MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXVII No. 2
November / December 2014
Issues in Considering the Future
of MIT Education
Four New Members Elected to
FNL Editorial Board
The Future of MIT Education
Preventing and Addressing Sexual Misconduct at MIT: A Faculty Primer
Reflecting on "All Doors Open"
Are We Moving Toward a Two-Class
Research-Education Society at MIT?
8.02 TEAL+x: Students Say "Yes"
to MITx in 8.02 TEAL
Addressing Student Mental Health Issues
at MIT
Advising Undergraduates or Teaching a
CI-H/HW Subject? New Enrollment Tools Can Help
Transforming Student Information Systems
The A2 Problem Set in
Undergraduate Education
Work-Life Center Announces Senior Planning Benefit and Seminar Series
The Alumni Class Funds Seek Proposals for Teaching and Education Enhancement
Being "Nice" at MIT
from the 2014 survey "Community Attitudes on Sexual Assault"
from the 2014 survey "Community Attitudes on Sexual Assault"
Printable Version

Work-Life Center Announces Senior Planning Benefit and Seminar Series

Maura Rizzuto

As reported in the 2012 MIT Faculty Survey, 16% of MIT faculty are currently caring for or managing care for someone who is ill, disabled, aging and/or in need of special services. In addition, 11% of faculty experience extensive stress about providing care for someone who is ill, disabled, aging and/or in need of special services; another 18% of faculty are somewhat stressed by such caregiving responsibilities.

A new resource for faculty (as well as postdoctoral scholars and employees) is now available to address some of this stress. The MIT-Work Life Center has introduced a Senior Care Planning Benefit through

The following services are provided at no cost:

  • In-depth phone consultations with a Masters level Social Worker, who can assist faculty members with a customized action plan; facilitate family meetings; and provide a list of vetted providers in communities across the U.S. These providers include geriatric care managers, attorneys who specialize in elder law, in-home care services, senior housing, adult day programs, transportation, and Alzheimer’s/dementia care.
  • In-person consultations with Jennifer Gibbons, MSW, LCSW, a Care Advisor on the team, who will be available twice a month by appointment at the MIT Work-Life Center, located in E19-607.
  • Monthly lunchtime senior caregiver support groups, facilitated by Jennifer Gibbons at the Work-Life Center. Two groups are being offered this fall: Caring From a Distance, and Caring for a Family Member with Alzheimer’s/Dementia. reports that some of the use among faculty in academic institutions has included dementia care, end-of-life care, and locating skilled nursing facilities.

Ronnie Mae Weiss, MIT Program Manager, recently used the Senior Care Planning Service through to find a quality assisted living community for her parents in Florida. “The ability to speak with an experienced senior care advisor has proven invaluable for my family,” says Weiss. “Not only was I able to take care of my parents’ immediate needs, but has continued to engage my whole family in an honest and productive conversation around ongoing care that works for us.”

Certainly some of the stress that faculty members experience concerns the time required for caretaking responsibilities, such as taking family members to medical appointments. Through, the Work-Life Center is also able to offer short-term in-home care, providing access to back-up adult care for transportation to medical appointments, meal preparation, medication prompting, and assistance with bathing and dressing. Faculty members pay an hourly fee to the adult caregiver for this service. This adult in-home care service can directly benefit faculty members as well; for example, faculty members who have had surgery and require in-home care or help with medical appointments can take advantage of this benefit.

Additional Benefits Available to Faculty

As a reminder, there are other family-related benefits that MIT offers to faculty members. Typically, tenured faculty members (women and men) who need time for family care (children, partners, elders) may request a reduced-time (but not below 50% time), reduced-pay appointment for one or more semesters up to five years, with possible renewal. For more information, see MIT Policies & Procedures, Section 3.2 Tenure Process.

MIT also offers long-term care insurance, which can reimburse expenses for the care faculty members or their family members may need if a chronic illness occurs, or if help is needed with everyday activities, such as eating, bathing, or dressing. It also reimburses for the cost of care if supervision is needed due to a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's disease.

Seminar Series Focused on Eldercare

The MIT Work-Life Center sponsors eldercare seminars providing practical, research-based insights and strategies on topics led by experts in the field. Aging in Place: Promoting Independent Living for Seniors will be held on December 16, 2014; past seminars include Choosing a Long Term Care Community and Checking in with Elderly Family Members.

For more information on the Senior Care Planning Benefit, visit: For more information on the seminars, visit: Materials from past sessions are also available. To receive a copy, please e-mail: or call the Work-Life Center at 617-253-1592.

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