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New Certificate Addresses Needs of Local Senior Citizens

Submitted by on March 26, 2024 – 2:56 pm

Haverhill and Lawrence, MA (March 26, 2024)—Northern Essex Community College is offering a new certificate course this fall to support the ever-growing aging population in our surrounding communities. The Senior Care Specialist Certification Program will provide students with the ability to provide person-centered care and support that addresses the specific age-related needs of adults over the age of 65.

“This certification may be taken by family caregivers who seek a better understanding of the social and developmental needs of their aging loved ones under their care,” says Lisa Fabbri-Lopez, assistant professor for Human Services at NECC. “Additionally, those already working with this population without any credentials or formal training would benefit from this skilled credential that will set them apart from their co-workers.”

Fabbri-Lopez says a survey of Human Services students showed that 63.64% were “extremely interested” and 27.27% were “somewhat interested” in taking the Senior Care Specialist Certification. All 19 credits required for the certificate can be applied to the Associate Degree in Human Services.

“We saw a real need for this type of certification in our local communities. Only one other school within a 60-mile radius offers a similar program, and it’s much more expensive than ours. We’re able to make this certification accessible and affordable, so individuals can get the skills they need quickly,” remarks Fabbri-Lopez.

Time is of the essence. By 2030, people over the age of 65 are expected to outnumber people under the age of 18 by 1%, and that number will steadily increase with each passing year. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs says, “Massachusetts already has more residents over the age of 60 than under the age of 20.”

Fabbri-Lopez points out that creating this academic path will cultivate Human Service professionals who are in tune with this population’s unique needs. In turn, the aging adult who has been supported by someone with this Certification will be empowered to maintain their active role as a citizen in their community, “enhancing the cultural and economic life of our region.”

A full description of the Senior Care Specialist Certification Program can be found here. Registration for fall classes opens on April 1.