Higher Education Workgroup
Older Adults and Higher Education
Maine has a high number of aging workers in the health care and social service areas who will retire at a time when we face increased demand. Participants agreed that higher education will be critical partners in helping Maine employers fill this coming void. With fewer health care workers, older adults living rurally will increasingly have to rely on assistive technology to allow them to remain living safely at home. Participants agreed that Maine should be on the cutting edge of designing and testing new technologies that support older adults living at home and should lead on resolving privacy issues that come with new technologies.
Community Based Solutions
- Create a central public repository. Create a repository for current research efforts, aging initiatives and aging programs at all Maine institutions of higher education and promote sharing of best practices in integrating needs of older adults in healthcare and social service educational programs in Maine. Promote best practices across education systems.
- Identify gaps in current aging research and research needs and work to fill them. Engage partners in Maine’s aging network to inventory and address the ongoing research needs of these partners. Promote new initiatives and technologies. Encourage Maine’s institutions of higher education to create new technologies aimed at meeting the needs of older adults, including technologies that support independent living safely in one’s home, even with disability. Ideas included assisted driving, telemedicine, and home monitoring.
- Collaborate with business leaders to design ongoing training and educational programs geared toward our emerging workforce replacement needs.
- Address credentialing issues for in-migrating older professionals and “new Mainers”. Make necessary changes in law and licensing to allow “New Mainers” and people who retire to Maine from other states to use their existing skills and education– either to re-enter the workforce in Maine or to volunteer using their licenses.
- Provide education loan forgiveness. Provide loan forgiveness for people who devote time to older adult care-giving or choose a career in direct care service.