Sigma Phi Omega (SPO) is the national academic honor society in gerontology, for professionals who work with or on behalf of older persons. The UMBC chapter of SPO, Delta Lambda, has continued to grow, thanks to the strength of UMBC’s sociology, gerontology and Management of Aging Services programs.
At a recent induction ceremony welcoming new members, the group also honored graduating member Susan Hannum, who pioneered Delta Lambda’s annual senior center “Food Drop.” Continuing volunteer activities with local senior centers and organizations remains a primary goal for the year ahead. The society also plans to connect with Washington D.C.-area colleagues in the field to increase activism and advocacy related to aging and the life course.
Delta Lambda new inductees, May 2013
As injured survivors of the Boston bombing start their long and challenging road to recovery, Washington D.C.’s WTOP interviewed UMBC’s Seth D. Messinger yesterday on the topic of rehabilitation following traumatic limb loss.
Messinger, an associate professor of anthropology who works primarily with service members, notes, “the question is whether or not civilian patients are going to be able to have the kind of time in therapy or in rehab that military patients take for granted.” He also highlights the financial hardship that the recovery process might place on victims and their families, remarking, “It’s not only the individual who’s injured who then steps out of work, but also a caregiver.”
Today’s Boston Globe published a letter by Seth D. Messinger, associate professor in UMBC’s Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, in the opinion series “Voices on the Bombings.” Messinger, a medical anthropologist, is an expert on recovery from traumatic limb loss, specifically among military service members. In “The Need for Strong Rehabilitation Services” he writes,
Military patients with traumatic limb loss take part in a comprehensive rehabilitation program that provides them with surgical and medical care, physical and occupational therapy, and a wide variety of prosthetic limbs as well as opportunities to use them in a diverse array of sporting and recreational activities. Observers of the military’s physical rehabilitation program cannot help but be impressed by the extraordinary results achieved by patients, many of whom go on to attain a degree of physical functioning that approximates their pre-injury abilities. [...] Does the civilian health care system provide access to the kind of care that has been so successful with military patients?
Read the full letter through The Boston Globe.
The Washington Blade today highlights a talk presented by Ann Christine Frankowski, associate research scientist and associate director of UMBC’s Center for Aging Studies, and Imani Woody, of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), on challenges facing older LGBT people.
Frankowski’s work examines autonomy, independence and freedom for older adults, with a focus on minorities, especially sexual minorities. The article notes:
An estimated 1.4 to 3.8 million LGBT people in the U.S. are over the age of 65 with the number expected to double by 2030. In pursuing her research, Frankowski found that “there is no discussion of sexuality, no talk about sex. People are treated asexually, and the question of sexual orientation is totally ignored.” In addition, [assisted living] staff members, with whom there is a high turnover rate, do not respect individual choices, and supervision of these staff members is inadequate. As a result, many LGBT older adults are forced to return to the closet to remain safe.
To learn more about this issue, read the full article in the Washington Blade.
UMBC’s Center for Aging Studies has received a 17-month grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to expand the research project “Autonomy in Assisted Living: A Cultural Analysis.” This grant extends a four-year ethnographic study of autonomy to include dementia care units affiliated with three of the sites in the parent grant. The Principal Investigators of this research are Professor Robert L. Rubinstein and Associate Research Scientist Ann Christine Frankowski. The research team includes ethnographer Amanda D. Peeples and GRA Colleen R. Bennett.
Ann Christine Frankowski speaks about the study at a symposium earlier this year.
Seth D. Messinger, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, commented in today’s New York Times on the long-term process of recovering from limb loss, in the wake of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings.
Messinger told Times reporter James Dao that training for athletics gives amputees a clear way of measuring recovery incrementally. “Rehab for traumatic limb loss is not a short thing, and patients want to know what they have to do next,” he said. “A sports model offers people a set of stages. You’ll walk between parallel bars, then walk with canes, then learn to run.”
He also cautioned, however, that a sports model of recovery is not comprehensive and it can fail to address issues like PTSD and anxieties about future employment.
In addition to his work at UMBC, Messinger is the director of qualitative research for the Center for Rehabilitation Sciences Research at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Delta Lambda chapter Secretary Alida Loinaz
Sigma Phi Omega (SPO) is the national academic honor society in gerontology, for professionals who work with or on behalf of older persons. The UMBC chapter of SPO, Delta Lambda, has been tremendously active this year with volunteer activities, nurturing an ongoing relationship with Catholic Charities of Maryland, specifically two independent senior living apartment buildings near UMBC: DePaul House and St. Joachim House.
Delta Lambda has been assisting Congregate Housing Services (CHS) with a project to interview residents about their personal journeys coming to live at DePaul and St. Joachim, as well as their experiences utilizing the CHS program. These stories help to personalize the CHS program, which facilitates continued program funding at the local and state levels. Member Jennifer Howard-Doering has also led weekly computer classes for residents, helping the seniors learn to use email and other online tools.
Delta Lambda VP Kathy Humber and member Jennifer Howard-Doering
Finally, Delta Lambda hosted a festive St. Patrick’s Day party for residents in mid-March (see photos) and is planning an annual Senior Prom and summer barbeque.
To learn more about this work, contact Delta Lambda at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to this tremendous group of gerontology students for giving back to our senior community!
Clarence Lusane, professor of comparative and regional studies at American University, will present “The Black History of the White House: From Washington to Obama” at UMBC on Wednesday, March 27, 4:00 p.m. in the Albin O. Kuhn Library, 7th Floor.
This talk employs the White House as a prism to examine the historic and contemporary racial politics of the nation. From the building of the White House with slave labor to the “othering” of President Obama, Dr. Lusane explores the racial dynamics of one of the world’s most iconic buildings.
This Social Sciences Forum is co-sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the Language, Literacy and Culture Doctoral Program; the Departments of History, Africana Studies, American Studies, and Sociology and Anthropology.
The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) has selected professor Leslie A. Morgan, Sociology & Anthropology, as recipient of the David A. Peterson Award for her Gerontology & Geriatrics Education article “Paradigms in the Gerontology Classroom: Connections and Challenges to Learning.”
The AGHE will present Morgan with this “best paper” award at its 2013 annual meeting. The group notes, “The purpose of this award is to recognize excellence in scholarship in academic gerontology.” Manuscripts are evaluated on “innovation, the soundness of their approach, and their significance to and implications for gerontology and geriatrics education.”
Morgan’s research focuses on social dimensions of aging. A recent book explored how people understand what “quality” means in their search for an assisted living facility (watch video). She is is author, co-author or editor of six books and dozens of peer-reviewed articles and chapters. UMBC named her 2011-2012 Lipitz Professor in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, in recognition of her decades of exemplary scholarship, teaching and service to the university.
The AGHE also named UMBC Ph.D. student Colleen R. Bennett, gerontology, as honorable mention recipient for its Graduate Student Paper Award, recognizing her paper “What’s ‘Glee’ Got To Do With It? Lesbians’ Future Care Concerns and Popular Media.”
In a new Baltimore Sun article on managing grief during the holidays, Professor Robert Rubinstein, sociology and anthropology, offers advice for mourning families on how to make it through the season. “It’s a very difficult time,” he recognizes, before continuing, “That’s not to say people can’t have great holidays.”
Rubinstein’s research focuses on older adults’ experiences of loss and grief. He offers his impression that, “People do tend to take care of each other,” around the holidays, as they share memories of deceased loved ones, such as favorite traditions or recipes. Rubinstein notes that often younger generations worry more about the grief of a widowed parent instead of their own. He recommends that those in mourning take opportunities to speak about the deceased, suggesting, “A public expression of grief and feelings about it is a good thing.”