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Research

 

Systemic Innovations for Serving the Needs of Older Adults 

With the support of the Archstone Foundation, SCAN and the American Gold Star Manor, the College of Health and Human Services is committed to serving the needs of an aging population by going beyond the traditional academic arena to do the following:

  1. Engage communities in identifying issues and solutions

  2. Incorporate the voices of older adults and their friends and families

  3. Work with community organizations in the design and implementation of solutions

With the financial support of each of the three partners, named above, we are funding faculty teams to work with the community members to identify and address the most pressing needs of older adults. The goal is to facilitate aging in place at the American Gold Star Manor. To date, we have funded four innovative projects to work with older adults at the Manor. We prioritize and support Gold Star Manor residents to age in place with the highest quality of life. The projects are also a way to foster interprofessional collaboration among faculty at the university and train students from across diverse fields to work effectively with an aging population. Please browse the drop downs below for more information on the faculty lead research within this initiative. 

A MULTI-MODAL EXERCISE INTERVENTION TO ENHANCE WALKING ABILITY, PHYSICAL FUNCTION, CARDIOMETABOLIC HEALTH, AND QUALITY OF LIFE 

Dr. Scott Ducharme from Kinesiology and his colleagues were granted funding in the spring 2022 to implement a the 10-week MEFit exercise intervention established by the LifeFit Center, and used for the past 6 years to help the older adults in the Long Beach community who are LifeFit members. MEFit is a multi-modal program consisting of muscular fitness, cardiovascular, balance, and flexibility components. It incorporates all critical components of general physical health and specifically fall risk reduction.  The intervention occurs 3 times/week, with each session lasting 1 hour. Within each session, the general structure includes: warm-up (7 min), strength training (20 min), cardiovascular training (15 min), balance training (10 min), and flexibility/cool-down (8 min). Its evaluation will provide insight into the potential benefits of this intervention, including improvements to walking ability, physical function, and QoL, in a different demographic segment of the older adult population than would usually have access.

Connecting Seniors to their Community through Walking 

A Purposeful Design for Older Adults: Connecting Seniors to their Community through Walking (CSCW)

 

man on hikeLimitations to physical activity participation for older adults have many detrimental effects, including decreased connectivity with the community and poorer health. To increase community connectedness, physical activity levels, and walking self-efficacy of American Gold Star Manor (AGSM) residents, the CSCW Program worked with residents, the City of Long Beach, and co-investigators to research and develop 8 intentionally designed monthly walking paths throughout the city for Long Beach seniors through a participatory process with Gold Star residents. As part of the process, we conducted a PhotoVoice research project tailored at understanding the unique needs of walking solutions for older adults in Long Beach, CA.  Each monthly walk had an educational theme (e.g., heart disease prevention and exercises to improve walking ability).  Student research staff who lead the walk provided educational information about that health-related topic (e.g., how walking lowers the risk of heart disease) as well as information about what programs and resources the community offers for older adults interested in that health-related topic. The monthly walks also included visits to local businesses and/or sites (e.g., Long Beach Museum of Art) that offer experiences specifically tailored to them. The impact of the CSCW project is currently being assessed with one publication demonstrating its effectiveness in connecting the older adults to their community: Walters, K., Marshall, M., Wilkinson, A. N., & Natividad, M. D. (2021). An Intentionally Designed Walking Program for Seniors Results in Enhanced Community Connection. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 1(aop), 1-10.

Presentations:

1. Natividad, D., Wilkinson, A., Walters, K., Marshal, M. & Durke, D. (2019, October) Effectiveness of an Eight-Month Walking Program on Meeting the Social and Physical Needs of Community Dwelling Older Adults at the South West American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, Newport, CA.

2. Durke, D., & Walters, K. A. (2019, June) Assessing the Health Needs of Older Adults Living in an Underserved Urban Community. Poster session presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL.

3. Marshall, M., Walters, K. A., Harrel, K., Lunde, N., & Wilkinson, Alexandra. (2019, April). Connecting Seniors to Their Community Through Walking: A PhotoVoice Exploration. California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics Conference, La Verne, CA.

4. Walters, K. (2019, October 17) "Connecting Seniors to Their Community-Results of a Monthly Walking (CSCW) Program." CSA Colloquium.

5. Natividad, M. *, Wilkinson, A. *, Walters, K. A., Marshall, M., & Durke, D. * (2019, October). Effectiveness of an eight-month walking program on meeting the social and physical needs of community dwelling older adults. Poster presented at the South West American College of Sports Medicine Conference, Newport, CA.

For more information contact Dr. Kellie Walters, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology Department.
Email: kellie.walters@csulb.edu

 

Fall Risk Reduction in Community-Dwelling Older Adults 

Project Title:  Multicomponent Dual-Task and Single-Task Interventions to Reduce Risk of Falling in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

 

Walking GroupFalls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries and financial burden among Americans aged 65 and older. Falls can also have serious psychological consequences such as fear of falling. Many older adults who experience a fear of falling limit daily activities creating further impairment in balance and reduction of muscle strength. Although many older adults feel that falls are unpredictable and unpreventable, a considerable amount of research for more than 20 years has demonstrated the effectiveness of group balance exercise programs (single-task interventions) in reducing falls.

 

Recent studies have found that declines in cognitive skills associated with planning, monitoring and conducting goal-oriented complex actions (executive function), in addition to decreased balance ability, are associated with increased risk for falls. When two attention-demanding tasks are performed simultaneously, both tasks compete for attention resources and thus challenge the brain to decide which task to prioritize. The ability to perform two tasks simultaneously, each of which could be performed independently, is called “dual-task” performance. The current project will investigate the effectiveness of two (8 weeks each) multicomponent interventions (single-task intervention and dual-task intervention) on the reduction of fall risks in independently functioning community-dwelling older adults. We hypothesize as follows: 

  1. A dual-task intervention will lead to greater improvement in cognitive as well as in walking performance and thereby reduce risks of falls more effectively than a single-task intervention does, and 
  2. In both intervention groups, individuals classified as having high fall risks would experience more improvement than individuals classified as having low fall risks, resulting in a significant number of older adults with high fall risks at pre-testing being classified as having low fall risks at post-testing. 

For more information contact Vennila Krishnan, PT, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Department of Physical Therapy

 

Email: vennila.krishnan@csulb.edu 

 

Navigator Link: A Community-Academic Partnership Pilot Program 

 

doctorOlder adults and the elderly often have difficulties navigating support systems that are designed to help them. This project will be a joint effort between the Health Care Administration and Social Work departments of California State University, partnering with Alternatives for Vets, a non-profit organization located in downtown Long Beach, and SCAN Health Plan’s Independence at Home to develop and implement a Navigator Link program at the American Gold Star Manor. AGSM residents and stakeholders will be involved in Phase I, which will include a needs assessment conducted through focus groups; focus group transcripts will be analyzed to develop Phase II of the project, which is the development, implementation, and evaluation of a student intern—driven Navigator Link program. Outcome evaluation data will be collected through the Navigator Link program, as well as by Alternatives for Vets, which specializes in helping veterans obtain VA benefits, and will be a primary service “link” in the context of the program. 

 

For more information contact Grace Reynolds D.P.A., Professor, Health Care Administration

 

Email: Grace.Reynolds-Fisher@csulb.edu

 

Creating a Culture of Health within the American Gold Star Manor Community

Couple walking through a park Research demonstrates that grief and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can result in feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety and maladaptive food consumption. Among the long-term sequelae of these emotional states is social isolation. Older adults who are American Gold Star parents or military veterans are particularly vulnerable to these conditions. Based upon NIH’s Science of Behavioral Change, this proposed highly innovative program encapsulated three pivotal components that promote health and quality of life: (1) health literacy & nutrition, (2) physical & cognitive activity, and (3) a sense of belonging. A series of 15-week workshops that integrate health literacy and nutritional cooking demonstrations were developed, implemented and evaluated by a sustained, committed “learning community” consisting of stakeholders at different levels (AGM residents, students, faculty, and community partners). Trained interprofessional teams of students and AGM residents implemented the Workshops. Formation of “cooking buddies” and “gardening buddies” among AGM residents were encouraged throughout the project to promote physical and cognitive activities and reduce social isolation. At Posttest, participants who attended the workshops and embraced the “buddy system” demonstrated: 

(a) an increase in health literacy by 25% as measured by the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), 

(b) an increase in nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes and practices as measured per FAO guidelines 

(d) a decrease in dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin D, fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium as measured by a 24-hour dietary recall 

(f) a decrease in total fat intake, added sugar intake, total sodium intake as measured by a 24-hour-dietary recall 

(e) a decrease in social isolation by 15% as measured by the Social Disconnectedness Scale and Perceived Isolation Scale, National Social Life Health and Aging Project 

For more information contact Gail Farmer, DrPH, Professor, Health Sciences

Email: Gail.Farmer@csulb.edu 

Presentations

1. Natividad, D., Wilkinson, A., Walters, K., Marshal, M. & Durke, D. (2019, October) Effectiveness of an Eight-Month Walking Program on Meeting the Social and Physical Needs of Community Dwelling Older Adults at the South West American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, Newport, CA.

2. Durke, D., & Walters, K. A. (2019, June) Assessing the Health Needs of Older Adults Living in an Underserved Urban Community. Poster session presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL. 

3. Marshall, M., Walters, K. A., Harrel, K., Lunde, N., & Wilkinson, Alexandra. (2019, April). Connecting Seniors to Their Community Through Walking: A PhotoVoice Exploration. California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics Conference, La Verne, CA. 

4. Walters, K. (2019, October 17) "Connecting Seniors to Their Community-Results of a Monthly Walking (CSCW) Program." CSA Colloquium. 

5. Natividad, M. *, Wilkinson, A. *, Walters, K. A., Marshall, M., & Durke, D. * (2019, October). Effectiveness of an eight-month walking program on meeting the social and physical needs of community dwelling older adults. Poster presented at the South West American College of Sports Medicine Conference, Newport, CA. 

6. Zachary Tuttle, Olivia Maiocco, Ben Gerami, Jeremy Wang, Andrew Lee, Jamie Tan, Joseph Vitug, Olfat Mohammed, Barbara White, Young-Hee Cho, and Vennila Krishnan. The Role of Cognitive Impairment in Dual-Task Intervention. CSM, Denver, CO. Feb 12-15, 2020.

7. Vennila Krishnan, Young-Hee Cho, Zachary Tuttle, Barbara White and Olfat Mohamed. Effects of Cognitive-Motor Dual-task Training on Dual-task Gait Performance in Community-dwelling Older Adults. 2020 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting. Submitted 

8. Vennila Krishnan. Effects of cognitive-motor dual task training on fall risk reduction in community-dwelling older adults. Colloquium Speaker series: Center for Successful Aging, CSULB, Long Beach. Feb 12, 2020.

9. Zachary Tuttle, Vennila Krishnan, Young-Hee Cho, Barbara White and Olfat Mohamed. Distal Outcomes in Dual-task Intervention: Psychological Health Benefits. 2020 WPA Submitted 

10. Zachary Tuttle, Vennila Krishnan, Young-Hee Cho, Barbara White and Olfat Mohamed. Dual-task Intervention Improves Cognitive Health in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. 2020 WPA Submitted. 

11. Zachary Tuttle, Young-Hee Cho, Barbara White, Olfat Mohamed, Vennila Krishnan. Reducing Fall Risks: The Role of Cognitive Impairment in Dual-task Intervention. 2020 Cognitive Aging Conference Poster Accepted.

A COMMUNITY-ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIP PILOT PROGRAM

Two people walking on path Older adults and the elderly often have difficulties navigating support systems that are designed to help them. This project was a joint effort between the Health Care Administration and Social Work departments of California State University, partnered with Alternatives for Vets, a non-profit organization located in downtown Long Beach, and SCAN Health Plan’s Independence at Home which developed and implemented a Navigator Link program at the American Gold Star Manor. AGSM residents and stakeholders were involved in Phase I, which included a needs assessment conducted through focus groups; focus group transcripts were analyzed to develop Phase II of the project, which is the development, implementation, and evaluation of a student intern—driven Navigator Link program. Outcome evaluation data was collected through the Navigator Link program, as well as by Alternatives for Vets, which specializes in helping veterans obtain VA benefits, and was a primary service “link” in the context of the program. 

For more information contact Grace Reynolds D.P.A., Professor, Health Care Administration.
Email: Grace.Reynolds-Fisher@csulb.edu

Additional Faculty Lead Research 

Experience of Alzheimer's Disease Family Caregivers in a Latino Community 

Project Title: The Experience of Alzheimer’s Disease Family Caregivers in a Latino Community: Cultural Congruence and Disparities in Utilization of Support Services

Husband and Wife Hugging Mother and Daughter Hugging

Dr. Martinez conducted research on the causes of service underutilization among Latino families by comparing the expressed preferences of caregivers to the perspectives of service providers, in collaboration with the Alliance for Aging, Inc. the local Area Agency on Aging for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties in Florida. Older Latinos are the fastest-growing demographic group in the country and have higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and related dementia than the general population. Their famly caregivers tend to have higher levels of stress rooted in trying to provide high-quality care for their loved ones with little formal support. The study found several relevant emergent themes to better understand underutilization of support services, including 1) the denial/lack of acceptance of disease in early stages, 2) culturaly specific notions of love, duty, and obligation, 3) gendered beliefs regarding care, 4) an absence of clear path to formal support, and 5) an incongruence of type and timing services. The study recieved funding from the National Institute on Aging. We are currently developing an intervention based on these findings to address the disparities in utilization. 

For more information contact Dr. Iveris Martinez

Email: Iveris.martinez@csulb.edu 

Data on Aging

Data Resources

Library of electronic data on aging sponsored by the National Institute on Aging available for analysis. 

Data on government supportive services programs for older adults in the United States, including population characteristics and expenditures.

Online repository of Alzheimer’s Disease-related data on over 488,000 subjects from 45 research partners.

Centers for Disease Control database on adult health behaviors, chronic conditions, and preventive care from 50 US states based on 400,000 adult interviews each year. 

Access and documentation on population survey data on aging around the world.

Infographics and comprehensive reports based on data from numerous federal US agencies.

Research Networks

List of Networks

GSA is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging dedicated to the promotion of the study of aging and dissemination of information to scientists, policy decision-makers, and the general public.  Sections and interest groups span basic biological research to clinical to behavioral and social research, humanities and policy. The association sponsors an annual conference and six academic journals, publications, and numerous newsletters on developments in aging.

ASA is a multidisciplinary association with membership comprised of more than 5,000 practitioners, educators, administrators, and other leaders in the field.  The association sponsors an annual conference and diverse publications on developments in aging.

AAGE was established in 1978 as a multidisciplinary group dedicated to the exploration and understanding of aging across the diversity of human cultures with holistic, comparative, and international. AAGE sponsors numerous mentoring opportunities, as well as, scholarships for students. Anthropology & Aging (formerly Anthropology & Aging Quarterly) is the official publication of AAGE, and is published as a full-fledged digital journal.

AAIC® is the Alzheimer’s Association annual international conference, with opportunities to present, network and learn from the scientists and policymakers dedicated to advancing dementia science. 

Research Resources for Faculty

Find Funding Opportunities in Aging