OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

National Gerontology Experts Address Aging Issues

04/02/2007

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Nationally-recognized aging expert Judith Treas will be one of the keynote speakers at the Oregon State University Gerontology Conference, which will be April 9-10 at OSU's CH2M-Hill Alumni Center.

It is the largest annual conference on aging in the Northwest.

Treas will be speaking on “Creative Carers: Older Adults in America’s Immigrant Families.” Her lecture, set for noon on April 10, reflects her research on how older adult immigrants are linchpins who help the younger generations achieve their goals, and what all families can learn from “bi-continental grannies.”

The conference, which focuses this year on “Creative Caring,” is aimed at health and human services professionals, but also is open to the public.

Treas is a professor of sociology and director of the Demographic and Social Analysis Program at the University of California at Irvine. She will remain at OSU through spring term, as the 2006-07 Petersen Visiting Scholar in Gerontology and Family Studies. The program in OSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Sciences is funded through a gift from Jo Anne Leonard Petersen.

While at OSU, Treas will work on her book, “Older Adults in America’s Immigrant Families,” which features extensive interviews with older, foreign-born adults and second-generation grandchildren of immigrant families. Treas is the co-editor of the most recent edition of the “The Blackwell Companion to Sociology of Families,” and is the author of more than 60 journal articles.

The conference’s other keynote speaker is David Gross, manager of health and support services for the Washington D.C.-based AARP. Gross will speak at noon on April 9 on the subject of “Trends in Caregiving,” where he will share how the changing needs of caregivers are being addressed across the spectrum.

Sally Bowman, an associate professor in OSU's College of Health and Human Sciences and Extension Family Development specialist, said the conference is an opportunity for leading researchers and experts in gerontology to share ideas and discuss aging issues.

“From dementia and depression to legal issues and residential options, this conference really covers the gamut of issues in the field of aging,” Bowman said.

More than 35 educational sessions will be held during the two-day conference.

Several OSU faculty will give workshops on their research. Scott Safford, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, will present on “Anxiety and Depression in Older Adults: What Does It Look Like and What Can We Do?”

Vicki Schmall, a professor emeritus in gerontology and director of Aging Concerns in West Linn, will give a session on “Family Caregiving in Diverse Populations.” She will provide tips on how caregivers can work more effectively and sensitively with diverse groups.

“Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Medical Skepticism: Managing Symptoms and Seeking Legitimacy” will be presented by Kristin Barker, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology. Barker will outline how fibromyalgia sufferers manage their symptoms and seek legitimacy in the face of medical disparagement.

Mary Cluskey, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, will talk about what influences eating habits in “Keeping Appetites Up and Weight Down: Factors Related to Food Acceptability and Intake Among Older Adults.”

Katherine Hunter-Zaworski, director of OSU’s National Center for Accessible Transportation, will talk about the physiological changes of aging that affect driving skills. She also will discuss transportation options for people to age in place when driving a car is no longer an option.

The conference is co-sponsored by the OSU Extension Service Family and Community Development Program, OSU College of Health and Human Sciences, Oregon Geriatric Education Center, Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments, OSU Center for Healthy Aging Research and Samaritan Health Services.

Registration fees are $175 for the full two-day conference and $90 for one day. The registration fee for students is $50. Lunch is included. For information, visit the conference Web site at www.osugero.org or call 1-800-587-0238.