Recently one of our faculty, Dr. Rosemary Chapin, was named a 2016 Social Work Pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers Foundation in recognition of her scholarship and policy advocacy work. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight the lifetime of work that Dr. Chapin has contributed to improving the quality of life for older adults, fighting for policy change, and educating future social workers. Dr. Chapin has worked to reshape our vision of aging.
The oldest of the baby boom generation has now reached the age of retirement, and as their numbers grow, they will have a significant impact on the economy, health care systems and the future of other retirees. This generation is known to be diverse, educated, and engaged, which will be valuable assets for their own productive aging and also for continuing to contribute to their community. Many are active and want to stay active as they age. They have much to contribute to solving the most urgent challenges of our time, and can be vital mentors for younger generations. Further, baby boomers are anticipated to be more actively engaged in their health and long term care decisions than prior generations. Although baby boomers have these many strengths to carry them through their older years, they also face many challenges and barriers. Health and long term care costs continue to rise, even as many baby boomers lost much of their retirement savings during the Great Recession. Additionally, there is a shortage of qualified caregivers and geriatric providers to meet growing demand. One KU researcher predicted these impacts early in her career and has dedicated over 40 years of her work to improving the quality of life of older adults and their families and increasing opportunities for them to contribute to society.