of person-centered care,” addressing issues from retraining elder care staff to raising the capital needed for transforming a facility.

Peter V. Rabins Joins Erickson School as Senior Fellow

Erickson School Ldrship Inst LogoPeter V. Rabins, MD, MPH, has been appointed senior fellow with the Institute for Leadership at UMBC’s Erickson School for the management of aging services, joining current senior fellow Chris Hollister.

Rabins is professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has been on the Hopkins faculty since 1978. Over the past 35 years he has had appointments in the department of health policy and management and department of mental health, and served as vice-chair for academic affairs in the department of psychiatry as well as director of the division of geriatric psychiatry and neuropsychiatry.

As the Erickson School’s newest senior fellow, Rabins will serve as a liaison to the aging research community — helping to develop collaborative research initiatives between the Erickson School and its partners in the field — as well as a guest lecturer on care for individuals living with Alzheimer disease.

Rabins’s career has focused on the study of psychiatric disorders in older adults. His current research explores the effectiveness of Alzheimer disease therapies, care of patients with late-stage dementia, and measuring quality of life among persons with Alzheimer disease. His recent books include Practical Dementia Care and Getting Old Without Getting Anxious.