Dr. Yvonne Michael, an associate professor at the School of Public Health, recently received a $30, 000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study methods to address the growing number of seniors who prefer to “age in place,” meaning they prefer to remain in their homes and neighborhoods as long as possible. The research is critical to seniors in the United States as the number of people in the U.S. aged 65 or older is anticipated to more than double from 2000 to 2030.
The study, entitled “Aging and Place: Neighborhood and Health in a World Growing Older” calls for Dr. Michael to convene a workshop to bring together experts from various fields to address the challenges associated in creating and maintaining environments that allow people to age in place, as their health changes and physical capacity declines.
“We are currently dealing with the aging of the world’s population, the aging of the aged and the concentration of the world’s older people in urban areas,” said Dr. Michael. “There is growing attention on the influence of neighborhoods and place on health. It is an idea that is growing more accepted by researchers and policy-makers.”
The planned two-day workshop will gather behavioral scientists, health researchers, urban planners, geographers and architects to address the information gaps in this area and stimulate new research. The workshop will explore both U.S. and international perspectives.
“By bringing together experts and providing a forum for discussion, we have an opportunity to shape a research agenda to influence place-based policy strategies to improve health of older adults,” said Dr. Michael.
Dr. Michael earned her ScD in Epidemiology and Health and Social Behavior from the Harvard School of Public Health. She also received her SM in Health and Social Behavior from the Harvard School of Public Health, and BA in Government from the College of William and Mary.
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