National and Local Coverage
Cheryl Deep manages media relations and publications for the Institute of Gerontology. To interview faculty, pursue a news tip or learn more about what we do, contact her at 313-664-2607 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Despite exponential growth in Michigan's aging population, no legal and policy definition of elder abuse exists in Michigan, according to recently released research by Elder Law of Michigan and Wayne State University's Institute on Gerontology (IOG). As reported by the Michigan Administration on Aging (AOA), more than 20 percent of Michigan's residents will be 60 or older by 2030, a 32 percent increase from 2012. Currently, 1.9 million or 19.5 percent of Michigan's nearly 10 million people are past the age of 60. One of the report's authors, Thomas Jankowski, a gerontologist and associate director of research at IOG, said, "Without a precisely worded statute there is no way to distinguish between a vulnerable adult and one who is a victim of elder abuse. Age is not a distinct indicator. "That means that integration and coordination of efforts to address and prevent elder abuse on a statewide basis is that much more difficult," said Jankowski. The data gathered by Jankowski and his colleagues is part of the PREVNT Initiative, a collaborated response to elder abuse and neglect.
Dr. Peter Lichtenberg describes a case study to illustrate how older adults can protect themselves from being financially exploited. First of two parts.
Heather Dillaway discusses ways to stay healthy as we age. Photos of healthy older adults supplied by the Institute of Gerontology from their many community events.
Wassim Tarraf, assistant professor at Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology, is a co-investigator and lead statistician on a $5.67 million five-year study charting how mild cognitive impairment progresses to Alzheimer’s in Latinos. The lead principal investigator of this National Institute on Aging grant is Hector González, a colleague of Tarraf’s at WSU and now an associate professor at Michigan State University. The project will recruit 6,600 Latinos, age 52 and up, from 16,000 participants in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos begun in 2011.
Recent research has highlighted what appear to be several intriguing ways to counter the effects of aging on gray matter. A recent study supported by funding from the National Institute on Aging compared a group of people ages 55 to 70 who practiced hatha yoga three times a week and a similar group who did simple stretching and toning exercises. After eight weeks, the yoga group was speedier and more accurate in cognitive tasks and less apt to be distracted. “The meditative exercises in yoga aim to help you focus and be aware within the moment by trying to keep distracting thoughts away,” says researcher Neha P. Gothe, assistant professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at Wayne State University. “These mental exercises seem to affect the way you think outside of yoga practice.”
Senior residents of the Waltonwood senior living community participated in “The Exercise Effect: How and Why Exercise Works,” which included a Brain Neurobics session created by the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology. The class, an 11-part series, is designed to help seniors keep their minds sharp through a combination of exercises, games and education. Participants also learned how small changes in their daily habits can increase neurons in the brain to help prevent memory loss over time. Simple changes like using your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth, doing puzzles, or engaging your senses in a new way will help fire new brain activity.
Did you know that we have, on average, 70,000 thoughts each day? Or that your brain is an oxygen hog, taking 20 percent of each breath you take? Participants in the Senior Living and Learning Expo, titled Brainstorm: A Workout for the Mind, learned these facts and several tricks to shake up their brains. Donna MacDonald, director of outreach at the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology, and Cheryl Deep, director of media relations and communication at the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology, conducted the workshop. “This program is about shaking out of patterns and routines. That’s why we’re here: to shake you up,” Deep said. To shake up your brain, take different routes when traveling, close your eyes when you are eating and try using your non-dominant hand, said MacDonald. “There are 100 billion neurons — as many as stars in the galaxy — in the brain, with 100 trillion connections,” she said. “When we age, they start misfiring. The brain shrinks as we age, and that starts at age 20. It takes longer to process information and longer to recall information.”
The health care industry in Michigan as a whole is also growing as the baby boomer generation ages and requires more care. “This isn’t just a Michigan phenomenon, but the industry is growing everywhere,” said Gail Jensen Summers, a professor in Wayne State University’s economics of health care program. Summers said part of the rise is the aging of baby boomers, while the other factor is that more people now have access to health care. “This is the age where baby boomers are experiencing more medical problems,” Summers said. “One problem we have is a shortage of primary care physicians in this state. The only way clinics can meet the growing demand for care is by hiring nurse practitioners and physician assistants.”
Crain’s Detroit Business, 8/16/15
Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, has been awarded the Judge Edward Sosnick Courage to Lead Award, presented annually by the Oakland County SAVE Task Force, which increases awareness of elder abuse. Jinsheng Zhang, professor and research director for the Wayne State University School of Medicine's department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, has been elected chairman of the scientific advisory panel of the American Tinnitus Association.
The Senior Living and Learning Expo, sponsored by the Older Adult Division of Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan, is free and open to interested individuals at the Troy Community Center on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Presenters Donna MacDonald and Cheryl Deep of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University introduce a breakthrough approach to brain health and training.
Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, won the Judge Edward Sosnick Courage to Lead Award for his extensive work to create ways of identifying older adults at risk of financial exploitation. The award is presented annually by the Oakland County SAVE (Serving Adults who are Vulnerable and/or Elderly) Task Force. Lichtenberg created a set of scales and assessments of a person’s ability to make sound, rational financial decisions and/or risk of being subject to undue influence. Initial studies confirm that the Lichtenberg Financial Decision-Making Screening and Rating Scales reliably profile an older adult’s vulnerability to exploitation and ability to make significant financial decisions.
During a segment on the “Mitch Albom Show,” host Mitch Albom explored the growing problem regarding the exploitation of seniors by caregivers, family and others who take advantage of older adults financially. Albom referenced studies done at Wayne State University surrounding the issue of senior exploitation.
Oakland Press, 12/1/14
Briefs: Holiday Hope for Seniors
American House Senior Living Communities will celebrate the 6th annual Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign to benefit over 850 local senior citizens in need, beginning with a tree lighting ceremony from 5-7 p.m. Thursday. At each community, paper ornament bulbs ($5 to $20 donations) will be sold, with 100 percent of every donation going directly to helping senior citizens. In addition, 1,700 bags containing personal and household items will be delivered to local seniors in need. Proceeds raised during fundraising initiatives do not go toward American House residents, but rather senior citizens in need identified by partner non-profit organizations. The campaign is run by the non-profit organization, American House Foundation, which invests in both outreach for older adults in need of assistance, as well as research opportunities through a partnership with the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University.
Oakland Press, Macomb Daily, 10/25/14
Depressed seniors more vulnerable to exploitation
By Diana Dillaber Murray
Older adults with severe depression and low social-status fulfillment are more apt to be victims of fraud, according to a study done by Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University. Lichtenberg studied the problem in 4,440 older adults and found fraud increased by 226 percent under those circumstances. “Psychological vulnerability can impact older adults’ lives in serious ways,” said Lichtenberg, who planned to present his findings to Congress. He will also moderate a panel assembled by Florida congressman Ted Deutch and Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar to bring attention to the Seniors Fraud Prevention Bill they recently introduced in Congress.
Lichtenberg received a $468,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice (beginning in January) to further validate the screenings and refine methods for wide-scale distribution of these tools across multiple such professionals as financial planners, bank personnel, lawyers, law enforcement officers and adult protective services employees. “We aren’t trying to usurp a person’s independence,” Lichtenberg said. “We want to balance autonomy with protection and determine how best to educate and support older adults most at risk of being exploited.”
Huffington Post, 9/25
High rates of depression among African-American women, low rates of treatment
By Nia Hamm
Depression is a huge health concern among African-Americans -- particularly women -- but mental health is often stigmatized in the black community. Although it can impact people from all walks of life, cultural habits and historical experiences can cause depression to be expressed and addressed differently among black women. Depression is not only treated at lower rates in the African-American community, particularly among black women, but of those who do receive treatment, many don't receive adequate treatment. Hector M. Gonzalez, Ph.D., and colleagues at Wayne State University, found that overall, only about half of Americans diagnosed with major depression in a given year receive treatment for it. But only one-fifth receive treatment consistent with current practice guidelines. African-Americans had some of the lowest rates of use of depression care. Because blacks, particularly black women, experience higher rates of depression than their white female or black male counterparts, but receive lower rates of treatment for depression -- specifically adequate treatment -- they remain one of the most undertreated groups for depression in the United States.
The Kansas City Star, 9/13/14
Exploitation of elderly woman by a ‘friend’ is another chapter in an increasingly common story
By Eric Adler
No one knows precisely how many of the 60 million U.S. adults age 60 or older are victims of scammers. The few studies that exist estimate that up to 5 percent of seniors — 3 million people — are financially exploited each year. Social isolation long has been known as a major risk factor for exploitation. Without trusted relatives or peers, impressionable and needy adults can more easily fall prey to self-serving people. “What we have is a group of people, especially as they get into their 80s, who often have to give up driving, become widowed,” said Peter Lichtenberg, a geriatric neuropsychologist who is director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University. “Their worlds become smaller. Loneliness is a factor. They become targets.” Lichtenberg is one of a number of researchers nationwide who is placing increasing attention on the role conditions such as mild dementia or depression play in exploitation. He studied some 4,400 people age 60 and older. In research published last year, Lichtenberg found that while about 4.5 percent had been victims of fraud, the rate of victimization was three times as great among those who reported being the most depressed and the least socially connected.
Stay or go: Growing old in Detroit isn't easy, but does moving make sense?
By Khalil AlHajal
Growing old isn't easy anywhere. Living among high rates of poverty, crime, addiction and abandonment doesn't make it any easier. Neither do shortages of buses and primary care doctors, nor the scarcity of retail and amenities outside of Detroit's central neighborhoods. “Despite these objective problems, the subjective experience of growing old in Detroit is not a bad one,” said Peter Lichtenberg, director of Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology.
“I think that’s because they have good relationships, friends, family. Meaningful relationships and memories --those things kind of overshadow the challenges. Although people are worried about the vacant housing and so forth, when you give them kind of neighborhood cohesion instruments, there’s a fairly high level of comfort in their neighborhoods.” One recent study by Wayne State researchers showed Detroiters age 60-74 were dying at a rate 48 percent higher than their peers in the rest of the state. That's attributed partly to middle-aged Detroiters missing out on the kind of medical care and healthy lifestyle development they need in the years before they enter old age.
The Social History of Retirement
IOG Deputy Director Thomas B. Jankowski has an in-depth discusssion about the background of our current retirement culture. WNYC has one of the largest listenerships of any radio station in the U.S.
The graying of Michigan is tied to the state's economic decline: Aging together
A new study predicts that Michigan's senior population will grow significantly over the next few years. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments says senior populations are increasing throughout the U.S. but the growth is especially pronounced in Michigan. The associate research director at Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology, Thomas Jankowski, says the graying of Michigan is tied to the state's economic decline. "Because Michigan has lost population due to the economy, it looks like the older population, as a proportion of the overall population, is actually going to be higher than they initially thought it was, mostly because many working age people have left the state." Jankowski says counties will have to adapt to a shift towards an older workforce.
Are we prepared? Senior population expected to skyrocket, even in shrinking Detroit
By Khalil AlHajal
Sometime in the next few years, the number of people over the age of 65 in southeast Michigan is expected to surpass the number of residents 18 and under. “I don’t think that has happened before in human history,” said Thomas Jankowski, associate research director at Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology, citing population figures from the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. “Overall population will stay relatively stable, but the number of younger folks is going to decrease as they age out of their age group, and the number of older folks is going to increase dramatically.” And that means local governments will have to brace for skyrocketing expectations for accommodating larger senior populations, ranging from improvements in housing and transit options to expansion of recreation and health programming, said Jankowski.
Aging together: Stories of struggle and sacrifice among Detroit's elders
By Khalil AlHajal
Detroit residents over 65 number about 83,000 people – some who rely primarily on relationships with caregivers, family members and service organizations with dwindling resources. Some languish in poverty and face seemingly impossible odds, but many thrive, and sometimes do so while carrying whole families on their backs. "Although there are these tremendous challenges that we see, somehow these older folks kind of find a way to cope, and often become kind of the backbone of their neighborhoods," said Peter Lichtenberg, director of Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology.
Detroit Free Press, 6/6/14
Forever Fighters Embraced at Komen Race Event
By Robin Erb
Peter speaks with Robin Erb of the Free Press about his wife’s Susan's cancer, her fight, her loss and the family's participation in tomorrow's race. The story includes a video interview with Peter and beautiful images of Susan, as well as her handwritten notes about life, love, and the disease she was battling. He, Emily, Thomas and Sophie will all walk in Susan’s memory at the Komen Race on Saturday.
Headlines & Global News, 5/27; USA Today, Detroit Free Press, 5/26
Oldest American alive turns 115: What's the secret of her long life?
By Robin Erb
Recent studies have highlighted that life expectancy has risen in the United States and Michigan resident Jeralean Talley is living proof of that. Talley, oldest person in America and second oldest in the world, celebrated her 115th birthday, May 25. So what's the secret of her long life? According to Peter Lichtenberg, director at Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology, it is motivation and determination of movement that is the key to longevity.
"One of the areas of research that we're getting really interested in as a field is how much movement people have - really just having your bodies in motion. It's not just 30 minutes of exercise and sit the rest of the day. It's moving around, being active," he said, according to Detroit Free Press. That's walking, being out with friends, gardening — refusing to be dictated to by the flipping pages of a calendar, Lichtenberg said.
Taking care of mom and dad
Baby Boomers and younger adults are finding themselves as caregivers to their aging parents. As medical technology keeps us alive longer, families are faced with new challenges in care, housing and chronic illness for elderly loved ones. Family dynamics become increasingly important in the success of caregiving for the elderly, says Patricia Rencher, director of Healthier Black Elders Center at Wayne State University. "It usually falls upon one person [within a family] to do the job," she says. And, she adds, that can create resentment and stress within a family. The issues around elder care don't end there. Rencher says there needs to be education for people learning how to transport family members from beds to bathrooms and throughout a house, and how to manage the fixed income finances of older people.
Detroit Free Press, 5/8
When is it time to take car keys from elderly drivers?
By Robin Erb
With America’s 65-and-over population set to double by 2050, senior advocates, car companies and government agencies are working on new strategies to keep folks driving longer and safely so they remain independent and avoid the depression and loneliness that can develop after the keys are taken away. Seniors are less likely to be involved in drunken driving accidents or in crashes involving bad weather, for example. But some experts argue the numbers do not paint a full picture because senior drivers, especially those who don’t rack up work miles, drive so much less than others. And they’re less likely to drive in inclement weather or after dark. The problem may be a layering of aging problems, not the least of which is the slower mental processing of an older adult, said Cathy Lysack, occupational therapist and researcher at Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology.
Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology (IOG) is ranked among the top seven gerontology programs offering notable public resources. The Detroit location puts the institute in a unique position to focus on urban health and diversity. In collaboration with the University of Michigan, the IOG hosts the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research, one of just seven minority aging research centers in the U.S. funded by the National Institute of Aging. The IOG also focuses on connecting older adults and caregivers to knowledge, from local events and activities to publications.
Hour Detroit Magazine, April 2014
My Cargiving Choice
By Ellen Paligian
Peter Lichtenberg, director of Wayne State’s Institute of Gerontology, is quoted extensively in a piece about caregiving for older adults. “Caregivers really do have to become educated about the conditions affecting their parent,” Lichtenberg says. “By being involved, you can see changes like frailty or loss of weight before it becomes a crisis.” Lichtenberg recommends that if you can’t be there to support them, work with other family members, friends, or neighbors to keep an eye on them, or look into case management, which many nurses do, even managing and hiring additional caregivers if needed. Whether you help your parents stay in their own home, or make a decision that some kind of senior or assisted living would be more appropriate, they will still need your support. “You need to be involved across all placements,” says Lichtenberg, who sees a lot of variability in the booming business of senior living options. “You need to check them out.” The best ones, he says, may be expensive, but they can enhance longevity. The WSU Institute of Gerontology website is included in the story as a resource: www.iog.wayne.edu.
Observer & Eccentric, 4/8/14
Boost brain strength with an exercise class
City of Novi Older Adult Services and Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology have partnered to present Brain Neurobics at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 24, at the Meadowbrook Activity Center. This interactive program works to stimulate the brain to create new neurons through attempting non-routine behaviors and paying close attention to sensory stimuli. Participation in a brain neurobics session teaches the basics of brain function, how to keep it healthy and how to stimulate the production of new brain connections.
“Art of Aging Successfully” conference
Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology (IOG) is hosting the 15th annual “Art of Aging Successfully” conference, 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Thursday, April 3, at the Greater Grace Conference Center in Detroit. Donna MacDonald, IOG outreach director and coordinator of the conference, talked about the purpose of the conference. “It’s really celebrating aging. It’s not looking at the doom and gloom of aging but the positive aspects.” McDonald said yesterday’s grandparents are not today’s seniors. “We’re living a lot longer…we’re living healthier lives.”
Midland Daily News, 2/10/14
Our view: Know what elder abuse is
An editorial discusses elder abuse and projections that by 2050, 19 million people will be 85 and older. According to 2010 Census figures, there were 5.8 million people age 85 and older. “As more older adults become very old we see the numbers of (elder abuse) cases increase,” said Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, in a story published Sunday in the Daily News. And, perhaps more alarming, is that 90 percent of abusers are family members, according to The National Center on Elder Abuse.
Midland Daily News, 2/11/14
'Advocacy and education' key in prevention of elder abuse
By John Kennett
Elder abuse: Not a topic that’s easy to detect or deal with. But, an aging population means the topic is something that will become more and more of a serious concern across America. Peter Lichtenberg, director of Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology, recently completed a study, “Is Psychological Vulnerability Related to the Experience of Fraud in Older Adults?” published in Clinical Gerontologist. The study, of 4,440 participants, reported financial fraud victimization of older adults and found that the combination of high depression and low social-status fulfillment was associated with a 226 percent increase in fraud prevalence. “Early detection of potential problems by health practitioners, case managers, etc. and better assessment tools can help families receive intervention before abuse becomes full blown or worsens,” said Lichtenberg. “Advocacy and education and repeated messaging about the need to stop elder abuse is also important.”
CBS Detroit, 1/22/14
Study says experience, not age, is why our brains slow down
By Sean Lee
Getting older is usually associated with losing brain power — but a new study says that may not be the case. The study, out of Germany, argues that older brains may just take longer to process ever-increasing amounts of knowledge, and that’s been mistaken for declining capacity. Think about your brain like a brand new computer … It’s really fast, right? But as your hard drive accumulates more files, your P.C. starts to slow down. Wayne State University Gerontology researcher Peter Lichtenberg says it’s a valid analogy. “If you’ve acquired information about 6,000 birthdays over your lifetime and you’re having a little bit of trouble remembering whose is which, and you only get maybe 75 percent accuracy,” said Lichtenberg, “is that really worse than somebody who’s acquired maybe 100 birthdays and gets 90 percent accuracy because there’s less?” Lichtenberg agrees with the study’s authors who say, most standard cognitive testing methods are flawed, which can confuse increased knowledge with declining capacity. The study has been published in the journal Topics in Cognitive Science.
Crain’s Detroit Business, 12/26/13
$40M retirement community coming to Bloomfield Hills
By Bridget Vis
A $40 million continuing care retirement community is coming to Bloomfield Hills. The groundbreaking for Cedarbrook of Bloomfield Hills, on Woodward Avenue north of Opdyke Road, happened earlier this month, and the facility is scheduled to open in September 2015, said Michael J. Damone, president of Cedarbrook Senior Living LLC. Damone said that Cedarbrook will also work with Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology to be a resource for residents and their families.
Detroit Jewish News, Oct. 17-23/13
Fight elder fraud
By Ronelle Grier
Peter Lichtenberg, geriatric neuropsychologist and director of Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology, commented in a story about elder fraud, the financial exploitation of the elderly. The mental and emotional state of an elderly person can play a part in whether he or she becomes a victim of fraud, according to Lichtenberg, who recently served as a panelist during the screening of a documentary film titled “Last Will and Embezzlement.” According to a five-year study he worked on, risk factors include psychological vulnerability, depression and dissatisfaction with one’s role in society. Lichtenberg developed an assessment tool that helps determine older adults’ vulnerability to fraud and their ability to manage their money; it’s called the “Financial Decision-Making Rating Scale.” (Subscriber access only)
Lack of mobility is a key factor in isolation within the aging population
By Martina Guzman
WDET’s Martina Guzman explored the challenges facing seniors as they face reduced mobility and independence. Lack of mobility is one of the key factors in isolation within the aging population. Seclusion puts older adults at greater risk for developing depression. According to the Center for disease control, the 65 and older population accounts for 15 percent of the nation’s suicides, the highest rate among any age group. But if staying active can be a challenge for young people, it’s especially challenging if you’re older, have body aches or a debilitating illnesses. Cathy Lysack, deputy director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, says seniors have to keep moving no matter how old they are. “Most older adults think, ‘oh, I’m too weak, it’s bad for me.’ The opposite is true, even women with significant arthritis will benefit with less fatigue and less pain if they exercise. Lysack says that failing to exercise or avoiding exercise not only affects seniors physically it also affects their ability to think clearly or rationally. “You may not be able to drive a car, it’s a complex skill. And when that happens your social environment shrinks very quickly. If you don’t have the resources and people to offset that, you’re at risk for isolation socially and that’s bad for older people.”
Northville Patch, 10/16
Annual Fall Conference
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, caregivers, students and health professionals gather for the Annual Fall 5CE Conference, “A Meaningful Life with Alzheimer’s disease” at the Vista Tech Center at Schoolcraft Community College. The conference is presented by the Alzheimer's Association - Greater Michigan Chapter and Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology.
Detroit Free Press, 10/13/13
146,000 Michiganders - at least - face loss of cheap policies under new health care reform rules
By Robin Erb
At least 146,000 Michiganders — and possibly thousands more — with health coverage purchased directly from insurers now are learning their polices will end Dec. 31 because they don’t meet the minimum requirements of the federal health care act. Under the law, each policy must cover essential benefits in 10 categories. Instead of beefing up these policies, insurers are opting to drop them, advising consumers to consider other policies that are now available either from the insurers directly or through the Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the state exchange. The policies that are ending were often less expensive on the individual market because they provided limited benefits and were sold to healthier consumers. Customers will pay more, but they also will get more coverage now, noted Gail Jensen Summers, an economics professor at Wayne State University, who specializes in health insurance policy and costs.
USA Today, 10/7
Take active role when choosing a new doctor
By Zlati Meyer
Americans are going to medical specialists more and more. According to a recent national study in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, the probability of receiving a referral during a doctor’s visit increased from 4.8 percent to 9.3 percent between 1999-2009. Wayne State University health economist Gail Jensen Summers said the increase stems from the growing number of managed-care plans that have replaced self-referrals, with the primary care physician serving as a gatekeeper for efficiency and cost savings. She also noted physician group practices are expanding to include auxiliary services like labs and physical therapy, and many have medical specialists on staff.
Taking advantage of elders
One out of every 20 seniors are now facing the challenge of dealing with financial exploitation. Victims lose anywhere from $79,000 to $186,000 or more. Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, will discuss his findings Sept. 30, at the Berman Center for the Performing Arts. During the event, experts will analyze the multiple ways older adults are exploited, and a documentary film titled “Last Will and Embezzlement," will be show featuring Hollywood star Mickey Rooney.
Oakland Press, 9/28
Five ways to sharpen your brain
Improving brain health to stop memory loss is a key concern of older adults, but many do not know the best way to strengthen their mind. Health Alliance Plan (HAP) has been educating its members at Sharpen Your Brain workshops offering simple exercises to stimulate brain growth. The workshops are run by a team from the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, Donna MacDonald, the institute’s director of outreach and educational programs, and Cheryl Deep, who directs media relations and communications. They developed their popular brain training workshops, also known as Brain Neurobics in conjunction with WSU and other cognitive neuroscience researchers. Now they are sharing some of their top tricks to stimulate the brain.
Detroit Free Press, USA Today, 9/23
Protecting seniors and their money is focus of daughter's documentary
By Cassandra Spratling
An article highlights a documentary film, Last Will and Embezzlement, which aims to raise awareness about financial exploitation of elderly people. One out of every 20 older adults in the U.S. will be a victim of financial exploitation, and the rates are rising, said Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University. To help, he is developing an assessment to determine whether a senior citizen is at risk of being the victim of financial abuse. He said he hopes to be able to pilot the 61-question assessment by the end of the year.
Detroit Legal News, 9/18/13
Film highlights alarming rise of financial abuse of older adults
One out of every 20 older adults in the U.S. will be a victim of financial exploitation this year, and the rates are rising. Prevention is the best defense against this exploding problem. But first we must pinpoint who is most at risk. Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, has created the Lichtenberg Financial Decision-Making Rating Scale to do just that. Initial studies confirm the scale as a reliable tool in determining older adults’ vulnerability to fraud and ability to manage their money. “We aren’t trying to usurp a person’s independence,” Lichtenberg said. “We want to balance autonomy with protection and determine how best to educate and support older adults most at risk of being exploited.” Lichtenberg will discuss his findings as part of the “Safeguarding the Golden Generation” panel and movie preview Sept. 30, from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Berman Center for the Performing Arts, in West Bloomfield. The evening analyzes the multiple ways older adults are exploited and kicks off with the screening of a documentary titled “Last Will and Embezzlement.” The film will also be shown on Sept. 25 at the Italian American Cultural Center in Clinton Township. Among the presenters are Jocelyn Benson, interim dean of Wayne State University’s Law School.
Donna MacDonald, community outreach and professional outreach director Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology (IOG), was interviewed by WWJ reporter Pat Sweeting about the Brain Neurobics program and how older adults can keep their memories sharp. The program is a partnership between the IOG and Health Alliance Plan.
WJBK Fox 2, 9/9/13
Donna MacDonald, Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology, was interviewed by Fox 2 health reporter Deena Centofanti about the Brain Neurobics program and how older adults can keep their memories sharp. The month of September is “Healthy Aging Month.”
Observer & Eccentric, 7/26/13
Summers' splendor reaps rewards at lily show
Health economist by day, lily grower by night (and weekend), Wayne State professor Gail Jensen Summers divides her time between complex analysis of Medicare data, and coaxing delicate lilies into breath-taking, perfectly timed blooms. She won big on both fronts this year. Peer-reviewed economics journals published two of her papers this spring, and she won the Best Lily in Show award at the 66th North American International Lily Show in June.
The Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 5/26
New study, bill puts focus on senior fraud
By Diane C. Lade
New efforts are underway to combat what aging experts say has become one of the top threats facing elders: losing their savings to con artists and financial predators. Gerontologists at Wayne State University have created, for the first time, a potential victim profile that could alert professionals and families to which seniors are most psychologically vulnerable to fraud. And a bipartisan bill filed last week by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat from Boca Raton, and two other representatives would create a federal advisory office dedicated to protecting elders from fraud and ensuring victims' complaints are handled efficiently and quickly. Deutch's bill mandates that the Federal Trade Commission, which would house the new office, "immediately" funnel elder fraud and exploitation reports to appropriate local law enforcement or regulatory agencies for investigation, something the FTC is not required to do now. The new office also would alert elders to new scams and educate them about investment fraud. Peter Lichtenberg, director of Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology and the researcher behind the elder fraud victim profile, commented in the story.
Senior Planet 5/20/13
Scams: Are You Immune?
By Kathleen Doheny
Research into what makes older adults vulnerable to scams by IOG Director Peter Lichtenberg was the subject of an extensive interview. Risk factors for seniors, tips on staying safe, and details of the 4,400 older adults (average age 66) studied were included. Lichtenberg said that of the 5% who had been victimized, depression and not feeling socially fulfilled greatly increased the odds of falling prey to financial fraud. People who don’t feel loved and appreciated are easy targets for charming thieves who know how to establish bonds and trust quickly. The article included a “Fraud Awareness Quiz.”
Prognosis News, 5/16/13
IOG Researcher Chairs Major Symposium
Dr. Noa Ofen, an assistant professor in the MPSI and IOG Lifespan program and in the School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics, received high honors in being selected to chair and speak at a major symposium at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry in San Francisco. Her symposium, "Memory Systems in Development, Risk and Disease: A Case Study for R-DoC Applications in the Schizophrenia Diathesis" was one of the few selected for presentation.
Dr. Ofen's research with children and adolescents seeks to understand learning and memory networks in the developing human brain, including vulnerability to schizophrenia.
Macomb County Legal News, 5/6/13
Honoring work on behalf of ‘vulnerable adults’
By Sheila Pursglove
Elder Law of Michigan has scheduled two events for the 5th Annual Joe D. Sutton Call to Justice Awards, honoring individuals and organizations that help adults in need and work towards health, safety, fairness and justice for vulnerable people. Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University, will receive the Leadership Award. Lichtenberg is the founding director of the Wayne State University Lifespan Alliance. He also has written several books on aging and served as chair of the Michigan Dementia Coalition and president of the Adult Development and Aging Section of the American Psychological Association.
Wayne State researcher appointed adjunct foreign professor at prestigious Karolinska Institute
Mark R. Luborsky, director of aging and health disparities research in the Institute of Gerontology (IOG), and professor of anthropology and gerontology at Wayne State University, has been appointed adjunct foreign professor at the prestigious Nobel Prize-granting Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The six-year appointment recognizes Luborsky for his many scientific achievements and long-standing research focus on life reorganization and continuity of meaning and function. "Mark is not only an exceptional scholar but a phenomenal colleague to all Institute of Gerontology faculty and students," said Peter Lichtenberg, director of the IOG. “Dr. Luborsky is most deserving of this recognition from the prestigious Karolinska Institute,” said Hilary Ratner, vice president for Research at Wayne State University. “His research targets ways to help people in the United States and all over the world. This collaboration with the Karolinska Institute will allow his research to have an even greater impact around the globe.”
The Deseret News, 4/30/13
Some Seniors More Vulnerable to Fraud
Research by IOG Director Peter Lichtenberg points to areas of increased vulnerability among seniors as loneliness and isolation motivate them to connect with strangers who are potential predators.
Detroit Legal News, 4/29
Elder Law of Michigan to host two “Call to Justice” award events in May
By Sheila Pursglove
Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University, will receive the Leadership Award on Tuesday, May 7 at the Glen Oaks Country Club in Farmington Hills. Lichtenberg also is the founding director of the Wayne State University Lifespan Alliance, author of several books on aging and has held office in several professional organizations including Chair of Michigan Dementia Coalition and President of the Adult Development and Aging Section of the American Psychological Association.
CBS Detroit, Medical Xpress, News Medical, Examiner, 4/25/13
Wayne State finds ‘psychologically vulnerable’ more vulnerable to fraudsters
Older adults with the highest levels of depression and the lowest levels of social needs fulfillment experience higher levels of fraud, according to a new study from Wayne State University and the Illinois Institute of Technology. The schools advise clinical gerontologists in the field to be aware of older adults’ needs for assessment of financial exploitation or its potential when working with highly vulnerable individuals. Financial exploitation of the elderly is on the rise according to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and the numbers are expected to continue to grow as Baby Boomers age. This exploitation, which includes telemarketing scams, fake home repairs, fake check scams, identity theft and more, costs approximately $3 billion each year. The study, “Is Psychological Vulnerability Related to the Experience of Fraud in Older Adults?” published in the recent issue of Clinical Gerontologist, is the first study to include prospective predictors of reported financial fraud victimization of older adults, and is the first to review financial exploitation of any kind with the same population from a psychological-vulnerability perspective. “This study illustrates how we can enhance our understanding of this major issue by performing a clinical analysis instead of one that stops at epidemiological or broad population-based reviews,” said Peter Lichtenberg, director of WSU’s Institute of Gerontology and lead author of the paper. “Those in the clinical study showed characteristics of extreme depression symptoms and perceived low social-status fulfillment, thus showing they were more vulnerable to the experience of theft of scams.
West Bloomfield Patch, 4/4/13
Former West Bloomfield Resident's Painting Featured in Art of Aging Exhibit
By Joni Hubred-Golden
Nancy Forsberg never knew she had any artistic talent at all, until she walked into an art class at Fox Run senior living community in Novi. Now her artworks line the walls of her apartment, and one was featured in last month's 14th Annual Art of Aging Successfully exhibit, held at Greater Grace Conference Center in Detroit. The March 21 event, hosted by the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology, featured a gallery of art work from seniors all around metropolitan Detroit. Workshop topics included gardening, memory tips, exercise, nutritious cooking, and speakers from the Motown and Detroit Historical museums.
The Observer (Association of Psychological Science), 3/26/13
Former IOG Cognitive Neuroscience Trainees Profiled in Association for Psychological Science
Drs. Kristen Kennedy and Karen Rodrigue were each featured in the latest issue of APS fielding questions about their achievements in brain aging and cognitive decline. Now assistant professors at the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas, both women were mentored by the IOG's Dr. Naftali Raz as they worked toward their PhDs in cognitive neuroscience. "I was most influenced by Dr. Raz," said Dr. Rodrigue, "who thoroughly prepared me for a career in research." Rodrigue Profile Kennedy Profile
IOG Director Advises Documentary on Men and Aging (2/20/13)
Keith Famie's latest project, an in-depth look at how men handle aging, premiers. Dr. Peter Lichtenberg is one of the top gerontology experts interviewed in the film. (Detroit Free Press)
WDET Craig Fahle Show "Challenges Facing Wounded Vets," 2/20/13
Drs. Cathy Lysack and Mark Luborsky of Wayne State University are part of a national study looking for ways to help wounded vets re-enter society. Record numbers of soldiers return from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious spinal cord injuries. Many are left permanently disabled, and often struggle to adjust to civilian life. Cathy Lysack, professor of occupational therapy and gerontology, and Mark Luborsky, professor of anthropology and gerontology, talked about the obstacles facing disabled vets when they return from war. Press Release http://www.wdetfm.org/news/story/woundedstudy/
Minding Our Elders, 1/25/13
Is Alzheimer’s disease the default diagnosis for confused elders?
Alzheimer's organizations have worked diligently to raise public awareness of the disease. The downside of this awareness, however, is that even doctors can jump to possibly faulty conclusions when they see an elderly person showing signs of memory loss or significant confusion. A recent article in the Detroit Free Press features Peter Lichtenberg, head of Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology. In a paper for the journal Clinical Gerontology, Lichtenberg, according to the article, “highlighted two case studies: in one, a man's bouts of confusion and agitation in his late 70s were caused by illness and painful cellulitis, not Alzheimer's; in the other, an 87-year-old woman, who seemed suddenly confused, was suffering from depression.” Article
John Woodard quoted in Prevention Magazine on cognitive engagement and bilingualism, 1/10/13
A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that older subjects who are in the habit of speaking two languages use less energy as they alternate between mental tasks. By using brain scans, experts were able to demonstrate not only the validity of the hypothesis, but exactly how cognitive engagement changes the brain. John Woodard, an aging expert and psychology professor from Wayne State University, said this is a stepping stone to answering the question of what's causing brain differences between older adults. The research might also assist in the development of new drugs to treat cognitive decline or age-related dementia by helping investigators understand exactly which brain regions are involved in these processes, he added. Article
International Business Times, 1/9; MSNBC, 1/8; Science Daily, 1/5/13
Bilingual seniors stay sharp, says study
By Valli Meenakshi Ramanathan
A new study published Tuesday in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that older subjects who are in the habit of speaking two languages use less energy as they alternate between mental tasks. John Woodard, an aging expert from Wayne State University, who was not involved in the current study, stated in a news release: "This study provides some of the first evidence of an association between a particular cognitively [mentally] stimulating activity -- in this case, speaking multiple languages on a daily basis -- and brain function," according to the USNews.
IOG aging expert quoted in MSNBC report about bilingual seniors, 1/9/13
A new study published Tuesday in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that older subjects who are in the habit of speaking two languages use less energy as they alternate between mental tasks. John Woodard, an aging expert from Wayne State University, who was not involved in the current study, stated in a news release: "This study provides some of the first evidence of an association between a particular cognitively [mentally] stimulating activity -- in this case, speaking multiple languages on a daily basis -- and brain function," according to the USNews. Article
Eureka Alert, 11/29/2012
Study focuses on returning wounded soldiers to meaningful civilian lives
Record numbers of soldiers are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious spinal cord injuries (SCI). Medical advancements can help heal their physical wounds, but little is known about how these veterans re-engage with their communities and rebuild meaningful lives. "How do they transition back to family and community life? How do they adjust to their physical impairments? And how do they reconfigure their homes, their work and their lives?" asked Cathy Lysack, professor of occupational therapy and gerontology at Wayne State University. Lysack and Mark Luborsky, professor of anthropology and gerontology at Wayne State University, are co-principal investigators on a new $456,000 grant from the Department of Defense to explore those questions. The three-year grant, shared between WSU's Institute of Gerontology and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will study how service members and veterans with SCI reintegrate into society. Luborsky believes "the time is ripe to discover how military personnel with SCI create a sense of connection." Article
Royal Oak Patch, 11/15/12 & Farmington Patch 11/27/12
American House Senior Living Communities celebrates annual Holiday Hope For Seniors
Twenty-five American House Senior Living Communities across Michigan, including Royal Oak, will celebrate the fourth annual Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign, beginning with a community-wide tree lighting ceremony on Thursday, November 29, from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Since its inception, the Holiday Hope for Seniors program has helped more than 650 seniors in need, including 350 seniors last year alone. The campaign is run by the nonprofit organization American House Foundation. Founded in 2007, the foundation’s mission is two-fold; investing in outreach for older adults in need of assistance, and investing in research opportunities through a partnership with the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University. Article
Detroit Free Press 10/31/12
By John Gallagher
IOG Faculty Member Dr. Gail Jensen is quoted in two editions:
Combined Beaumont, Henry Ford hospital system could enjoy greater efficiency -- Several long-term trends help explain why the merger of Henry Ford Health System and Beaumont makes sense. One is the coming implementation of the nation's new health care law, known informally as... Article
Obama's health care plan, cost savings drive merger of Beaumont, Henry Ford Article
Detroit Free Press, 10/14/2012
How to save money in the Medicare maze
By Robin Erb
Gail Jensen, an economics professor at Wayne State University and a researcher at its Institute of Gerontology, offers tips in this piece about the Medicare changes. Tip #1 includes shopping around, even if you’re happy with your current plan. You might be able to save money out-of-pocket while preserving your benefits. Another tip suggests that with Medicare Advantage, there is no need to buy Medigap insurance. Your medications are most likely covered, too – though not always – so there may be no reason to pay for a Medicare Part D drug plan, either. Article
CBS Detroit, Eureka Alert, Ann Arbor.com, Phys.org, 10/1/2012
Wayne State, UM get $2.7M federal grant to continue fight for African-American health
By Matt Roush
The Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University in partnership with the University of Michigan received a $2.7 million grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging to continue the work of the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research. The center is one of only seven across the country established to improve the health of older minorities through education, scholarship and research participation. This is the center’s fourth five-year renewal, which will allow it to continue its work through 2017. Peter Lichtenberg is co-director of the center’s administrative core. “For 15 years, we have partnered with older adults to promote healthier aging,” Lichtenberg said. “With this grant, we continue strengthening scholarship and focusing on the health and education needs of Detroit’s elders. It takes time to make a difference that will last.” Press Release Article
Bio-Medicine, CBS Detroit, 9/12; News-Medical.net, 9/13/2012
Wayne State University researcher recognized by American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association's Committee on Aging recently presented its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University. Lichtenberg was recognized for his outstanding contributions to clinical geropsychology that integrate science, practice, education, public interest and public policy. “Dr. Lichtenberg has been instrumental in advancing Wayne State's Institute of Gerontology and enhancing its visibility in science, education and civic engagement both within Detroit and across the nation," said Hilary Ratner, vice president for research at Wayne State. "Peter is most deserving of this award for his hard work and dedication to his field." BioMedicine Article
Observer & Eccentric, 8/30/12
A brief article noted that Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology (IOG) will host a kick-off event for the free Brain Fun & Fitness program at the Novi Senior Center on Sept. 6. The IOG will lead activities that stimulate our brains to produce more neurons and strengthen the connections between neurons.
WSU, South End 8/12/2012
WSU, MIT Professors Examine Memory Retention
By Raagini Suresh
Adults and children process newly learned information differently, according to a collaborative study between Wayne State and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Functions related to memory appeared similar between adults and children except for the area of . . .
Farmington HillsPatch 8/28/2012
IOG Director Receives Community Recognition for Devotion to Seniors
Since Sept. 16, 1986, Farmington resident Dr. Peter Lichtenberg has devoted his career to working with his elders. Earlier this month, he received an award that recognizes a life-time of contributions to the field of psychology and aging. Lichtenberg continues to explore new ways to improve the quality of life for seniors; a project he expects to complete next year will help elders avoid losing their life savings to scams. Now head of the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology (IOG), Lichtenberg, 53, traveled to Orlando, FL to accept the prestigious . . . Article
Detroit Legal News, 8/20/2012
IOG's Patricia Rencher Named to Commission on Services to the Aging
Governor Rick Snyder last week announced four appointments and one reappointment to the Commission on Services to the Aging. The 15-member board advises the governor and legislature on the coordination and administration of state programs and changes to federal and state programs related to aging priorities. Among the appointees is Patricia Rencher, who serves as the community
Crain’s Detroit Business, 8/19/12
By Doug Henze
Presbyterian Villages of Michigan and two investors are hoping a $40 million complex that will provide affordable senior housing near the Detroit riverfront will make a splash with the city's aging population. Success could spark similar housing along the river, where at least one other developer is waiting in the wings for market demand.
The development might not draw lifelong suburban residents, but it could be a beacon to city dwellers, said Thomas Jankowski, associate director for research at the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University. Jankowski recently worked with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority on a study that surveyed Michigan residents 50 and older about housing preferences. "For people who have been living in the city for years and their houses may be one of only two or three that are occupied on their street, moving in with other people probably, in their view, leads to an increase in safety," he said.
Jewish World Review, 8/15/12
When Alzheimer's isn't the Real Problem
By Bonnie Miller Rubin
Research from Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology is included in a story profiling people who were misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Peter Lichtenberg, director of the institute and a clinical psychologist who has testified in several probate cases in which a person's mental capacity was at issue, said there is growing trend in the number of Americans being wrongfully diagnosed. In a December paper for the journal Clinical Gerontology, Lichtenberg highlighted two case studies: in one, a man's bouts of confusion and agitation in his late 70s were caused by illness and painful cellulitis, not Alzheimer's; in the other, an 87-year-old woman, who seemed suddenly confused, was suffering from depression.
Hillsdale Daily News (Hillsdale, Mich.), 8/2/12
Medicare Premium Help Reaches out to Seniors
According to a 2011 study by Wayne State University’s Seniors Count! project, one-third of the more than 60,000 seniors residing in Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale counties don’t have enough income to cover basic living expenses. As health care costs continue to rise, seniors need more help than ever to pay for their Medicare and prescription drug premiums.
Medical Express, Science Daily, 7/24; Psych Central, 7/25/12
Team Develops Better Understanding of Memory Retrieval Between Children and Adults
Neuroscientists from Wayne State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are taking a deeper look into how the brain mechanisms for memory retrieval differ between adults and children. While the memory systems are the same in many ways, the researchers have learned that crucial functions with relevance to learning and education differ. Noa Ofen, Ph.D., an assistant professor in WSU’s Institute of Gerontology and Department of Pediatrics, says that cognitive ability, including the ability to learn and remember new information, dramatically changes between childhood and adulthood. The team's findings were published on July 17, 2012, in the Journal of Neuroscience.
CBS Detroit, 7/18
Wayne State, MIT Team up for Memory Study of Children, Adults
By Matt Roush
Neuroscientists from Wayne State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are taking a deeper look into how the brain mechanisms for memory retrieval differ between adults and children. While the memory systems are the same in many ways, the researchers have learned that crucial functions with relevance to learning and education differ. The team’s findings were published on July 17, 2012, in the Journal of Neuroscience. According to lead author Noa Ofen, assistant professor in WSU’s Institute of Gerontology and Department of Pediatrics, cognitive ability, including the ability to learn and remember new information, dramatically changes between childhood and adulthood. This ability parallels with dramatic changes that occur in the structure and function of the brain during these periods. “Our results suggest that cortical regions related to attentional or strategic control show the greatest developmental changes for memory retrieval,” said Ofen. Ofen and her research team plan to continue research in this area, focused on modeling brain network connectivity, and applying these methods to study abnormal brain development.
Phys.org, Bio-Medicine, 7/17/12
Wayne State University Researcher's Program Targets Safer River Fishing, Anglers' Health
While Michigan environmental programs are slowly reducing toxins in lakes and rivers, human consumption of contaminated fish continues. A Wayne State University researcher believes the issue needs more attention in order to reduce human health risks. Donna Kashian, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), said the problem is especially significant in distressed urban environments, where efforts to change behaviors often confront deep-seated cultural preferences and people's own interpretation of risk. To meet those challenges, she and fellow WSU researchers Andrea Sankar, professor of anthropology, CLAS, and Mark Luborsky, director of aging and health disparities research at the Institute of Gerontology and professor of anthropology and gerontology, have undertaken what they call "Improving Community Awareness for Detroit River Fish Consumption Advisories." This health intervention program is supported by a $99,600 grant from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.
Wisconsin Public Radio (NPR), 6/21/12
Mental Exercises Might Be Key to Better Brain Function
Cheryl Deep, Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology, was a guest on NPR’s Joy Cardin show discussing Brain Neurobics. Research suggests that certain types of mental exercises might help our brain maintain concentration, memory and visual and spatial skills over the years. Deep conducts "Brain Neurobics" sessions for the institute.
Detroit Free Press, USA Today, Black Christian News, 6/10/12
Flipping the script on mundane habits can boost brain productivity
By Robin Erb
Research suggests that certain types of mental exercises -- whether they are memory games on your mobile device or jotting down letters backward -- might help our brain maintain concentration, memory and visual and spatial skills over the years. At a recent "Brain Neurobics" session at the Waltonwood Senior Living center in Novi, Cheryl Deep of Wayne State’s Institute of Gerontology, encouraged several dozen senior citizens to flip the pictures in their homes upside-down. It might baffle houseguests, but the exercise crowbars the brain out of familiar grooves cut deep by years of mindless habit. "Every time you walk past and look, your brain has to rotate that image," Deep said. "Brain neurobics is about getting us out of those ruts, those pathways, and shaking things up." Assistant professor of pediatrics Moriah Thomason, a scientific adviser to www.Lumosity.com, one of the fastest-growing brain game websites, is a proponent of mental workouts. "We used to think that what you're born with is what you have through life. But now we understand that the brain is a lot more plastic and flexible than we ever appreciated," she said. Photos from the event are included. Full Article
Detroit Free Press, 5/17/12
Diagnosis of Alzheimer's isn't Always Accurate
By Robin Erb
Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology worries about a growing trend in the number of Americans being wrongfully assumed -- even medically misdiagnosed -- with Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia and perhaps the most feared disease of old age. "It's a real problem. If you're older and you get a label of Alzheimer's -- even a hint that you have Alzheimer's -- there's no more critical thinking about it. You're written off by a lot of people," said Peter Lichtenberg, head of the institute and a clinical psychologist who has testified in several probate cases in which a person's mental capacity was at issue. Lichtenberg said his concerns about misdiagnosis in no way lessen the enormity of Alzheimer's impact. "I don't know how vast a problem it is, but I see it too often," Lichtenberg said.
CBS Detroit, Science Codex, 5/9/12
Wayne State: Genes, Vascular Risk Modify Effects of Aging on Brain, Cognition
Efforts to understand how the aging process affects the brain and cognition have expanded beyond simply comparing younger and older adults. “Everybody ages differently. By looking at genetic variations and individual differences in markers of vascular health, we begin to understand that preventable factors may affect our chances for successful aging,” said Wayne State University psychology doctoral student Andrew Bender, lead author of a study supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health and now in press in the journal Neuropsychologia. The study focuses on carriers of the e4 variant of the apolipoprotein (APOE) gene, present in roughly 25 percent of the population. Compared to those who possess other forms of the APOE gene, carriers of the e4 allele are at significantly greater risk for Alzheimer’s, dementia and cardiovascular disease. The research project, led by Naftali Raz, professor of psychology and director of the Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience Research Program at WSU’s Institute of Gerontology, tested different cognitive abilities known for their sensitivity to aging and the effects of the APOE e4 variant.
Grosse Pointe Today, 5/7/12
Brain isn't a Muscle, But Improves with work: So Just Do It
By Anne Marie Gattari
A two-part series on “How the Brain Ages,” with researchers from Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology (IOG), offered interactive brain exercises and gave the audience practical information on how to give their brain a daily workout. One of the easiest and most beneficial exercises you can do is to simply switch hands to do daily activities like eating, buttoning a shirt, brushing your teeth and so on. Cheryl Deep of WSU’s IOG calls it “the magic of non-dominance.” Using your non-dominant hand to do simple tasks stimulates the neurons in your brain. “It’s like building muscle,” she says. “If you don’t force yourself to work harder, you will never get stronger. It’s the same thing with the brain.”
Detroit News, 3/22/12
Wayne State Challenges Stereotypes With 'Art of Aging'
By Kim Kozlowski
Now in its 13th year, the Art of Aging Successfully was held at the Greater Grace Conference Center in Detroit attracting 500 people. Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology, founded and organized the conference as a way to celebrate older adults. "We don't get into health, we focus on wellness," said Lichtenberg. "We don't get into problems, we focus on achievements and aspirations. There are so many negative beliefs about aging and older adults. … We're here to show people that's not the case." The day featured several speakers, vendors offering services and many displays of artwork. It also featured several small group sessions for participants, including art therapy, brain "neurobics" and an exercise class. Photos of the conference are included.
Grosse Pointe Today, 3/12/12
'Aging Well in America' Takes a Televised Look at Elder Issues
By Anne Marie Gattari
An article recaps a recent episode of “Aging Well in America” on WMTV, Grosse Pointe’s cable channel, which examines the country’s aging population. Cathy Lysack of Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology was a guest on the premiere show to talk about her research on “downsizing” – the phenomenon of elderly moving from their long-time residents to smaller, different locations. The show airs the first and third week of every month, Monday-Sunday, at 5:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Detroit Free Press, 3/5/12
Ron Dzwonkowski: What's Michigan Doing for its Fastest-Growing Population?
By Ron Dzwonkowski
Ron Dzwonkowski, associate editor of the Free Press, discusses Michigan’s seniors who comprise the fastest growing segment of population in the state. Though Michigan's birthrate has been on a downslide since 1960, its over-50 population has been exploding. From 2000-10, the number of state residents ages 60-64 jumped almost 51percent. "Somebody starting up a business here who ignores the realities of the population does so at their own peril," said Tom Jankowski, associate director of Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology. "They are among the most aware, because they read, and active reading is the best way to learn about anything," he said. "They also are the most connected to their communities; they volunteer more, belong to service clubs. They understand and they care more -- and not just about themselves, but about what the future holds for younger people." However, a study released last summer by the Gerontology Institute's Seniors Count! Project shows a third of the state's over-65 population survives on an income too low to meet basic needs.
Science Daily, Health Care Weekly Review, e! Science News, 2/6/12
Strategy shift with age can lead to navigational difficulties
A Wayne State University researcher believes studying people's ability to find their way around may help explain why loss of mental capacity occurs with age. Scott Moffat, associate professor of psychology and gerontology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Institute of Gerontology at WSU, said studies have demonstrated reliable differences in navigation and spatial learning tasks based on age. Younger adults tend to outperform their elders in spatial navigation, Moffat said, and people seem to start switching navigational strategies with age. Generally speaking, he said, younger subjects tend to use an allocentric, or map-based, strategy, in which they conceive what an entire environment looks like and where they are in it. Older ones prefer an egocentric, or route-based, strategy, using a series of steps to be taken to reach a destination.
Grosse Pointe Today, 12/19/11
Be Aware of Special Vulnerability of Elderly to Scammers and Thieves
By Anne Marie Gattari
Some 13 percent of older African-American residents of Metro Detroit report they have been the victim of a scam or a theft in the past year while the national average is just 3 percent, according to new research from Wayne State’s Institute of Gerontology (IOG). Dr. Peter Lichtenberg, the IOG’s director, just finished crunching the numbers and the results are dramatic – but not surprising, he said. “Three-quarters of those interviewed said they underestimated how much they’d need in retirement,” he said. “And the best victims of fraud are those that are stressed about their finances.” Add that to the fact that the elderly tend to be less critical and more accepting, they are the perfect victim, Lichtenberg said. That’s why, he said, “everyone needs to be on guard, but some more than others.”
Detroit Free Press, 12/11/11
Loving Work After Age 90
By Zlati Meyer
Numerous studies have shown that staying on the job later in life has numerous advantages, such as decreased dementia, longer lifespan and greater happiness, according to Cathy Lysack, deputy director of Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology, whose almost-80-year-old father is a full-time surgeon. "There's a small portion of older adults who are amazingly great at what they do. They have the abilities to perform at a very high level in late life, and it's meaningful for them to work. They're still rewarded," she said.
ACCESS, Winter 2011-12
Peter Lichtenberg, geriatric neuropsychologist and director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, is quoted in a story on delirium, an under-diagnosed and under-treated problem causing dangerous health problems for older adults and distress among their caregivers.
http://www.aaa1b.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Access-Winter-12-final.pdf (story runs on pg. 4)
The Guardian (UK), 12/1/2011
The Future of Growing old in America
By James Ridgeway
A Wayne State University study is referenced in a story about the challenges facing the elderly. WSU researchers presented a study during the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America which was published earlier this year. The study, titled "Invisible Poverty," found that one in three elders – including many living in middle-class suburbs – cannot fully cover their basic living expenses, including food, housing, transportation and medical care. It also found that certain shortcomings in the way federal poverty statistics are compiled meant that poverty among older people was more likely to be underestimated. "This widespread economic struggle faced by Michigan seniors is fairly hidden from public sight, making it an invisible poverty that takes its toll on older individuals, their families and caregivers and the community at large," says the study.
Risk factors for Alzheimer’s
Peter Lichtenberg, psychology professor and director of Wayne State’s Institute of Gerontology, discussed the risk factors for Alzheimer’s. Lichtenberg examined what role environment and genetics may play in the disease’s development.
Macomb Daily, Daily Tribune, 10/17/11
Aging America Blog: Moving Mom, or Not
By Anne Marie Gattari
Cathy Lysack, a researcher at Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology, spent much of this year sitting in the living rooms of Detroit's elderly listening to their stories as they prepared to move out of their long-time homes into smaller, more manageable, quarters. She will be presenting her findings at a free event, 4:30 p.m., on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. "What makes downsizing in late life unique is that it could be their last move," Lysack says. "Thinking about it in this way brings the distant horizon of their end of life closer into view and they ask: 'How much future do I have, and do I want to have it in a new place?'"
FOCIS Retirement Seminars
WWJ reporter Marie Osborne provided on-site coverage yesterday of the “Retirement in Transition: Work, Relax or Reboot?” presentations at Wayne State University’s Community Arts Auditorium. Dr. Peter Lichtenberg was a panel member.
A Healthier Michigan, 9/8/11
9 Detroit-area Retailers, Attractions that Offer Senior Citizen Discounts
By Andreya Davis
According to the online legal dictionary, “People are said to be senior citizens when they reach the age of sixty or sixty-five because those are the ages at which most people retire from the workforce.” Approximately 128,000 Detroit citizens alone are 65 and older; unfortunately a Wayne State University study suggests that one in three Michigan seniors live at or below a basic level of economic security.
Kansas City Star, Herald Online (Rock Hill, S.C.), Wellness.com, 7/26/11
Minorities Lag in Mental Health Treatment, But Some are Working to Change That
By Cassandra Spratling
For African Americans, 14 percent of those diagnosed with depression received the acceptable standard of care; for Mexican Americans, it was 12 percent, according to a National Institute of Mental Health study published last year. The study showed that only about half of Americans diagnosed with major depression in a given year are treated, and only one in five of those get treatment consistent with American Psychiatric Association guidelines. African Americans and Mexican Americans had the lowest rates of those getting the care they need. “First and foremost, identifying the problem is the big challenge," Wayne State University professor and clinical psychologist Hector Gonzales told the Detroit Free Press on July 16. Gonzales, the lead author on the study, went on to say, "Some cultures, particularly a lot of people in the black community, are not open or receptive to admitting to mental health problems. People end up acting out their mental health issues in ways that are destructive to themselves and others."
Detroit Free Press, 7/21; WLNS-TV (Lansing), WSYM-TV (Lansing), Physorg.com, WJR.com, First Science, 7/20/11
Michigan Senior Citizens Struggling Economically, Report Says
By Robin Erb
A new study concludes that one-third of Michigan's senior citizens are considered "economically insecure," far more than suggested by the federal poverty line.
Even in some of the wealthiest counties, where suburbs buoy the county's overall median income, at least 1 in 4 senior citizens struggles to make ends meet, according to the paper, "Invisible Poverty: New Measure Unveils Financial Hardship in Michigan's Older Population." "There's the popular perception that they have this nice car and their house is paid off and they travel the country. And that's true for some," said Thomas Jankowski, one of the study's authors and associate research director at Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology. "But others, many, many others, just skate on the edge of economic security."
Daily Tribune, 7/1/11
SAVE honors key people in fight against elder abuse
By Jeanne Towar
An article highlights the Oakland County SAVE Task Force’s first Courage Awards, held June 22, to honor individuals and organizations that have taken action to prevent the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable adults. Keynote speaker Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Wayne State Institute of Gerontology and a national expert on senior issues, described financial fraud as the second highest cause of abuse against seniors. Financial fraud ranges from promises of wealth to political and religious scams.
Naples Daily News (Naples, Fla.), 6/20/11
Sage Advice for Seniors: Older Adults and Transitions
By Lee Blanchard
The issue of older adults downsizing their possessions to move into a senior living community is the focus of this story, and an ongoing Wayne State University and University of Kansas study titled Household Moves Project. Researchers are trying to determine why downsizing is so difficult for seniors.
Detroit Free Press, 6/19/11
As weather warms, watch out for home repair scams
By Tammy Stables Battaglia
Wayne State University professor Peter Lichtenberg, who studies elder abuse, commented in a story on repair scams and thieves that usually prey on seniors who have little money and those who feel disrespected. His 2010 study found that 1 in 10 senior citizens in Detroit have been victimized by fraud.
AOL News, 10/13/11
It's a Good Bet you'll Find More Elders in the Casinos
By Robert W. Stock
Peter Lichtenberg, director of Wayne State’s >Institute of Gerontology, comments in a story >examining the gaming industry’s dependence on >the elderly during times of economic recession.
(October 27, 2011, 26: 58 minute clip, mp3 format)
Deputy Director Dr. Cathy Lysack talks with Bob Allison about new research by IOG student trainees on Aging and Function.
New health workshops (held by the HBEC) on cancer and men-only topics
(September 2011, 0:23:50 minute clip, mp3 format)
Our Community Education Coordinator, Pat Rencher, talks to Bob Allison about fascinating new health workshops on cancer and men-only topics.
(August 2011, 0:19:00 minute clip, mp3 format)
Associate Director of Research Tom Jankowski talks to radio host Tony Trupiano (AM 1310) about the economic struggles of Michigan's older adults.
(July 2011, online)
Wayne State University professor and clinical psychologist Hector Gonzalez told the Detroit Free Press on July 16. Gonzalez, the lead author on the study, went on to say, "Some cultures, particularly a lot of people in the black community, are not open or receptive to admitting to mental health problems. People end up acting out their mental health issues in ways that are destructive to themselves and others."
Is it realistic to expect the elderly to survive on social security alone?
(July 2011, online)
Thomas Jankowski, associate director of research at the Institute of Gerontology and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University, spoke with Craig Fahle about the Elder Security Index from Elder Law of Michigan. Jankowski discussed the economic security of people 65 years of age and older in the region and the rate of poverty among seniors in rural and urban areas.
Michigan senior citizens struggling economically, report says
(July 2011, online)
At least 1 in 4 senior citizens struggles to make ends meet, according to the paper by lead author Thomas Jankowski, "Invisible Poverty: New Measure Unveils Financial Hardship in Michigan's Older Population."
(July 2011, online)
Researchers at Wayne State University have found that more than one-third of Michigan's senior citizens are struggling to pay for food, housing, transportation and medical care they need.
WSU study: Spinal cord injury sufferers express positive view of their health
(July 2011, online)
Researchers at Wayne State University have found that adults with spinal cord injuries do not correlate the severity of their injuries with overall health.
(May 2011, 0:28:13 minute clip, mp3 format)
Outreach Coordinator Karen Daniels explains the mission of the Healthier Black Elders Center, new programs and the needs of our community.
(January 2011, pdf format)
IOG Director Peter Lichtenberg is quoted extensively in this detailed article from January's Downtown Birmingham & Bloomfield Magazine.
(February 2011, 0:27:46 minute clip, mp3 format)
Elham Mahmoudi, a Ph.D. candidate at the IOG, discusses the differences between racial and ethnic groups in their access to medical care. Older African Americans and Hispanics showed less access to physician care than Caucasians over the seven-year span of her research.
(January 2010, 0:27:34 minute clip, mp3 format)
Nearly half of all persons age 65 and older now use computers. Dr. Cresci has taught computer skills to hundreds of inner-city seniors to help them access medical information, increase social interaction and keep their information safe online. Learn her valuable tips to use computers with ease and wisdom.
(December 2010, 0:29:35 minute clip, mp3 format)
Depression in older adults is a serious problem often hidden from loved ones because symptoms can be confused with other ailments. Learn what depression looks like in older adults, medications and illnesses that can cause it, and tips for relieving it. (Interview with IOG spokesperson Cheryl Deep)
(December 2010, 0:19:59 minute clip, mp3 format)
IOG Director Peter Lichtenberg discusses why seniors fall prey to con artists; downsizing problems for Michigan's older adults who are "rusting in place," financial gerontology and latest research from the Gerontological Society of America.
(November 2010, online)
Peter Lichtenberg, psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience professor and director of Wayne State’s Institute of Gerontology, comments about local seniors who reported being scammed during the last year.
(November 2010, pdf format)
Seniors Count! is profiling older adults throughout southeast Michigan to find out who they are and what services they need. This joint project between the IOG and Adult Well-Being Services has posted its first results on the new website: www.seniorscount.org. Learn more about this critical database and future project goals.
Link to loneliness found as senior fraud runs rampant
(November 2010, online)
An excellent article about seniors being victimized by fraud appeared on the front page of today's Free Press. The article was inspired by Director Peter Lichtenberg's research into the circumstances, personalities and emotional status of seniors that leave them vulnerable to fraud and scams. We're especially pleased with the accurate and thorough reporting of these important results.
When Grandma is Mom
(October 2010, online)
Read about Detroit's grandparents who are bravely raising their grandchildren when their children cannot. Lifespan research done at the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute and the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State is cited in the article.
It's a Good Bet You'll Find Lots of Elders in Casinos
(October 2010, online)
The column notes the potential problems when older adults become fixated on gambling as a way to stave off loneliness and add excitement to their lives. Mr. Stock writes about aging issues, so expect to see more information from the Institute of Gerontology in his articles in the future.
(September 2010, 0:27:46 minute clip, mp3 format)
Dr. Allon Goldberg, faculty fellow at the IOG, gives tips for older adults on how to maintain balance skills and spot problems that could lead to a fall. Find out who is at risk and where to get help. Want to learn more about research on balance skills in older adults? Call Dr. Goldberg at 313-577-8608.
(July 2010, 0:27:45 minute clip, mp3 format)
Lisa Ficker, Ph.D., discusses the growing number of grandparents who are parenting or co-parenting their grandchildren. The number of grandparents raising grandchildren in Detroit has increased from about 17,086 in 1990 to almost 27,000 in 2000. An additional rise is expected in the latest census numbers. What are the benefits and potential problems when older adults raise young children?
(June 2010, 0:28:22 minute clip, mp3 format)
Terri Bailey describes the IOG's new Crossing Borders CE training on October 27 and the Be Assured, Your Insured seminar on Nov. 6. Crossing Borders brings financial planners, elder law attorneys, nurses, social workers, caregivers, and administrators together to understand the multiple aspects of care needed when older adults face major physical or cognitive changes. Be Assured, Your Insured offers "one-stop shopping" for information direct from insurers about health care coverage and health reform during this critical open enrollment period. To learn more, call the IOG at 313-577-2297.
(May 2010, 0:27:17 minute clip, mp3 format)
Dr. John Woodard, this year's faculty fellow at the Institute of Gerontology, discusses living to 100. He is a researcher with the Georgia Centenarian study working with about 244 persons age 98 to 108 to learn the important factors for a long, productive life. Alzheimer's and dementia are not inevitable, and attitude definitely matters. Click here for the complete interview.
(May 2010, online)
Having parents with a low level of education or an absent or deceased father during childhood may raise a person's risk for being disabled later in life, a recent study by two Wayne State researchers suggests. Principal investigator Mary Bowen, former National Institute on Aging postdoctoral research fellow at WSU and current resident of Tampa, Fla., and co-author Hector González, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Institute of Gerontology and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences in WSU’s School of Medicine, were published in the American Journal of Public Health for their study examining early childhood economic conditions and risk for disability in older adulthood.
(April 2010, 0:29:36 minute clip, mp3 format)
This Aging Well segment discusses the need for African Americans to volunteer for research. Patricia Rencher, the IOG's coordinator of research volunteers, talks about our Participant Resource Pool database of older African American adults who are willing to consider participating in research projects. The database always needs volunteers, so please call 313-577-2297, ext. 351, and ask for Pat to learn how you can help.
(March 2010, 19:33 minute clip, mp3 format)
Dr. Carmen Green, HBEC Director talks about the HBEC and its 2010 8th annual health reception on the Aging Well Radio Show hosted by Bob Allison.
(February 2010, 29:02 minute clip, mp3 format)
Dr. Olivia Washington, talks about what she is doing now that she is retrired on the Aging Well Radio Show.
(February 2010, online)
Pain—100 million Americans say they live with it, it is the leading cause of disability and it is still misunderstood by the medical establishment, especially in women and minorities.
(January 2010, 28:25 minute clip, mp3 format)
Cheryl Deep gives gives an overview of upcoming programs in 2010 on the Aging Well Radio Show hosted by Bob Allison.
(January 2010, online)
More than one in ten people in the U.S. suffer from major depression, yet most of them aren't getting appropriate treatment for the disease.
(January 2010, online)
Only about half of Americans diagnosed with major depression in a given year receive treatment for it and even fewer -- about one-fifth -- receive treatment consistent with current practice guidelines, according to data from national surveys supported by the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health.
(January 2010, online)
Mexican-Americans, Caribbean blacks, and African-Americans with depression were half as likely as others to receive any type of depression treatment or the recommended care.
(January 2010, online)
Depression is one of the most widespread disabilities in the United States, but the vast majority of depressed adults aren't getting proper treatment for it, according to a new studay.
(January 2010, online)
In national surveys of more than 15,000 adults, researchers found that 8.3% met the diagnostic criteria for major depression during the previous year. About half those diagnosed received some form of treatment for depression, but less than a quarter were treated using strategies considered effective and used in accordance with American Psychiatric Association practice guidelines, one study found.
(January 2010, online)
Treatment for major depression is abysmal, according to a study published today in the Archives of General Psychiatry. In a national survey of 15,762 people, it found that only half of all people with depression received treatment.
(January 2010, online)
About half of Americans with major depression do not receive treatment for the condition, and in many cases the therapies are not consistent with the standard of care, according to a new study.
(January 2010, online)
A study led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania indicating that the antidepressants Paxil and imipramine work no better than placebos (“than sugar pills,” said CNN) for people with mild to moderate depression.
(January 2010, online)
Researchers reported last week that antidepressant drugs seemed to be effective mainly in people with severe depression, not those with milder forms. Now another study is reporting that only about half of all Americans with depression receive treatment of any kind.
(January 2010, online)
Mexican Americans most likely to get no treatment or be undertreated, study finds. Dr. Hector Gonzalez, WSU School of Medicine Assistant Professor is quoted in BusinessWeek.