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Thursday, August 6, 2009

International Longevity Center-USA and Atria Senior Living Group Project

As people live longer and increasingly make the decision to relocate to a senior living community, their life satisfaction and happiness, or "subjective well-being" (SWB) in later life become issues of vital concern and are the basis for a new project linking the International Longevity Center-USA, a leading policy and research center on healthy aging, and Atria Senior Living Group, one of the nation's largest providers of independent and assisted living services.

The project, which will probe keys to satisfaction and well-being, a growing topic of research interest and practical application, is bringing together leading experts from health care, senior living organizations and related fields.

"Our project's outcomes will be of importance to older persons who leave their longtime home for a new residence and new community environment," says Dr. Robert N. Butler, president and CEO of the ILC-USA and one of the world's leading geriatricians.

"We've learned that fine facilities, thoughtful programming and good intentions are not enough to ensure true satisfaction and ultimate happiness for older people moving into new environments at a challenging time in their lives when they are fearful of losing independence," Dr. Butler says.

Recent studies show that older adults with low self-esteem, high depressive symptoms and low quality of life prior to a move are at high risk for poor outcomes in relocating to senior living communities, regardless of whether they relocate to independent or assisted living.

"The knowledge that we will gain from this groundbreaking study will allow us to provide even better service to older men and women who choose to make their home with us," said Julie Harding, Chief Operating Officer for Atria Senior Living Group. "Helping seniors and their families make the best possible transition into the senior living environment is something we want to ensure we're focusing on during those critical first few months."

While there is a growing body of systematic research about SWB, both in the U.S. and in Europe, little of it trickles down to those who can benefit most from it," according to Dr. Butler who hails Atria's effort and educational grant as "important leadership" that will benefit older persons, their families, medical institutions, and senior living communities.

The project organized by the ILC, a policy research center dedicated to healthy aging, productive engagement and quality of life, in partnership with Atria Senior Living Group, one of the largest and most comprehensive providers of independent and assisted living communities nationwide, includes a scientific consensus conference, a report of research findings and other efforts aimed at enhancing independent and assisted living options.

The ILC-USA recently hosted a conference gathering leading research, direct service, medical and health experts that probed several major questions on what we can derive from the latest empirical research, the experience of staff in senior living communities, and the experience of clinicians, to improve subjective well being and satisfaction outcomes for new residents of independent and assisted living environments.

The conference also featured several research reports by participants, including Eileen Rossen, PhD, from the University of North Carolina Greensboro who discussed the necessity for older adults to preserve the highest level of agency over personal life decisions during a senior housing transition-a high degree of "relocation self-efficacy" as she termed it in a recently published journal article and validated Relocation Self-Efficacy Scale.

Among those represented at the session were leading experts on aging, public policy, consumer advocacy, health care, and social work from such organizations as New York Presbyterian Hospital, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia's Aging and Public Health Program, Atria Senior Living Group, and the National Association of Senior Move Managers.

Experts participating in the conference series include:

-Robert N. Butler, M.D.
Founding President and CEO, the International Longevity Center

-Eileen Rossen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - Community Practice Department, University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Author of study: Older Adults Relocating to Independent Living Communities: Factors Affecting Depression and Quality of Life

-Leonard Kelly, Ph.D.
Research Scientist at the Center for Studies in Education and Human Development at Gallaudet University and Co-author of Wiz Quiz for older adults

-Julie Harding
Chief Operating Officer, Atria Senior Living Group

-Khristine Rogers
Vice President, Active Aging for Atria Senior Living Group

-Jennifer Rehm
Executive Director for Atria Glen Cove, NY location, Atria Senior Living Group

-J. Ryan Fuller, Ph.D.
Director of Research, Albert Ellis Institute (psychotherapy); Author of study: Interpersonal Relationships and Irrationality as Predictors of Life Satisfaction

-Ron Adelman, M.D.
Medical Director of the Irving Wright Center of Aging, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Co-Chief of the Division of Geriatrics Medicine and Gerontology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital

-Kathryn Haslanger
Vice President, Community Benefit and External Affairs, Visiting Nurse Service of NY

-Barry Gurland, M.D.
Sidney Katz Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Columbia University Stroud Center for the Study of Quality of Life in Health and Aging.

-Colin Milner
CEO of International Council on Active Aging in Vancouver

-Thuy-Tien Dam, Ph.D.
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

-Jaclyn Kelly, Ed.M.
Co-author of Wiz Quiz for older adults

-David Dworkin
CEO of Conductorcise

-Victoria Raveis, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Center for the Psychosocial Study of Health & Illness & Director, Aging & Public Health Program, Columbia University

-Mary Kay Buysse
National Association of Senior Move Managers

About the International Longevity Center-USA:
The International Longevity Center-USA is a research policy organization in New York City and has sister centers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and Israel. Led by Dr. Robert N. Butler, a world renowned physician specializing in geriatrics, the Center is a non-for-profit, non-partisan organization with a staff of economists, medical and health researchers, demographers and others who study the impact of population aging on society. The ILC-USA focuses on combating ageism, healthy aging, productive engagement and the financing of old age. The ILC-USA is an independent affiliate of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is incorporated as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity. More information on the ILC-USA can be found at www.ilcusa.org

About Atria Senior Living Group:
Atria Senior Living Group, the nation's fourth largest assisted living owner-operator, provides respectful, quality care that helps approximately 13,000 older people live life to the fullest. Atria communities are not nursing homes; rather, they are active communities where seniors can get the care they need to live as independently as possible. At the heart of Atria's approach is our belief that superior care depends on running a superior business. That's why Atria has developed some of the industry's most stringent measurement tools and comprehensive training protocols. To learn more, log onto www.atriaseniorliving.com.

News from International Longevity Center

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