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Careers in Aging Week

People ask me what sparked my interest in the field of aging. That answer really depends on how far back I want to go and also how much time the person has. The quickest response is that I began as a family caregiver after my grand father had a stroke. While caring for him, and about to graduate from my undergrad program, I was panic-stricken. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. A friend of our family pointed me towards the USC dual degree program in gerontology and social work. Poof! I was in the field of aging.

Here is the more in-depth response. I had originally begun my college career in mechanical engineering. I quickly realized that it was not for me. I took a class called "Introduction to Gerontology" which was part of the sociology department and also met a professor who would later become my mentor. That intro class was really just one of many seeds that had been planted throughout my life pointing towards working with older adults.

Going back even further, my aunt was part of a church youth group when I was a kid. One of their service projects was to visit people in nursing facilities. They would sing for the residents, act out skits, and play bingo. My aunt lured me in with donuts. The catch was while eating the donut, I had to help the residents mark their cards during the bingo games. I remember the ladies sitting in wheelchairs, patting me on the head and smiling. This seemed so natural to me.

What I didn't realize was that this was the start of my career. It took every one of those influences to put me where I am today:

  • My aunt 
  • The youth group
  • The church for having the youth group
  • The nursing facility for allowing us to visit
  • The ladies smiling
  • The donuts
  • That intro to gerontology professor
  • My sociology mentor
  • My grandfather for being sick
  • My grandmother for showing me what it was like to struggle as a caregiver
  • Our family friend introducing me to social work and gerontology
  • My professors at USC.
  • My internship supervisors
  • Every single family I have served since I began nearly 14 years ago.

To all of them, I owe a sincere thanks. Each in their own way has propelled me down this path of serving older adults and their families.

Careers in Aging Week (April 7-13, 2013) ( was created by the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and its educational branch the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE). Its purpose is to bring awareness to the shortage of knowledgeable, well-trained personnel to deal with the soon to be overwhelming needs of the aging population. 2012 marked the year that baby boomers began turning 65. Roughly 10,000 people will cross that threshold every day for the next 18 years.

I hope that I am able to do my part to introduce and propel others into this amazing field. The opportunities are endless. The need is urgent. 100 years from now, history books will tell stories of the people who were the pioneers of this age.