Gerontology alumna returns to present on healthy aging

Jennifer McCaughey ’09, has always had a strong relationship with her grandparents, which inspired her to study gerontology and pushed her into a successful career in healthcare.

“The senior population is large, diverse and continuing to grow, so it is beneficial for everyone to gain an understanding of their unique perspectives, challenges, and ways to be supportive,” said McCaughey. “This is why programs like the Quinnipiac gerontology program are so valuable, as you get a multi-faceted approach to the study of aging.”

During her time as a Bobcat, she was given extensive opportunities to explore her educational and career interests. McCaughey was required to complete internships in the community as a part of the program. However, she went above and beyond to volunteer at various nursing facilities to expand her skills. These experiences led her to becoming hired for her very first position in therapeutic recreation and now to her recent promotion as the manager at the Hartford Healthcare Center for Healthy Aging.

She supports a team that consists of various disciplines — resource coordinators, dementia specialists, transitional care nurses and veteran liaisons — which help individuals get connected with services and resources to improve their quality of life.

“I am so fortunate to work with a team that is passionate about assisting seniors, as well as belonging to a health care system that is dedicated to person-centered care,” said McCaughey.

On November 15, she returned to her roots to present in the sociology of aging course, taught by Cathy Solomon, a professor of sociology and the program director for gerontology. Solomon taught McCaughey decades ago and her impact remains.

“The presentation consisted of an overview of the Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging and the various services that we offer to seniors and their care partners in the community,” said McCaughey. “We also touched a bit upon available resources and what that means for seniors and those who care for them. The presentation served as an example of the various routes that an individual can take when looking at a career in aging services.”

Solomon has always admired McCaughey’s dedication to her field and described how their connection will last a lifetime.

“Jennifer was a conscientious, hardworking and engaged student who was passionate about making a positive impact on the lives of older adults,” said Solomon. “She retains that spark, commitment, and passion 14 years later! Her career exemplifies the transferability of a degree in gerontology.”

Aside from teaching, Solomon is a founding member of Quinnipiac’s Interprofessional Coalition for Aging Inclusive Leadership/Learning Endeavor and added that McCaughey’s presentation relates to the committee’s dedication to increasing students’ awareness of community services for older adults. As an Age-Friendly University (AFU), Quinnipiac is constantly growing educationally in the area of healthy aging.

McCaughey’s experience at Quinnipiac played a major role in where she stands today. She hopes that students will consider learning more about the gerontology program and continues to express her support for the community she once called home.

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