Current
Research
that's helping older adults
Age Well

Every day brings the promise of new possibilities and important breakthroughs

Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging conducts research that offers important implications for the senior living industry. Committed to research that impacts the lives of older adults, the Institute continually looks for insights about senior living in order to benefit organizations and programs that are helping older adults to Age Well.

  • Life Plan Community Resident Wellness Assessment

    Researchers are working with staff from from Moorings Park to develop a wellness score/assessment that is specific to residents of Life Plan Communities. Objectives include motivating residents to participate in wellness behaviors, attracting residents to Life Plan Communities, and providing staff with a measure of wellness within their communities that they might then use to help determine programming.

    Catherine O’Brien, PhD, MPHcobrien@matherlifeways.com
  • Life Plan Community Health and Well-Being Study

    Conducted in partnership with Northwestern University, this five-year longitudinal study will evaluate the impact of living in a Life Plan Community on residents’ cognitive, physical, and psychosocial health and well-being. Residents will be asked to take a survey each year, which monitors attitudes, perceptions, and health.

    Catherine O’Brien, PhD, MPHcobrien@matherlifeways.com
  • Storytelling between Residents and Staff: Does It Increase Social Support, Empathy, and Overall Sense of Community?

    This study will examine whether storytelling has benefits for staff/resident level interactions within senior living. The proposed study will use intra-Life Plan Community storytelling classes (i.e., involving staff and residents) to examine the effects that sharing personal narratives has on the level and frequency of empathy within resident-staff relationships.

    Roscoe Nicholson, MArnicholson@matherlifeways.com
  • Senior Living Employees’ Perceptions of Aging

    This study tests whether senior living employees who have more positive views of aging are more likely to interact with residents in ways that encourage greater independence and self-direction, which can promote greater resident well-being. Participants will be invited to complete a confidential online survey about their views of aging and employee engagement.

    Jennifer L. Smith, PhDjsmith@matherlifeways.com
  • The Role of Emotional Labor in Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

    Conducted in partnership with Michigan State University this study focuses on developing a training to help staff handle internal emotional challenges that can occur while interacting with residents. Staff will be surveyed before and after the training to assess its effectiveness.

    Catherine O'Brien, PhD, MPHcobrien@matherlifeways.com
  • Transparency of Operations and Resident Involvement in Decision-Making

    This study will survey senior living staff to explore interests among residents in Life Plan Communities for greater transparency and involvement in decision-making. The study will identify strategies that communities are using to operate efficiently while still addressing residents’ interests.

    Catherine O’Brien, PhD, MPHcobrien@matherlifeways.com
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of No-Dues Villages

    While for the most part, Villages are paid membership organizations, some have adopted a no-dues model, where community members are able to join for free. This could be an important strategy for expanding Village membership and addressing criticisms related to lack of racial and economic diversity. This study aims to shed light on this model, including potential advantages and disadvantages for members.

    Roscoe Nicholson, MArnicholson@matherlifeways.com
  • Examination of Non-Participation in the Village Model

    Villages have reported that ongoing recruitment and retention of members is critical to their sustainability. This project will examine the reasons for non-participation in Village programs, including the attitudes of older adults who did not renew their membership and those who were “not ready yet” or chose not to join for other reasons.

    Roscoe Nicholson, MArnicholson@matherlifeways.com
  • Effect of Late-life Employment on Brain Health

    This project examines the importance of employment and related factors as a risk factor or preventive tool against age-related cognitive decline. Data will be examined from existing brain scans in conjunction with additional data gathered on employment history, type, and other related factors. The results of this investigation may transform how we view our occupational life in terms of physical, neural and cognitive health.

    Roscoe Nicholson, MArnicholson@matherlifeways.com
  • Raising Resilience

    This project seeks to determine the effectiveness of a program to enhance older adults’ resilience and well-being. Participants will be recruited from The Mather and Splendido, as well as a San Diego-based community. The main objective of the study is to test if this group program, focusing on positive perceptions of aging, gratitude, enjoyment, and goal setting to increase values-driven activities, leads to an increase in older adults’ resilience and well-being.

    Jennifer L. Smith, PhDjsmith@matherlifeways.com

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