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Office of Geriatrics and Interprofessional Aging Studies

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November is National Family Caregiver Month

National Family Caregiver Month is organized annually by the National Family Caregivers Association as a time each year to thank, support, educate and empower family caregivers. November is also National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and one thing most caregivers realize, no matter the disease situation that has prompted caregiver duties, is that the demands of caregiving and the required balancing of duties can be quite overwhelming at times. If you are a caregiver for a loved one, you may want to travel to the national Alzheimer’s Association’s web site and learn more about the “Lotsa Helping Hands” free private group calendar that is intended to help caregivers, friends, family members and other volunteers coordinate the dates and times when they will help with caregiving duties, such as preparing meals, providing rides or running errands. You may find this to be a valuable on-line social networking tool to enhance your support network and empower you in your role as caregiver.

Changing the Paradigm of Care

UA Fire Engine A pilot test program in the City of Upper Arlington, called Stay UA (Services to Age in Your Upper Arlington), is proving to be a proactive approach that bridges the gap between the health care, social services and long-term care systems by coordinating care and connecting residents with appropriate community-based supportive services to foster “aging in place” and prevent future emergency situations. Stay UA, through a service coordinator who is a member of the Upper Arlington Fire Division, identifies fragile residents (older adults and residents with disabilities) and links them with supportive services and service providers who can assist them to safely and successfully age in place. The program is responsive in that the service coordinator, representing the Fire Division, is involved during or shortly after emergency calls, most often resulting in the resident being receptive to interventions due to the follow-up role with the Fire Division. Stay UA discovers the needs, matches the resident’s needs with available community services, makes the referral, and relies on community providers to then provide appropriate services to the residents. The pilot test is a collaboration between the City and InCare/National Church Residences, funded by the Reverend John R. Glenn Foundation for the period April 2009 through March 2010. Ongoing funding and operational strategies are being considered following the pilot test period. During the pilot test period, a broad base of collaborative support has been received from the Upper Arlington Commission on Aging, Northwest Counseling, the Upper Arlington Senior Center and Senior Association, the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce, Trinity United Methodist Church, First Community Church, the Alzheimer’s Association of Central Ohio, the American Association of Service Coordinators, the Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology and the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University. It is believed the Stay UA program is one of the first formalized Service Coordination programs associated with first responders – Fire/EMS. Interest in replicating the program has been expressed by several other city and township fire departments in Ohio. The Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology has been actively involved in the development of this program, along with the many other community partners listed above. For more information contact Linda Mauger at 614-293-8031 or Mauger.10@osu.edu.

Call For Papers - OAGE Conference

The 34th Annual Ohio Professional and Student Conference on Aging will be convened by the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education on March 26, 2010, at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.  The theme of this year's conference is Bridging Gerontological Research and Practice: The State of Translational Research in Ohio. The Call for Papers has been issued with a submission deadline of January 15, 2010.  Acceptable formats include papers, workshops, symposia and posters.  Submissions related to the conference theme are encouraged. Cash awards will be given for the outstanding student paper in each of the following categories:
  • Jermome Kaplan Award for best graduate student paper.
  • Arnedia Smith Award for the best undergraduate student paper.
  • Outstanding Student Paper on conference theme.
All students interested in aging studies are encouraged to attend this conference.  See the Call For Papers for additional details.

Research on Access to Health Care and Social Services by the Gay and Lesbian Community

Shawn KingShawn King, doctoral student in the College of Social Work and recipient of the National Association of Social Workers Jane B. Aaron Dissertation Fellowship, with the support of his chair Dr. Virginia Richardson, has just completed his dissertation study of midlife and older gay men and their utilization of health care and mental health services.  Older gay men and lesbians, out of fear of discrimination, are five times less likely to access health care and social services.  Researchers have found that 51% to 82% of lesbians and gay men do not disclose their sexual orientation to health and social service providers. A sample of 260 participants was obtained from gay choruses and an older gay men’s social group called the Prime Timers. The goals of this study were to understand whether enabling factors, including income, education, and support from friends, family, and community influenced service use.  The psychosocial stress factors including stigma, discrimination, and internalized homophobia, and individual health coping factors including internal health locus of control and resiliency were included in the analysis. The results found that community support and resiliency were significant influencing factors for mental health service use.  For physical health visits, support from friends was found to significantly influence health care service use as well as the increase in internalized homophobia.  Discrimination was found to influence physical health visits inversely; as discrimination increased physical health visits decreased.  Overwhelmingly the sample had disclosed their sexual orientation to both their health care and mental health providers.  However, it was only found to be statistically significant in mental health service use. Mental health distress was found to influence both physical and mental health service use, which highlights the importance of health care practitioners and social workers understanding this connection, along with the effects of discrimination which has negative implications for physical health visits. The outcomes of this study provide a starting point to better understand those midlife and older gay men who face marginalization and it highlights the importance of support from friends.  The promotion of more effective interventions and policy changes that increase community support within health care service settings for midlife and older gay men will increase the health and well-being of this population. Read more about Shawn’s research….

Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Aging

If you are a graduate or professional student at Ohio State who would like to serve the older population in your professional pursuits, please consider the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Aging in combination with your graduate or professional degree. The research projects highlighted in this newsletter were completed by Specialization in Aging graduates Lindsay Skomrock and Shawn King.  We hope you will consider joining them and a long list of students who have gained the benefits of research and educational opportunities in aging that accompanied completion of the Specialization in Aging. Learn more about the Specialization in Aging at http://ogg.osu.edu or by contacting Linda Mauger at 614-293-8031 or mauger.10@osu.edu.

Join Us in Welcoming Dr. Guibin Li to Ohio State

Dr. Li joined the Division of General Internal Medicine at The Ohio State University Medical Center in October, 2009, where she will focus her medical practice on the care of older adults. Dr. Li has a special interest in caring for patients and families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. She received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Kansas and her M.D. from Hebei Medical College, Shijiazhuang, in Hebei, P.R. China. Dr. Li completed her Geriatric fellowship training at the University of Michigan, her Internal Medicine Residency training at Mt Carmel Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio and her Pediatric Residency training at The Second Affiliated Hospital, at Heibei Medical College, China. In addition, Dr. Li has an extensive research background in Alzheimer’s disease, and is published in a number of publications and journals. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Along with her clinical practice, Dr. Li is teaching the Issues and Trends in Aging course as part of the Sage Series from the Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology.

Sage Series Fully Enrolled

The current Sage Series (Series in Applied Gerontology Education) is enjoying the participation of 24 students, which is a full class given that the Sage courses are normally capped at 20 students.  Sage is a three-course distance learning program of The Ohio State University which provides continuing education and training in the field of aging.  All students successfully completing SAGE receive a Certificate of Completion in Gerontology from The Ohio State University. This enrollment speaks well for the interest in aging education shared by many.  As we complete the third course in the Series, Issues and Trends in Aging, during Fall quarter, we invite others to learn more about Sage at http://sage.osu.edu and to plan for their participation in the 2010 Series, which begins on March 29, 2010.  It's never to early to register for Sage.  Just follow the Registration link on the Sage web site. If you have questions, please call Linda Mauger at 614-293-8031.  We hope you will plan to join us.

Study of Changes in Color Vision and Effect on Taking Medication Published

Lindsay SkomrockLindsay Skomrock, a doctoral student in the College of Pharmacy, recently had her thesis accepted for publication in The Consultant Pharmacist. The title of her thesis was "Simulating Age-Related Changes in Color Vision to Assess the Ability of Older Adults to Take Medication."  Her advisor was Dr. Virginia Richardson in the College of Social Work.  Congratulations to Lindsay for getting her work published in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, and also for her completion of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Aging! Lindsay's objective was to determine if simulated age-related changes in color vision can adversely affect one's ability to properly take medication.  It was a randomized control study involving university students aged 18-26 without eye disorders that would affect color vision.  Yellow-lens glasses were used to represent age-related color vision changes. The main outcome measures were the number of correct beads (simulated pills) selected and rating of task difficulty.  The secondary outcomes were participants' responses based on what colors and color pairs were most difficult to discern and strategies they might have used to select beads. The control group had no difficulties in selecting the appropriate beads while the experimental group had significantly more mistakes, particularly with colors in the blue-violet spectrum.  Average scores for the total number correct for the control and experimental groups were 36 (100%) and 27 (74.4%), respectively, out of a possible 36 correct. Conclusion:  Declines in color vision with age can adversely affect people's abilities to appropriately select medications.  For patients taking several medications, declines in color vision should be considered when counseling older persons on strategies for compliance.  Although more studies are still needed to further generalize these findings to the geriatric population, this study has shown color vision can adversely affect medication compliance. For more information please contact Lindsay K. Skomrock, BS, Pharm.D. Candidate Class of 2010, College of Pharmacy, The Ohio State University, at skomrock.2@osu.edu.

The Role of the Nurse In Culture Change

This is a special edition of Aging News at The Ohio State University to announce an upcoming event on culture change in long-term care that you, your students and/or staff may be interested in attending.  Culture change is a movement that is gaining recognition and momentum in the delivery of person-centered care in nursing homes and assited living communities across the country.  You can learn more about culture change by visiting the Eden Alternative and the Pioneer Network or Googling "Culture Change in Long-Term Care" for a glimpse of the many active culture change initiatives. Locally, Westminster-Thurber Community is hosting “The Role of the Nurse in Culture Change,” presented by Skilled Care Pharmacy, Senior Resources Alliance, Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Service, and AOPHA. This exciting event features Susan Misiorski and Cean Eppelheimer – leading authorities in culture change!  Their presentation is designed to explore the opportunities, barriers, and solutions surrounding the role of nursing in culture change.  Participants at the event will gain a better understanding of how the core tenets of nursing are compatible with the goals of culture change.  Please see the event invitation and feel free to pass this announcement along to colleagues you feel might have an interest in attending. Details of the Event Date and Time: November 4, 2009 -- 9:00 am – 3:00 pm Cost: $49.00 per person with a Special rate of $20.00 for students Location: Westminster Thurber Community (Auditorium), 717 Neil Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43215 Breakfast will be served at 8:30 am. Five (5) CEUs are available for Nurses and Administrators. If you have additional questions or would like to register, please contact Lauren Mathis at (614) 228-8888, ext. 202. Watch for the fall quarter edition of Aging News at The Ohio State University in early November.

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