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Overcoming older African Americans’ reluctance to participate as research subjects

Myra Sabir, Assistant Professor of Human DevelopmentMyra Sabir, former Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center postdoctoral fellow and assistant director, is the primary author of a recent article in The Journal of Aging Studies on the difficulties of recruiting older African Americans as research subjects. The BCTR's Karl Pillemer is co-author.

The paper's abstract:

Well-known trust-building methods are routinely used to recruit and retain older African Americans into scientific research studies, yet the quandary over how to overcome this group's hesitance to participate in research remains. We present two innovative and testable methods for resolving the dilemma around increasing older African Americans' participation in scientific research studies. Certain specific and meaningful experiential similarities between the primary researcher and the participants, as well as clear recognition of the elders' worth and dignity, improved older African Americans' willingness to adhere to a rigorous research design. Steps taken in an intervention study produced a potentially replicable strategy for achieving strong results in recruitment, retention and engagement of this population over three waves of assessment. Sixty-two (n = 62) older African Americans were randomized to treatment and control conditions of a reminiscence intervention. Sensitivity to an African American cultural form of respect for elders (recognition of worth and dignity), and intersections between the lived experience of the researcher and participants helped dispel this population's well-documented distrust of scientific research. Results suggest that intentional efforts to honor the worth and dignity of elders through high level hospitality and highlighting meaningful experiential similarities between the researcher and the participants can improve recruitment and retention results. Experiential similarities, in particular, may prove more useful to recruitment and retention than structural similarities such as age, race, or gender, which may not in themselves result in the trust experiential similarities elicit.

An intensely sympathetic awareness: Experiential similarity and cultural norms as means for gaining older African Americans' trust of scientific research - Journal of Aging Studies

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: African Americans    aging    article    Karl Pillemer    research   

Boomers pioneer new retirement housing trends

Elaine WethingtonA recent article on Yahoo! Finance reports that, according to the National Association of Home Builders, almost one fourth of remodelers surveyed last year were doing work so that boomers could age in place. The BCTR's Elaine Wethington, co-director of the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life, was quoted in the article,

For many, the desire to age in place stems from the difficulty boomers have had in caring for their own elderly parents who lived far away. Such long-distance relationships have left many adult children feeling “stressed and powerless,” says Elaine Wethington, a sociology professor who directs the Translational Research on Aging Center at Cornell University. By remaining close to their own kids, boomers are hoping to make things easier as they age.

Boomers pioneer new retirement housing trends - Yahoo! Finance

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: aging    Elaine Wethington    housing    media mention    retirement   

A new approach to managing arthritis pain

Tags: aging,   Cary Reid,   Emily Chen,   health,   Karl Pillemer,   media mention,   TRIPLL,  

Karl Pillemer

Karl Pillemer

Although they had developed a program that was proven to help people manage arthritis pain, Cornell researchers found that participants were having trouble attending all of the training sessions. In a recent Cornell Chronicle article, the BCTR's Karl Pillemer, co-director of  the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL), described the disconnect:

Effective health programs may not reach people who need them due to factors such as culture, language, age or income, but changing programs to meet the needs of new target populations can make a dramatic difference.

To figure out ways to ensure better attendance, researchers Cary Reid, Karl Pillemer, and their colleagues met with community practitioners, arthritis sufferers, and program instructors. They ultimately incorporated over 30 suggested changes to create new guidelines for implementing the program. Results of the study were published in the Musculoskeletal Journal of the Hospital for Special Surgery this February.  Measuring the Value of Program Adaptation: A Comparative Effectiveness Study of the Standard and a Culturally Adapted Version of the Arthritis Self-Help Program was also co-authored by BCTR graduate research assistant Emily Chen, Cornell senior research associate Charles Henderson, and Samantha Parker of Tulane University School of Medicine. The study was partially funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research and the National Institute on Aging. Adapted arthritis program boosts participation - Cornell Chronicle

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: aging    Cary Reid    Emily Chen    health    Karl Pillemer    media mention    TRIPLL   

Video from the 2013 Bronfenbrenner Conference now online

front row: Carstensen, Mather, Tsai, Ong, Loeckenhoff; back row: Mroczek, Riediger, Zautra, Kubzansky, Bonanno, Charles, Anderson, Urry.

front row: Carstensen, Mather, Tsai, Ong, Loeckenhoff; back row: Mroczek, Riediger, Zautra, Kubzansky, Bonanno, Charles, Anderson, Urry.

The Fourth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference on New Developments in Aging, Emotion, and Health was held October 3-4, 2013 on Cornell campus. The event brought together national and international experts to examine the ways emotions change and impact health in new ways as people age. The conference was organized by Corinna Loeckenhoff, assistant professor, and  Anthony Ong, associate professor, both of the Department of Human Development.

The conference aimed to close the gap between two burgeoning fields of research at the intersection of aging, emotion, and health. On the one hand, recent advances in affective science have documented systematic age differences in emotional processing, affective experience, and affect regulation. Although researchers are beginning to explore the neural, cognitive, and motivational mechanisms behind such effects, their contributions to later-life health and well-being are not fully understood. On the other hand, research on the psychobiology of health and disease has provided growing evidence for the role of psychosocial factors (e.g., mental health, positive and negative emotionality) in physical health. Specific pathways including biological and behavioral mechanisms are beginning to emerge, but their potential for yielding answers to developmental questions involving intraindividual variability and change has yet to be realized. To integrate these lines of inquiry, the conference convened leaders in the respective fields for two days of intense dialogue aimed at setting the stage for transformative future research.

Adam K. Anderson

Adam K. Anderson

A book with chapters by the presenting academics will be published by the American Psychological Association as part of the Bronfenbrenner Series on the Ecology of Human Development. Earlier volumes in this series, resulting from past Bronfenbrenner Conferences, are Chaos and Its Influence on Children's Development: An Ecological Perspective, Research for the Public Good: Applying Methods of Translational Research to Improve Human Health and Well-being, and, upcoming from the 2011 Bronfenbrenner Conference, The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making.

Presentations at New Developments in Aging, Emotion, and Health were:

Conference program

Overview page of all videos from the conference

Experts explore roots of healthy aging - Cornell Chronicle

The Fourth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference was sponsored by the Cornell University Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, the Cornell University Institute for the Social Sciences, the Scientific Research Network on Decision Neuroscience and Aging (R24-AG039350), the Cornell University Department of Human Development, Mrs. Constance F. Ferris, and Mrs. Liese Bronfenbrenner.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: aging    Bronfenbrenner Conference    emotions    media mention    neuroscience    video   

BCTR co-sponsored talk: Linda Waite, Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tags: aging,  

Reconceptualizing Health Among Older Adults: Expanding the Medical Model
Linda Waite, University of Chicago

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
1:15 PM - 2:45 PM
153 MVR Hall

Contemporary medicine is organized around diseases of particular organ systems such as the cardiovascular system (heart disease) or energy metabolism (diabetes). This model tends to ignore health behaviors, cognition, mental health, physical functioning, and sensory systems. We ask in this project how a categorization of the health of older adults looks under the medical model and how it differs under an expanded definition of health. We use a rich and varied set of indicators of dimensions of health to paint a detailed picture of the health of older adults and to define classes of older adults by their constellations of health characteristics. We do this first using the medical model of organ system dyregulation and then using the richer set of dimensions. We find that very different health classes of older adult emerge under the two models. We then predict subsequent health events using class membership and find it to be a powerful predictor. In addition, some previously unrecognized early indicators of later poor health appear, and other indicators thought to be strong predictors of future health declines show themselves to be fairly benign or even positive.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Cornell Population Center, the Department of Policy Analysis & Management, and the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research.

Linda Waite is Lucy Flower Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago. She is Principal Investigator of The National Social Life, Health and Aging Study (NSHAP). She is co-author, with Frances Goldscheider, of New Families, No Families?: The Transformation of the American Home (University of California Press, 1991), winner of the Duncan Award from the American Sociological Association. She is also author, with Maggie Gallagher, of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially (Doubleday, 2000), which won the 2000 Outstanding Book Award from the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education. She is past President of the Population Association of America and recipient of a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging. Her current research focuses on the link between social connections, social isolation and health at older ages.

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Chen admitted to RAND Summer Institute

Tags: aging,   Emily Kahoe Chen,  

Emily Chen has been admitted to the prestigious RAND Summer Institute (RSI) this year. The RSI consists of two annual conferences that address critical issues facing the aging population: the Mini-Medical School for Social Scientists and the Demography, Economics, Psychology, and Epidemiology of Aging conference. Both conferences convene at the RAND Corporation headquarters in Santa Monica, California. The conferences are sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.

Emily Chen is a Ph.D. candidate in Human Development and a research assistant to Karl Pillemer. Her primary research focus is on issues related to palliative and end of life care, including how family life and health events may lead to advance care planning for older adults. She is currently collaborating with Dr. Pillemer on a multi-year study of knowledge gaps in palliative care that utilizes interdisciplinary samples of researchers and practitioners to propose a research agenda for the field.

The RSI will give her the opportunity to improve her understanding of the patient experience that results from the most common conditions in older adults. Chen's current knowledge about health and medical care for older adults is largely centered on the psychosocial experience of patients and caregivers. The RSI approaches these topics from a biomedical perspective, which will expand her understanding of them.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: aging    Emily Kahoe Chen   

Dementia and antipsychotic medicine: A new review

"One in three senior citizens suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia when they die, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Often patients with dementia have behavioral problems such as agitation, aggression, anxiety and depression. Many times, doctors prescribe antipsychotic medications to control these problems. But their effectiveness is limited and there is concern about side effects, including higher mortality rates with long-term use."

Read more on the Evidence-Based Living blog:

Dementia and antipsychotic medicine: A new review

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: aging    dementia    Evidence-Based Living   

Wethington presents to media on the risks to elders during natural disasters

photo by Blaine Friedlander

Seniors are more susceptible to injury and death during natural disasters due to mobility problems, sensitivity to pollutants, and social isolation, among other issues. BCTR associate director Elaine Wethington (professor of human development) presented "Aging in the Age of Climate Change" to a group of journalists at the ILR Conference Center in NYC on March 5th. Wethington is part of the Cornell Aging and the Environment Initiative, which works to raise awareness among older people about environmental issues and to examine the impact of aging on the environment.

Natural disasters are especially hard on seniors, experts say - Cornell Chronicle

Video of Dr. Wethington's talk on Cornell Cast

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: aging    Elaine Wethington    media mention    natural disaster    social isolation    video   

Karl Pillemer discusses “30 Lessons for Living” on The PBS News Hour

January 5, 2012, The PBS News Hour aired an interview with BCTR affiliate Karl Pillemer in which he discusses his new book, 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans.  Given our current state of war and economic recession, Pillemer believes it's an ideal time to look to the wisdom of America's elders, "the truest experts on living through hard times."  30 Lessons for Living presents the stories and advice systematically gathered in The Legacy Project. The full interview can be viewed here.

Karl Pillemer is Hazel E. Reed Professor in the Department of Human Development; Professor of Gerontology in Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College; Director of the Cornell Legacy Project; and Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach, College of Human Ecology.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: aging    book    Cornell Legacy Project    interview    Karl Pillemer    video   

2010 Bronfenbrenner Lecture, Saturday, September 21, 2019

2010 Bronfenbrenner Lecture View Media

2010 Bronfenbrenner Lecture

Exploring a Biopsychosocial Model of Cumulative Risk
March 15, 2010

Teresa Seeman
Schools of Medicine and Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles

Tags: aging,   Bronfenbrenner Lecture,   health,   risk,   Teresa Seeman,   video,  

Exploring a Biopsychosocial Model of Cumulative Risk
March 15, 2010

Teresa Seeman
Schools of Medicine and Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: aging    Bronfenbrenner Lecture    health    risk    Teresa Seeman    video