Tag Archives: aging

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Reconciling a house divided

Karl PillemerLittle research has been conducted on understanding estrangement and reconciliation in families. Karl Pillemer's forthcoming book, Fault Lines:  Fractured Families and How to Mend Them, fills this void and is based on 10 years of his research from the Cornell Family Reconciliation Project.


Connecting Intelligence and Creativity to Improve Education

Robert Sternberg, professor of human development, discusses the intersection of his research on intelligence and creativity and its importance to education in an illuminating interview.


HD Honors the Academic Achievements of the 2020 Graduates

Although Commencement exercises for the Cornell Class of 2020 were canceled to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Human Development honored the academic achievements of this year's outstanding students with its highest awards.


Zoom is a new tool in the researcher's toolkit

Deanna Kocher, a graduate student in Tamar Kushnir's Early Childhood Cognition Lab, explains in a Cornell Sun article how the lab has been using Zoom to study how children interact with virtual robots.


Aging Differences in Decision Making May Contribute to Health Vulnerabilities

Corinna Loeckenhoff's research on decision making and lifestyle in older adults point to additional factors that contribute to health disparities and economic vulnerabilities. She discusses these factors in an article that appeared in The New York Times.


Discover recently added resources, including podcasts of interviews with HD faculty from HD Today e-NEWS Listen Notes playlists


Corinna Loeckenhoff

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the U.S., it has brought national attention to the impact the disease has had on the health of older adults. Dr. Corinna Loeckenhoff, professor of human development and director of the Cornell Healthy Aging Lab, "examines the role of time horizons, stressful life events, and social relationships across the life span in order to gain a holistic view of everyday decision making and its implications for life-long health." Wealth inequalities and health disparities are evident from differences between affluent older adults and those living in poverty and their access to health providers and services. Dr. Loeckenhoff's research on decision making and lifestyle in older adults point to additional factors that contribute to health disparities and economic vulnerabilities. She discusses these factors in an article that appeared in The New York Times.

Through their research and outreach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Development faculty are fulfilling the College of Human Ecology's mission to advance and improve the human experience.

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Anthony Burrow - Getting back on track in the age of COVID-19

As we determine what the new "normal" looks like during a pandemic, the uncertainties have increased stress and depression among those struggling to get their lives back on track. Anthony Burrow draws attention to the need for adequate mental health resources in response to this crisis.


Anthony Ong - Self Isolation and the potential for personal growth

Anthony Ong, professor of human development, has examined the emotional impacts of self isolation. He says while self isolation may intensify feelings of loneliness, it’s also an opportunity to connect virtually and learn from each other.


Karl Pillemer - Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on older adults

Karl PillemerKarl Pillemer addresses concerns facing older adults as a result of the spread of COVID-19 and predicts that the pandemic will radically alter the delivery of eldercare.


Valerie Reyna - Science and misinformation: Winning the battle for the gist

During the COVID-19 crisis, the public’s need for accurate scientific information is a matter of life and death.  Nevertheless, misinformation is plentiful and it competes with scientific information in what Valerie Reyna calls “a battle for the gist."


Qi Wang - Culture's role in the experience of social isolation during COVID-19

Qi Wang will lead a research team examining individual and cultural factors influencing the subjective experience of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic and its relation to psychological well-being.


Discover recently added resources, including podcasts of interviews with HD faculty from HD Today e-NEWS Listen Notes playlists


 

Karl Pillemer is Hazel E. Reed Professor in the College of Human Ecology’s Department of Human Development and professor of gerontology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. In this video, Dr. Pillemer addresses concerns facing older adults as a result of the pandemic. In a recent New York Times article, he predicts that the pandemic will radically alter the delivery of eldercare. Dr. Pillemer expects older adults will increasingly choose to remain in their own homes, rather than receive care in nursing homes, which currently house more than 1.5 million Americans. The alarming and disproportionate rate of mortality in nursing homes due to COVID-19 reflects the ease with which the virus spreads between carers and residents in close proximity and older adults' vulnerability to infection. Dr. Pillemer calls for a change in the design of nursing homes in the U.S. with a particular focus on private rooms. He also believes that seniors in nursing homes need to be included in discussions about restrictions on visits from family members. In addition to addressing infection risk within nursing homes, Dr. Pillemer and colleagues have written an op-ed for the Journal of the American Medicine Association, urging the inclusion of long-term care facilities in models of COVID-19 spread.

Despite this seemingly dire moment in American history, Dr. Pillemer believes we can draw strength from the wisdom of older adults who have endured equally challenging events in the past. In this podcast, he provides insight from his interviews with seniors as part of his Legacy Project that can inspire us during the COVID pandemic.

Journal article referenced in this story:

Pillemer, K., Subramanian, L., & Hupert, N. (2020). The Importance of Long-term Care Populations in Models of COVID-19. Jama. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.9540

Discover recently added resources, including podcasts of interviews with HD faculty from HD Today e-NEWS Listen Notes playlists. Also, read the evidence-based review of the Nurse-Family Partnership Program, and watch Karl Pillemer's training webinar on elder-to-elder mistreatment research and interventions in our Resources section of the drop-down menu.

 

 

HD TODAY e-NEWS: Insights from Human Development's Research & Outreach

HD TODAY e-NEWS is a quarterly digest of cutting-edge research from the Department of Human Development, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University. Explore the HD Today e-NEWS website at http://hdtoday.human.cornell.edu/ and discover a wide range of resources:

Resident-to-Resident Elder Mistreatment in Nursing Homes: Findings from the First Prevalence Study

This webinar, hosted by Consumer Voice in collaboration with the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), discusses resident-to-resident mistreatment and how to prevent and respond to these incidents.

Dr. Karl Pillemer, Director, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Hazel E. Reed Professor in the Department of Human Development, Professor of Gerontology in Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College, shared findings, recommendations, and best practices from his research regarding the prevalence of resident-to-resident elder mistreatment in nursing facilities. Consumer Voice staff shared information and resources to help increase awareness of these incidents and demonstrate how individualized care is critical in preventing and responding to resident-to-resident mistreatment.

The slides for this webinar can be downloaded as a PDF.

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Additional Resources

Brochure for Consumers on Resident Mistreatment

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This brochure (and large font fact sheet), a product produced by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care in collaboration with the National Center on Elder Abuse, identifies mistreatment, shares information about an individual’s rights, and offers resources where they can seek help. The brochure and large font fact sheet can be purchased in bulk from the Consumer Voice store.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Advocacy: Resident-to-Resident Aggression (Technical Assistance Brief)

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Resident-to-resident aggression is a serious issue that has a significant negative impact on all residents involved, but incidents are often not reported and investigated. The purpose of this brief is to provide an overview of resident-to-resident aggression in order to assist Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) programs in effectively responding to complaints involving resident-to-resident aggression, as well as help prevent RRA and reduce the prevalence of these incidents. Click here to view the brief.

Hebrew Home at Riverdale- Research Division R-REM Online Training

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Elaine Wethington elected fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

Elaine Wethington is elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. Dr. Wethington is recognized for distinguished contributions to medical sociology.


Aging stereotypes are bad for older adults' health

Corinna Loeckenhoff says that shifting stereotypes is no simple feat. People develop their views on aging when they are toddlers, but they also change based on experience. Unfortunately, negative beliefs are often built on inaccurate impressions.


Combating loneliness important for a healthy, long life

Research has found that loneliness is a known risk factor for cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, disability and depression. Anthony Ong urges addressing the direct, indirect, and moderated effects of social isolation and loneliness on health.


Access Cornell Race and Empathy Project online

Since its launch in September 2016, the Cornell Race and Empathy Project has recorded, archived and shared the everyday stories of Cornellians that evoke racial empathy. To continue fostering the ability to identify and understand the feelings of someone of a different background, the project has evolved into an online presence.


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John Eckenrode - What is translational research?

John Eckenrode

John Eckenrode and Karl Pillemer discuss the origins of translational research, and how it differs from "basic" and "applied" research. There are some examples of translational research projects and throughout the conversation they touch on why this research method is so effective and more and more in-demand by funders, policymakers and practitioners.


STUDENTS IN THE NEWS

The Human Development Graduate Program - an interview with Tamar Kushnir's students

Three of Tamar Kushnir's graduate students--Teresa Flanagan, Alyssa Varhol, and Alice Xin Zhao--reflect on what led them to work with Dr. Kushnir and enroll in the Department of Human Development Graduate Program.


 

thehindu.com, Age well: attitudes matter in a greying world, June 14, 2018, by Jim Rendon and Olumfemi Terry.

Healthy ageing has become increasingly important, but a WHO analysis found that 60% of people surveyed across 57 countries had negative views of old age.

At 85, Claude Copin, a retired French welder, may have discovered a secret to living a long, healthy life. She stays active by playing a petanque game with friends in a Paris park. And she has made friends with her teammates’ children, many of whom are teenagers. They take her to parties and movies — sometimes forgetting that she might need a rest before they do.

“I make my life beautiful,” says Ms. Copin. “I am still healthy because I have activities and I meet people.”

Ms. Copin is right. A growing body of research and global data collected and analysed by Orb Media shows a strong connection between how we view old age and how well we age. Individuals with a positive attitude towards old age are likely to live longer and in better health than those with a negative attitude. Older people in countries with low levels of respect for the elderly are at risk for worse mental and physical health and higher levels of poverty compared with others in their country. A shift in attitude, the research shows, could improve a lot.

Healthy ageing is increasingly important: countries everywhere outside Africa are rapidly growing older. If population trends continue, by 2050 nearly one out of five people in the world will be over 65, and close to half a billion will be older than 80. Smaller, young populations will have to care for large, older populations with increasingly expensive health care needs.

Surprisingly, in a world brimming with older people, negative views of old age are common. A World Health Organization analysis found that 60% of people surveyed across 57 countries had negative views of old age. Older people are often viewed as less competent and less able than younger people. They are considered a burden on society and their families, rather than being recognised for their valuable knowledge, wisdom and experience.

Orb Media compiled data from over 1,50,000 people in 101 countries to learn about their levels of respect for older people. Pakistan was among the countries that scored the highest.

Respect for older people is a long-standing tradition in Pakistan, says Faiza Mushtaq, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, Pakistan. But as more people move to cities, traditional family structures are being disrupted, making it harder to care for elders. Without a government safety net, many older people fall into severe poverty, she says.

Nonetheless, there are tangible benefits to the way elders are viewed, says Ms. Mushtaq. “This attitude towards ageing is a much healthier embrace of the ageing process, rather than having all of your notions of well-being and attractiveness and self-worth being tied so closely to youth,” she says.

Japan, with the world’s longest lifespans and low birth rates, is at the leading edge of this global demographic shift. There Orb found low levels of respect for the elderly. Kozo Ishitobi, an 82-year-old nursing home physician, says that older people were traditionally seen as a burden.

“Japanese people are starting to realise that elderly people need support,” he says. “We all go through it, so we should support each other.”

Broad implications

It turns out that one’s attitude towards ageing has broad implications. Becca Levy, a Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health in the United States, has been fascinated by the power of age stereotypes for decades. She started her work in the 1990s with a hunch. If older people are respected in society, perhaps that improves their self-image.

“That may in turn actually influence their physiology and that may influence their health,” says Ms. Levy.

Over the past two-and-a-half decades, Ms. Levy, the leader in the field, and the researchers that followed have found just that: those with positive views about old age live longer and age better. They are less likely to be depressed or anxious, and they show increased well-being and recover more quickly from disability. They also are less likely to develop dementia and the markers of Alzheimer’s disease. In one study, Ms. Levy found that Americans with more positive views on ageing who were tracked over decades lived 7.5 years longer than those with negative views. Studies in Germany and Australia have found similar results.

“Some of the magnitudes of the findings have been surprising,” says Ms. Levy.

Orb’s research and analysis found that these effects can also be seen across cultures. Older people in countries with high levels of respect for the elderly report better mental and physical well-being compared with other groups in their countries, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations and others. Those countries also report lower rates of poverty among people over 50 compared with younger people in each country. It seems too simple: How can holding a better attitude towards old age help someone live longer? Ms. Levy found that people with negative age stereotypes have higher levels of stress. And stress has been correlated with a range of health problems. Those who expect a better life in old age are also more likely to exercise, eat well and visit the doctor, says Ms. Levy.

That has been the case for 57-year-old Marta Nazare Balbine Prates who moved her family into her parents’ home in Sao Paulo, Brazil a decade ago. She had to quit her job as a nutritionist at a hospital to care for them (her father passed away at the beginning of the year). It has been hard financially and emotionally. But, she says, the experience has made her think about the kind of life she wants when she is older.

“I try to watch what I eat. I work out as much as possible,” she says, “so I can reach old age in good physical condition.”

An achievement

We should be grateful that we are even concerned about growing old, says Marilia Viana Berzins. She has worked with the elderly in Brazil for 20 years and founded the advocacy group, Observatory of Human Longevity and Aging. “Old age is actually an achievement,” she says. “It’s humanity’s biggest achievement of the last century.”

But, Ms. Berzins says, in Brazil old age has become associated with incapacity. “When we change this mindset and old age is seen like just a stage of life, we’ll move forward,” she says. “And the elderly will be treated with more respect.”

Shifting stereotypes is no simple feat. People develop their views on ageing when they are toddlers, says Corinna Loeckenhoff, an Associate Professor of Gerontology in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, who has studied age stereotypes across cultures. But they also change based on experience. Unfortunately, negative beliefs are often built on inaccurate impressions.

Corinna Loeckenhoff

As people grow older, their health usually remains stable until about five years before they die, says Ms. Loeckenhoff. Only then will most people experience the mental and physical decline most associated with old age. “People keep mixing up ageing and dying,” she says.

Some research shows that increasing meaningful contact between young and older people can break down negative stereotypes. For the past five years, the Résidence des Orchidées, a nursing home in Tourcoing, France, has tried to do just that. Every week, the home brings children from a neighbouring daycare centre to visit the residents. Pierre Vieren, a 91-year-old retired business owner, loves seeing the children.

“When I went to my balcony, the children said ‘Pierre, he is here,’” he says. “They all wave at me to say hello. That is my little ray of sunshine in the morning.”

The nursing home’s director, Dorothee Poignant, says the experience normalises old age for the children. “It recreates a family spirit with joy, children laughing, older people laughing,” she says.

“We don’t only have elderly, we have children, elderly, disabled people. It’s inclusive.”

Everyone can gain from improving ideas about old age, says Ms. Loeckenhoff. “The single-most important thing to realise about ageing stereotypes is that they are the only fair ones,” she says. “You will be the victim of your own stereotype, or the beneficiary as you get older.”

(Access full report at Orbmedia.org/agewell)

FEATURES

Charles Brainerd to receive G. Stanley Hall Award

Charles Brainerd, professor of human development and human neuroscience, will receive the American Psychological Association’s G. Stanley Hall award for distinguished contributions to developmental science at the APA’s August 2019 meeting in San Francisco.


Assisted-living is better when family and staff communicate

Karl Pillemer, the Hazel E. Reed Professor in Human Development and senior associate dean for research and outreach in the College of Human Ecology, has developed the Partners in Caregiving in Assisted Living Program (PICAL)  to reduce staff-family conflict in assisted living facilities.


Institute for the Social Sciences grant awarded to bethany ojalheto

The Institute for the Social Sciences (ISS) grants awards to faculty to develop new research or seek external funding. bethany ojalehto received funding for her project, "Cognitive Drivers of Environmental Decision Making: Mobilizing Indigenous Ecocentric Conceptual Perspectives in Diverse Contexts."


Our brains are wired to earn money, but not save it

Adam Anderson and Eve De Rosa recently studied why it is hard for people to save money. They found that when people were given the choice, over 90% of the time they chose earning money to saving it. They discuss how our brains may be hard-wired for earning and that saving requires more conscious effort.


Teens old for their grade more likely to enroll in college

Felix Thoemmes uses math models to better understand why high school students who are old for their grade are more likely to enroll in college than students who are young. The article discusses how the age at which one starts school has implications for each student as well as for the class as a whole.


MULTIMEDIA

Robert Sternberg and the Triangular Theory of Love

Robert Sternberg was interviewed on October 9, 2018 for the podcastWhat Makes Us Human?from Cornell University's College of Arts & Sciences. This is the podcast's third season, "What Do We Know About Love?" and Dr. Sternberg discusses his "Triangular Theory of Love."