CEAH Newsletter January 2020

Happy New Year to our Legacy Scholars!

Happy 2020!  The CEAH is now a year and a half old and going strong! Through lots of collective effort and commitment, we have created a robust platform for aging and health related research consistent with our applied mission. I have so many people to thank for this, notably our now 400+ Legacy Scholars and our amazing faculty and students at UNE. This year will bring more consistent communication via this new e-newsletter format, created so ably by my assistant, Kelly Abrams. Each issue will feature findings from research our center is supporting. Dr. Julie Peterson’s daily diary project is our focus here. Over 100 Scholars volunteered for this groundbreaking study. In addition to myself and Kelly, the CEAH team includes Associate Director, Dr. Regi Robnett, and Community Gerontologist, Joseph Wolfberg. Two student assistants – Carly Woolard (MSW) and Mariam Maloyan (Medicine) – round out the group. All will be present at our next

Legacy Scholars Coffee & Conversation event on Friday, 2/28/20, 9-11:15 AM, at the Ferry Beach Conference Center in Saco.
Click HERE for details and to register. Our topic is the health benefits and risks of marijuana use in aging, which should be very interesting. 

Also new in 2020 is our second round of Legacy Scholar surveying.
At entry, each Scholar completes a 30-minute general health and wellness survey. We use these data to support student research projects (e.g., by MPH student, Diana Mayo), and also target specific study invitations.
Be on the lookout for an email for your second (“T2”) survey request at your one year anniversary in the program. Flyers for other open studies are listed at the bottom of this message with download links. 

2020 will also be a year for new partnerships across Maine. We are joining with investigators at Jackson Laboratories, Northern Light Health, and UMaine on a large grant to study cognitive aging. Links between sleep quality and memory are a focus. We are also supporting a study with the Department of Psychology at UMaine on this same topic. The data from Scholars who take part will help enrich research at UNE, a win for both institutions. UNE’s success lies in our collaborations! 

Speaking of collaborations, I will be traveling to the University of Oulu in Finland later this Spring to present on our work and meet with faculty about joint projects. This is part of the UNE North initiative and our institutional membership in the University of the Arctic. A colleague from the University of Iceland, Halldór Sigurður Guðmundsson, will spend two weeks at UNE in early April, to also discuss collaboration. Be on the lookout for an invite to meet Halldor! 

We had planned a Legacy Scholars Study Abroad trip to UNE’s Morocco Campus in June of this year. A team of volunteers helped plan an amazing itinerary. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough interest to proceed this year. We are targeting June, 2021, for a reboot. I will have more to say on this at our 2020 LSP Research Breakfast on Saturday, June 27th in Innovation Hall on our Portland Campus.
Click HERE to RSVP and hold your seats. Scholars may invite one guest (spouse, partner, friend). 

Thanks to the hard work of Dr. Regi Robnett and others, 2020 also promises to be a banner year in our collaboration with DC Management and their Motherhouse at Baxter Woods 55+ retirement community near our Portland Campus. The CEAH Satellite Office opened in June, 2019, and provides a place for residents, students and faculty to meet and learn from each other. New programming in 2020 will target fall risk, enhanced nutrition, and oral health promotion. 

Writing these letters always reminds me of more news to share. The CEAH will partner with a new program – the North Star Chorus – which will engage persons with dementia and their care partners in song. North Star is founded by UNE adjunct instructor, Deirdre McClure, and modeled after similar choruses in NY and Minneapolis. The CEAH is working with North Star to develop an evaluative research plan to demonstrate impacts on health and wellness for participants. Through public performance, North Star will also challenge stereotypes in our community about what older people with dementia can still do and contribute. Stay tuned for more on this exciting new partnership!

Volunteer Opportunities

E-Reader Study
This study is exploring how older adults are adapting to E-readers such as iPads and Kindles and how to optimize this new technology for them. Email for more information on how to participate.    

Sleep Study
People are constantly developing and changing throughout the course of a lifetime. Specifically, sleep patterns and quality are known to change as people get older. Dr. Thane Fremouw and Jessica Aronis, graduate student, are conducting research to assess a new sleep monitoring device that identifies sleep movements and breathing changes throughout the night. If you have questions or are interested in participating in this study, please contact Jessica Aronis.  

Unexpected, Terminal, or Paradoxical Lucidity Study Drs. Thomas Meuser and Regi Robnett are seeking participants for a brief survey. We are collecting eye witness accounts (stories) about something call “paradoxical lucidity.” This is when someone with advanced cognitive impairment becomes suddenly lucid and able to interact meaningfully with others (often just prior to death). If you have witnessed this, we’d appreciate knowing of your experience. Call Regi Robnett at (207) 221-4102 or email her for more details.
Click HERE to take survey!

Legacy Scholars Coffee & Conversation Friday, February 28, 10am-11:30am
Ferry Beach Retreat & Conference Center, 5 Morris Ave., Saco, ME 04072 We are thrilled to be back at Ferry Beach with another interesting topic. Dr. Sydney Springer of UNE will be presenting Marijuana for Health and Wellness in Aging: What does Science say? In the event of inclement weather and we need to cancel, we will send out an email as soon as we know. If you have any questions, feel free to call Kelly at (207) 221-4139. Register for LSP Coffee & Conversation Here!

Dr. Regi Robnett and Kelly Abrams continue to engage residents at the Motherhouse. CEAH strives to meet the needs of the people living there in tangible ways. 

New Programs Coming Soon:

Brain Fitness Fun, January 30, 2-3pm
4 week program designed to give tips, tricks & exercises to keep the brain in tip-top shape.

A Matter of Balance, Feb 4, 2-4pmAn 8 week program based on discussion and designed to facilitate problem-solving and brainstorming to reduce the risk of falling, and empowers you to find solutions that fit your lifestyle along with a balance and strength exercise program. You MUST sign up ahead of time to participate. Call Regi (207)221-4102 if interested.[top]

Featured Researcher & Findings

Dr. Julie Peterson & Research Assistant, Hannah Christian

Could Gossip Every Day Keep the Doctor Away?

Dr. Julie Longua Peterson, Associate Professor of psychology and women’s and gender studies program director, along with her undergraduate research assistant, Hannah Christian (PSY ’20) are currently exploring the benefits of gossip in the daily life of older adults. We used an experience sampling methodology to explore how older adults (60+) who engage in gossip during the day may experience personal and interpersonal benefits that night, and whether this effect is moderated by personality differences. Data collection on this project was completed this summer thanks to a wonderful group of participants in the Legacy Scholars program. Currently, Dr. Peterson is teaching Hannah how to analyze the data using multilevel modeling (an advanced statistical technique used to explore nested data). The results of these analyses will be presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), the premier international event for more than 3,800 social and personality psychologists. Excitingly, Hannah was selected along with an elite group of undergraduate students to present these findings in a special undergraduate research session at the conference. We look forward to sharing these and more findings from our work with the Legacy Scholars.