Member News, October 2018

Grant Successes

Casey Golomski (University of New Hampshire) received a $9000 University of New Hampshire Research Affinity Group grant with colleagues in Social Work, Recreation Management, and Occupational Therapy, and the Center for Aging and Community Living to study social and health service utilization among low-income elders living in subsidized housing in northern New England. This summer, Golomski oversaw a research team that traveled the region surveying over 60 older adults in 6 homes using WHO-QOL and collaboratively-designed indicators to gauge service utilization, physical and psychological health, social relations, and housing. They will present a co-authored poster on preliminary findings at this year’s Gerontological Society of America meeting in Boston. Also this summer, Golomski received a University of New Hampshire Burnham Faculty Fellowship which supported a week-long rural writing retreat to study Ruth Landes’ National Anthropological Archives papers on aging and race relations.


Janelle TaylorJanelle S. Taylor (University of Washington) received an Administrative Supplement ($220,968 total award) to her NIA-funded project, “Health Outcomes for Patients with Dementia without Family Caregivers”.  This study uses data from the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, an ongoing prospective longitudinal study of dementia at Kaiser Permanente (formerly Group Health).  The supplement was the result of finding a rich new source of information about family and caregiving support for older adults with dementia: the narrative medical documents created for the consensus conference that is part of the ACT protocol for dementia diagnosis contain much information about the patient’s social context even though the original purpose of the documents is to provide diagnostic medical information.  These reports are not currently conceived of as data per se by ACT and most exist only as paper documents.  Using a high speed, high resolution scanner, and optical character recognition (OCR) software, Janelle’s team will turn this rich source of contextual information about patients’ lives into textual data.  This new data will be analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methodology.


Jason DanelyJason Danely (Oxford Brookes University), along with Siobhan O’Dwyer and Catriona McKenzie (University of Exeter), was recently awarded a £30k Wellcome Trust grant in humanities and social sciences for their project, entitled “Care, the great human tradition: A multi-disciplinary collaborative exploration of family care across time and culture.” The project combines anthropology, archaeology, history, and social gerontology, working not only with scholarly researchers but also people in the arts, advocates, and carers.


Conferences: Past and Future

Maitre Ballet Steve Coutereel (Grands Balet de Montréal) explains to workshop participants some principles of muscle memory in dancers.

Annette Leibing hosted a conference entitled Prevention (of Dementia): Past, Present, Expectations at the University of Montreal for two days in September (a similar conference will be hosted in Germany in July 2019). The conference was organized around two parts: Aging and the idea of prevention; and Preventing Dementia? Panelists included Kirsten Bell, George Weisz, Barbara Marshall, Alan Petersen, Jennifer Fishman, Thomas Foth, Melanie Rock, Steve Coutereel, José A. Morais, Stephen Katz, Silke Schicktanz, Alessandro Blasimme, and Annette. The full conference schedule, with presentation information, can be found here.


With the AAAs quickly approaching, information about panels and presentations of  interest to AAGE members can be found on the Aging and the Life Course Interest Group’s webpage. Please check out the presentations this year, come to the interlocutor session with Sharon Kaufman (Friday, 12:15-1:45PM, Marriott Ballroom 6), enjoy some AAGE collegiality and tasty food at our dinner (Friday, 6:15PM, Place TBD), and make your voice heard at the business meeting (Saturday, 2:00-3:30PM, Fairmont, Hillsborough).

Also, Devva Kasnitz reminds us that the Society for Applied Anthropologists Annual Meeting is coming up in March 2019. Abstract submission was extended through the end of October, so get those abstracts in. If you have one related to disability and aging, Devva writes, “The Society for Disability Studies is informally teaming up with SfAA 2019 to have a strand on disability in Portland. One session, organized by Patrick Devlieger, is on Aging into Disability and Aging with Disability. Last minute additions may be possible.”


AAGE’s New Membership Coordinator

Cristina DouglasAn AAGE breaking news story: Cristina Douglas (PhD Candidate, University of Aberdeen) will be AAGE’s new membership coordinator! Cristina research is focused anthropology of death and dying, and her current project is entitled “Bonding at the Very End: Emerging Personhood during End-of-Life and Palliative Care through Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT)”. You can read more about her and her work here. Please join us in welcoming Cristina, and share your ideas for maintaining and growing our membership with her!


Publication News

Elana Buch’s book, Inequalities of Aging: Paradoxes of Independence in American Home Care, recently was published by New York University Press. As NYU Press’s website states, “Inequalities of Aging explores the ways in which these inequalities play out on the ground as workers, who are disproportionately women of color and immigrants, earn poverty-level wages and often struggle to provide for themselves and their families. The ethnographic narrative reveals how two of the nation’s most pressing concerns—rising social inequality and caring for an aging population—intersect to transform the lives of older adults, home care workers, and the world around them.”

To hear more about the book and Elana’s research on home care workers in the US, you can also tune into a recent podcast of New Books in Sociology.


In addition to his grant success, Casey Golomski’s book, Funeral Culture: AIDS, Work, and Cultural Change in an African Kingdom, was recently published by Indiana University Press. According to the publisher’s website, “Golomski’s ethnography shows how AIDS posed challenging questions about the value of life, culture, and materiality to drive new forms and practices for funerals. Many of these forms and practices―newly catered funeral feasts, an expanded market for life insurance, and the kingdom’s first crematorium―are now conspicuous across the landscape and culturally disruptive in a highly traditionalist setting. This powerful and original account details how these new matters of death, dying, and funerals have become entrenched in peoples’ everyday lives and become part of a quest to create dignity in the wake of a devastating epidemic.”



Janelle Christensen’s book, Eldercare, Health, and Ecosyndemics in a Perilous World, also was published in October by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. From the publisher’s website: “Dr. Christensen presents the scientific evidence for climate change, the archaeological record on how humans responded to climatic shifts in the past, and explains how the current challenges are different. Using the theoretical framework of Singer’s Syndemics, she explores how aging bodies are more vulnerable to increased environmental toxins, which is further exacerbated by climate fluctuations. A central question is: how do we value our environment, our elders, and make decisions about well-being throughout the life course?”



The articles for a special issue of Culture, Health and Sexuality entitled “Risky Intimacies across the Lifespan” have been published online, and AAGE member Jean Schensul co-edited the issue and contributed an article with colleagues:

Schensul, Jean and Kristin Kostick. Risky Intimacies across the Lifespan. Culture, Health, and Sexuality. [online first]

Schensul, Jean J., Kim E. Radda, Candace Corbeil. Sexual Culture in Low-Income Older Adult Housing: Norms, Behaviours, and Risks. Culture, Health, and Sexuality. [online first]



Other publications:

Leibing, Annette. 2018. Situated Prevention: Framing the “New Dementia”. The Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. [online first]


Seaman, Aaron T., Melissa Steffen, Taisha Doo, Heather S. Healy, Samantha L. Solimeo. 2018. Metasynthesis of Patient Attitudes Toward Bone Densitometry. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 33(10): 1796-1804.


Seaman, Aaron T., Kimberly Dukes, Richard M. Hoffman, Alan J. Christensen, Nicholas Kendell, Andrew L. Sussman, Miriam Velez-Bermudez, Robert J. Volk, Nitin A. Pagedar. 2018. The Complicated ‘Yes’: Decision-Making Processes and Receptivity to Lung Cancer Screening among Head and Neck Cancer Survivors. Patient Education and Counseling. 101(10): 1741-1747.


O’Hare, Ann M., Claire Richards, Jackie Szarka, Lynne V. McFarland, Whitney Showalter, Elizabeth K. Vig, Rebecca Sudore, Susan Crowley, Ranak Trivedi, Janelle S. Taylor. 2018. Emotional Impact of Illness and Care on Patients with Advanced Kidney Disease. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 13(7): 1022-1029.

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