Is 60 the New 40? Defiant Baby Boomers Redefine Aging | Dr. Pruchno contributes to the discussion of the aging of the Baby Boomer generation and how it connects to the ORANJ BOWL study.
It is with excitement to announce the launch of Time 5 of ORANJ BOWL℠!
Starting July 1st, ORANJ BOWL℠ participants will be contacted to participate in Time 5 of the ongoing study. The goal of the Time 5 interview is to follow-up with participants about their health, well-being, functioning, living environments, and ability to cope with Hurricane Sandy. Our grant funds us to understand how Hurricane Sandy impacts an individual’s functional ability. We also hope to learn about older adults’ resilience over time after the Hurricane. We will ask many of the same questions we asked at Time 1 and assess some additional constructs.
In specific, the Time 5 interview will ask about: abilities (functional, sensory), health and health behaviors (medical conditions and services, memory, sleep, pain, smoking, exercise, BMI), disaster exposure, psychological well-being (depression, affect, mastery, resilience, successful aging, life satisfaction, personality), social well-being (life events, social support, marital status and quality, partner functional ability, caregiving, loneliness), neighborhoods (location, safety, disorder, social cohesion, aesthetics, land use), and demographics (income, employment, relocation history, current residence, home environment).
Time 5 (2015-2016) is funded by the National Institute on Aging.
Dr. Pruchno and her research project effort on the effects of Hurricane Sandy on the older adults was featured in South Jersey Times.
The National Institute on Aging awarded a 5-year grant for $2.8 Million to Dr. Pruchno. The project “Effects of Hurricane Sandy on Functional Limitation Trajectories of Older People” will enable Pruchno’s team to understand the effects of a natural disaster on older people. Results from this project will inform development of interventions that will reduce disability, improve the quality of life, and reduce health care utilization and expenditures.
The following is the project abstract:
Although natural disasters present serious challenges for residents of affected communities, many questions about their effects on the physical health of older adults remain. The long-term goal is to inform intervention and resource planning efforts designed to mitigate the effects of disasters on older people, reduce health care utilization and expenditures and improve the quality of life of older people.
The objective of this application is to identify how trajectories of functional limitations are affected by disaster. Our central hypothesis is that the majority of older adults exposed to disaster are resilient, healthcare utilization and expenditures associated with some functional limitation trajectories in the wake of disaster are significant, and pre-disaster characteristics of individuals and communities can distinguish trajectories of resilience and vulnerability.
Our hypothesis was formulated based on our previous empirical and conceptual work and on work by others. The rationale for the proposed research is that, once it is known how disasters affect functional limitation trajectories, interventions can be developed that will reduce the vulnerability of older adults and increase their resilience in the face of disaster, resulting in new and innovative approaches to improving the quality of life for older people.
The hypothesis will be tested by pursing three specific aims:
(1) To ascertain the effects of a natural disaster on the functional limitation trajectories of older adults;
The aims will be addressed by building on a longitudinal panel of 1,977 people aged 65 to 80 when Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey. Three post-hurricane self-reported assessments would complement data from two prior data collection efforts. These data would be linked with Medicare/Medicaid claims data. This work is significant because it is the first step in a continuum of research expected to lead to the development of interventions that will bolster the capabilities of older people to face natural disasters without increasing functional limitations.
The proposed research is innovative, because it:
(1) focuses on functional limitations, a linchpin in the disability cycle,
Knowledge from this project will advance understanding of disaster's effects on older people, and inform interventions likely to improve their quality of life, both before and after disasters strike.
"What was the likelihood that my adopted daughter would have my father's hazel eyes and my mother's mental illness?"
In Dr. Pruchno's memoir, Surrounded By Madness: A Memoir of Mental Illness & Family Secrets, she shares her experience dealing with mental illness in her family through her mother and her adopted daughter. The book has garnered positive reviews, and it is now available at online booksellers.
Dr. Pruchno has a new peer-reviewed article titled, "Neighborhood Food Environment and Obesity in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Individual and Neighborhood Effects" published in American Journal of Public Health.
In this paper, Dr. Pruchno and her colleagues tested hypotheses about the relationship between neighborhood-level food sources and obesity using the ORANJ BOWL study. They found that densities of fast-food establishments and storefronts were positively associated with obesity.
To read the article, please click here.
Dr. Pruchno will begin her role as a blogger on PsychologyToday.com, the website of the magazine Psychology Today, featuring blogs written by expert authors including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, science journalists, and more.
Titled All in the Family: Mental Illness and Caregiving Across the Generation, she will blog on every Wednesday about a topic related to mental health and/or illness. She will examine the effects that a host of mental illnesses such as mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, ADHD, autism, and personality disorders has on the people who suffer from them, their family members, and our communities. She will also comment on current events as well as on findings from the latest research studies.All in the Family: Mental Illness and Caregiving Across the Generation.
To read the first blog post, "I'm as Mad as Hell, and I'm Not Going To Take This Anymore," click here.
On September 30, 2013, Dr. Pruchno was awarded $680,000 by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response (ASPR). The goal of the 2-year project, “Social Capital and Resilience of Older People Exposed to Hurricane Sandy” is to protect the health and safety of older Americans during emergencies, foster resilience in response to emergencies, and inform the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
Project Description:The New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging in conjunction with community-based organizations and an interdisciplinary team of scholars having expertise studying aging, disasters, and resilience using mixed analytic methods proposes a 2-year project whose goal is to protect the health and safety of older Americans during emergencies, foster resilience in response to emergencies, and inform the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
The objective of the project is to identify aspects of neighborhood social connectedness (social capital) promoting resilience of older adults exposed to Hurricane Sandy. To test a model positing that neighborhood social capital plays a critical role in determining the resilience of older people exposed to disaster, we will:
The outcomes of the project include identification of: (1) ways that neighborhood social capital affects resilience of older people exposed to a natural disaster and (2) actionable strategies for increasing resilience of older people.
Results will inform interventions promoting neighborhood social capital, reducing the vulnerability of older adults and increasing their resilience to disaster.
George A. Bonanno, Ph.D., Teachers College Columbia University
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