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Partnership Provides Services for Seniors with Dementia Partnership Provides Services for Seniors with Dementia

At the Golden Corner Respite Care program in Seneca, Clemson doctoral student Caitlin Torrence sat next to a woman with Alzheimer’s who rarely spoke. Torrence began humming Christmas music, and for the first time, she heard the woman’s voice as she sang the words to the song.

Torrence and Clemson’s Institute for Engaged Aging director Cheryl Dye are hoping for this same kind of success in a new dementia care program they started in September in Central.

Dye co-authored a $48,500 grant proposal with Pickens County Meals on Wheels that was funded by the S.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging Improvement Grant to reopen the Central Community Center, where services had not been offered since 2014. Thanks to a $20,000 Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center grant, the program known as the Brain Health Club has the necessary start-up funding. Read More.

Marieke Van PuymbroeckFaculty Spotlight: Marieke Van Puymbroeck

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management professor Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Ph.D., has a passion for recreational therapy. 

She’s also the president of American Therapeutic Recreation Association, and has been with the Institute for Engaged Aging since she moved to Clemson six years ago. 

During her on-campus interview, she spoke with the Director of IEA, Cheryl Dye, about working with the institute. And she eventually became a faculty associate. 

She said it’s been a perfect fit. 

“The vast majority of my work is with older adults,” Van Puymbroeck said. “I’ve been particularly interested in working with people with neurological conditions, utilizing evidence-based complementary and integrative health interventions. My research primarily has been with the use of yoga in individuals with neurological conditions and how to reduce falls and improve balance and quality of life in this population.”

Most recently, she’s partnered with Clemson faculty Cheryl Dye, Ph.D., Karen Kemper, Ph.D., and graduate student Em Adams to work on a study about fall risk prevention. They are partnering with Oconee Memorial Hospital to work on developing a balance clinic for their patients and for the community.

“We really want to empower people so they can feel like they can take control of their fall risk,” Van Puymbroeck said. “When people have fallen, they become afraid and there’s this huge cascade of fear that happens, called a fear of falling. They stop doing things they take pleasure in, they stop doing enjoyable activities, and stop doing health promoting activities. This is a vicious cycle and hopefully we’ll be able to intervene to reduce that fear of falling, so that people get back to living the life they want.”

Richard Pak, Ph.D., a psychology professor and faculty associate in the Clemson University Institute for Engaged AgingClemson professor Richard Pak, Ph.D., publishes book on aging and technology

Richard Pak, Ph.D., a psychology professor and faculty associate in the Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging (IEA), has co-edited a book, “Aging, Technology, and Health” which addresses how technology can advance quality of life for older adults.

Other IEA Faculty Associates, Kelly Caine, Dina Battisto, Ellen Vincent and Cheryl Dye, contributed book chapters.

The book illustrates how innovative researchers are helping older adults manage health and other issues required for aging in place through the design and use of advanced technology.

It is a product of Pak’s research interest in the psychological factors surrounding the design and use of autonomous technology, such as artificial intelligence-based assistants in phones and medical devices. This technology will increasingly become prevalent in all facets of daily life and may have an especially large impact on the daily activities of older adults by supporting their health, transportation or even employment, Pak said.

"It is imperative that we design autonomous machines to be understandable and usable for people of all ages. Misunderstandings between humans and autonomy can have very negative consequences on safety, health, and well-being," Pak said. "We hope that by identifying important research issues and presenting solutions in a case-study format, researchers, practitioners, designers and policy-makers will make well-informed decisions about how to best support older adults’ well-being."

Pak has been a professor at Clemson for the past 12 years and has collaborated with IEA Faculty Associates for several years.

Mary Anne Taylor, a psychology professor and researcher with Clemson University’s Institute for Engaged AgingAARP seeks IEA faculty associate to study aging in the workforce

Mary Anne Taylor, a psychology professor and researcher with Clemson University’s Institute for Engaged Aging, was recently awarded a grant by the AARP Foundation to study aging and workplace training. She and Dr. Jennifer Bisson are exploring the sensory, cognitive, and social changes associated with aging and how those interact with psychological demands of many jobs.

“People often assume that training is a one-size- fits all scenario,” Taylor said. “But the nature of training has different implications for different demographic groups. Understanding how sensory changes, cognitive changes, social support, and self-efficacy impact any learning situation is particularly important for the Baby Boomer generation."

She also recently completed a book chapter for how to recruit and retain older workers in industry as most of the traditional models of retention and recruitment are targeted toward early-career employees. In this chapter, she proposes a workforce analysis as an initial step in identifying jobs that may be hard-hit by the upcoming wave of retirement.

SCTR Scientific Retreat on Aging Related ResearchIEA faculty associate, doctoral students present at aging conference

IEA Faculty Associate Dr. Lingling Zhang, and doctoral students Caitlin Torrence in Public Health Sciences and Pai Liu in Planning, Design, and the Built Environment have been accepted to present at the SCTR Scientific Retreat on Aging Related Research, Sponsored by the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research (SCTR) Institute and MUSC Center on Aging . The retreat will be held on Friday, October 20, 2017 at MUSC.

Dr. Cheryl Dye

Clemson public health science professor to speak on best practices to promote healthy aging at conference

Clemson University professor Cheryl Dye will be the lead general session presenter at the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging Conference in Greenville held on Sept. 10-13. Dye, who also serves as the director of Clemson’s Institute for Engaged Aging (IEA), will speak about her work with the university’s institute and its faculty associates as well as a specific talk on “Senior Mobility: Key to Engaged Aging.” She said she is excited to have been invited to speak by the Area Agency on Aging leaders in South Carolina, which serves as the host state this year. Read More

Dr. Ye Luo Awarded IEA Grant FundingDr. Ye Luo Awarded IEA Grant Funding

Dr. Ye Luo, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice and Dr. Lingling Zhang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, have been awarded IEA funding for their project, “Neighborhood Environment and Cognitive Decline among Older Adults in China: Evidence from China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS)”. They plan to conduct their research between June 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018 and will then use pilot project findings to apply for a National Institute of Health R03 Grant. Congratulations to Dr. Luo and Dr. Zhang and best wishes for a successful submission to NIH!