Older adults are valuable members of our society and they contribute a diversity of skills, knowledge, and experiences. Older adults and society, in general, benefit from their active involvement, including through volunteer work. Research suggests that volunteering in later life leads to better physical functioning, improved psychological well-being, and increased life expectancy. At present, however, the growing aging population is undervalued and underutilized as volunteers.
CITRA promotes active aging to improve the health and well-being of older adults and encourage greater community engagement. For more information on CITRA’s active aging programs, see Retirees in Service to the Environment (RISE) Program and Beyond the Pain.
The long-term care system faces many challenges today, including an increasingly impaired resident population, limited funding, and staffing shortages. As the population ages, there is more and more pressure on long-term care providers. Overworked, underpaid nursing home staff often struggle to meet the demands of residents. Meanwhile, residents and their families often fail to communicate effectively about their needs and expectations. This often results in tension between staff, residents, and residents’ families. These tensions may be amplified by other barriers, including differences in age, socioeconomic status, race, culture, ethnicity, and religion.
CITRA has focused on the development of intervention programs that use innovative models of staff training and development, including those that link family members as partners with direct care staff. For more information on CITRA’s long-term care programs, see Partners in Caregiving (PIC) Program, Partners in Caregiving in Assisted Living, and Resident-to-Resident Elder Mistreatment (R-REM) Program.
Older adults are an underutilized resource for younger generations with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and expertise. It is only in the past 100 years or so that people have turned to anyone other than the oldest person they knew to solve life’s problems. Not only do younger generations benefit from this untapped resource, research suggests that older adults with close intergenerational connections report less depression, greater life satisfaction, and better physical health.
CITRA promotes intergenerational relations to improve the health and well-being of older adults and benefit the larger society with their vast knowledge and life experiences. For more information on CITRA’s intergenerational programs, see Building a Community Legacy Together (BCLT) Program.
CITRA promotes tools for translational research as a way to bridge the gap between research and practice in the field of aging. CITRA helps “translate” research findings to people who can use them in their work with older persons. All too often, research findings are published in ways that are of interest only to other scientists.
Instead, CITRA seeks to create a variety of formats that are useful to practitioners. CITRA also strives to ensure research is relevant to the real-world concerns of practitioners by encouraging meaningful dialogue and partnerships between researchers and practitioners. For more information on CITRA’s translational tools, see Research-Practice Consensus Workshop Model (RPCW) and Translational Pilot Study Program (TPSP).