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Office of Geriatrics and Interprofessional Aging Studies

Office of Geriatrics and
Interprofessional Aging Studies

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Evolution Theory, Life History and Human Longevity Conference Taking Place at Ohio State February 5-7

Older AdultsThe OSU Department of Anthropology is hosting a conference on Evolution Theory, Life History and Human Longevity that will bring national experts to the OSU campus for a two-day event which is open to all interested students, faculty and community participants. Experts from Ohio State, Wayne State University, Central Michigan University, University of New Mexico, University of Illinois, Arizona State University, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology will come together to present research topics in these important areas of discovery. The event begins on Thursday, February 5, with a Reception from 5:00 – 7:00 PM in Ballroom A at The Blackwell, and continues on February 6 and 7 with a Roundtable Discussion and Paper Presentations. There is no cost for attendance at the Roundtable or the Paper Presentations.  Any conference attendee wishing to participate in the lunches or dinners, must contact Dr. Douglas Crews at to make reservations and arrange for payment for meals.     Please follow this link to learn more about the conference. For additional information contact Dr. Douglas Crews at

Older Adults, Falls and Quality of Life

By Catherine R. Lucey, M.D., Interim Director Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology Older womanFalls are a major problem for older people. The consequences of a fall can be more than bumps, bruises and inconvenience. One third of older adults will suffer a serious injury, such as head trauma or hip fractures from a fall.  One quarter of all patients who fracture a hip are unable to return to independent living and must enter an assisted living or long-term care facility. Twenty percent of those who fracture a hip will die in the year following a hip fracture of complications such as blood clots.  Even when a patient survives a fall, they often develop a syndrome known as “fear of falling” where they severely restrict their activities because of concern that they may fall again.  They are also expensive.  According to Stevens, Corso, Finkelstein and Miller (Injury Prevention 2006), the total direct cost of all fall injuries for people 65 and older exceeded $19 billion in 2000. Certain medications may increase the risk of falls in the elderly, particularly medications for sleep and anxiety, medications for high blood pressure and medications for prostate problems.  Physicians concerned about falls risk in their patients may choose different medications or advise the patient to take the medication at night, when they are less likely to be walking around. 

Don't Miss This Opportunity

Howling At The Moon is a company of eight women artists over 60 who write and perform their lives.  This talented group will be performing Writing Our Lives: The madness continues....The howling persists... on January 18 and providing a Lifewriting Workshop on January 25.  Enjoying one of their performances is sure to brighten a winter day in Ohio.  Learn more about the January events. Visit often to learn of upcoming events.

Aging Education Opportunities

Nurse with older womenServing an aging population requires professionals from multiple disciplines working in teams to address the complex needs and interests of older adults. From healthcare to social services, to marketing and finance, aging education is a valuable asset to students across our campus and in the community. All graduate students at Ohio State have an opportunity to pursue the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Aging to further their knowledge in aging while pursuing graduate coursework in their main discipline.  The program requires at least 21 additional course hours from the Master List of Courses, and successful completion is noted on student transcripts.  Read more about the Specialization in Aging. Those who are not pursuing a graduate degree at Ohio State and may be working in the field of aging, or wish to enter the field, may pursue the Sage Series (Series in Applied Gerontology Education) and earn a Certificate of Completion in Gerontology after completion of the three graduate-level courses that make up the Sage Series.  Read more about Sage. For more information on either of these programs contact Linda Mauger at or call 614-293-8031.

International Bereavement Research Collaboration

sunset Dr. Virginia Richardson, Professor in the College of Social Work, is collaborating with an international group of researchers to evaluate the efficacy of a recently proposed model of grief counseling, Dual Process Model of Bereavement (DPM), created by Margaret Stroebe and Henk Schut from the University of Utrecht. Richardson and colleagues presented their research last November at the Gerontological Society of America in Washington, DC. The results from their presentation will be published in a special issue of Omega: Journal of Death and Dying in 2010. In addition to Dr. Richardson’s presentation focusing on “Mitigating the effects of Caregiving on Widowers’ Adjustments to Bereavement,” Dr. Lund, Dr. Caserta, and Dr. Utz from the Center of Aging at the University of Utah, along with Dr. de Vries from San Francisco State University will publish, “Intervention for Bereaved Spouses/Partners. ”Dr. Bennett from the University of Liverpool will present, “Testing the Dual Process Model of Coping with Bereavement,” and Dr Shear from Columbia University will publish, “Avoidance Among Elderly People Seeking Treatment of Complicated Grief. ”Dr. Stroebe and Dr. Schut will introduce the special issue updating the DPM, and Dr. Carr, from the Health Policy Institute at Rutgers University, will conclude the issue highlighting important issues for research and practice. For further insight regarding this research and collaboration contact Dr. Richardson at

Our Aging Society

  • An estimated 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease (2008).
  • One in eight persons age 65 and over (13%) has Alzheimer's disease.
  • Women are more likely than men to have Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
  • In 2007, 9.8 million family members, friends and neighbors provided 8.4 billion hours of unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia.
  • The economic value of this care was $89 billion.
Source: 2008 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures, published by the Alzheimer's Association.

Call For Papers -- OAGE Conference

The 33rd Annual Ohio Professional and Student Conference on Aging titled, Enduring Legacies: Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future, will take place on March 27, 2009, at the Shriver Center, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.  This conference is sponsored by the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education. Follow this link to learn more about Abstract submissions.  The deadline is January 15, 2009. Acceptable submission formats include papers, workshops, symposia, and posters.  Paper presentations will be grouped with similar topics, with 10-12 minutes allotted to each presentation.  Symposia (comprised of 3-4 members) and interactive workshops will be restricted to one hour.  Abstracts based on best practice, empirical research, policy analysis, theoretical ideas, innovative programs, and/or conceptually original literature reviews are welcome. For more information about OAGE and the upcoming conference visit OAGE Logo

Quality of Life and Dementia Study Funded

Woman with fatherDr. Michelle Bourgeois, Professor, Speech and Hearing Science, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, recently received a two-year investigator-initiated research grant from the Alzheimer’s Association for her grant entitled, Determining Quality of Life in Dementia with Visual and Written Stimuli. Dr. Bourgeois suggests that reliable and valid assessment of quality of life in persons with dementia remains problematic in spite of the recent publication of multiple dementia-specific quality of life assessment tools, because of the cognitive and communication deficits of persons with dementia. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effects of two techniques designed to enhance the ability of persons with dementia to respond to quality of life questions: Augmented Verbal and Enhanced Visual/sorting (based on effective Memory Book and Montessori procedures), compared with a standard verbal administration of quality of life questions. It is hypothesized that residents with dementia will demonstrate improved quality of responding to quality of life questions in the experimental conditions (augmented verbal and enhanced visual/sorting) in comparison to the standard verbal administration (control) condition, as measured by increased frequency and information content:encoded of verbal responses. It is also hypothesized that proxy informants (nursing aides) will demonstrate significantly greater agreement with resident responses to quality of life ratings on post-ratings in the two experimental conditions when compared with ratings in the control condition. The significance of this study is that clinicians will have enhanced and reliable methods for determining quality of life and functional reading parameters in persons with moderate to severe dementia. If you would like to learn more about this study, please contact Dr. Bourgeois at or 614-293-1742.

New NIA-Funded Study of Exercise and Wound Healing in Older Adults

Older adult rding bicycleLed by Dr. Charles Emery, Professor of Psychology and Internal Medicine, researchers at OSU are conducting a new study funded by the National Institute of Aging, called the Stress, Activity, and Wound Healing (SAW) Study. Prior research has demonstrated that life stresses such as caregiving are associated with slower rates of wound healing in older adults. This new study will evaluate the effect of physical exercise on stress and wound healing in adults aged 55 to 85. Participants in the study will receive a free 12-week, 36-session (three sessions per week) physical activity program guided by a trained exercise physiologist.  Additionally, participants will be compensated up to $300 for completing four assessments during the 12-week program. Participants must be willing to have their blood drawn and to complete an exercise stress test during the 12-week study. In addition, all participants will receive a small, quarter-inch wound on the back of their upper arm to evaluate the rate of wound healing over the course of the 12-week study. All physical activity sessions will take place at the OSU Center for Wellness and Prevention. Free parking is provided for all study appointments. For further information, please call the Cardiopulmonary Behavioral Medicine Laboratory at (614) 688-3895.

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