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Miami University Oxford, Ohio Winter 2011

“Age is an opportunity no less than youth itself.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Scripps Named Center of Excellence p. 1 Recent Publications

Scripps Named Ohio Center of Excellence!


Updates from Upham & Matters of Fact 3 Center of Excellence (continued) 4 Dissertation Fellowship Assisting Spiritual Pursuit 5 Ethics, Adaptation Stressed at Cottrell Lecture


Alumni: Where Are They Now? 7 Calendar


We are all aging. Age and Agency, an original publication of the Scripps Gerontology Center, serves to examine the dynamics of aging while providing information on the contributions we make to improve the lives of aging people. Through this newsletter, we intend to update friends, colleagues, and students about our activities in research and scholarship, education and training, and professional service.

Scripps Director Suzanne Kunkel with OBR Chancellor Eric Fingerhut (right) and Miami President David Hodge at Center of Excellence Ceremony at the Knolls of Oxford.

The Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) designated the Scripps Gerontology Center as one of the state’s higher education Centers of Excellence in a formal announcement by OBR Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut at the Knolls of Oxford on Jan. 20, 2011. The designation means that, in the category of Cultural & Societal Transformation, Scripps has been identified as a unique and exemplary center for gerontological studies among the state’s various colleges and universities. As such, Scripps will receive special OBR support in attracting, developing and retaining world-class talent in gerontological education and research. The Center of Excellence selection is subsequent to OBR Chancellor Eric Fingerhut’s 2009 call for the state’s higher education institutions to identify their most promising

academic programs and research centers so that Ohio may eliminate duplication of effort, streamline funding and better promote exemplary scholarship (especially among publicly funded schools) as the state strives to make high-quality higher education more affordable. OBR has thus far named 41 Centers of Excellence throughout Ohio in the following six areas: Biomedicine and Health Care (14, including Miami’s Center for Structural Biology and Metabonomics); Advanced Energy (9); Advanced Transportation and Aerospace (8); Agriculture and Food Production (1); Enabling Technologies: Advanced Materials & Sensors (6); and Cultural & Societal Transformation (3). (more on page 4)

Age and Agency, Vol. 20

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Winter 2011

Recent Scripps Publications

New Scripps Reports on Nursing Home Bed Surplus, Older Mindset Now Available “A Review of Ohio’s Nursing Home Certificate of Need Programs: Implications for Practice and Policy,” by Shahla Mehdizadeh, Takashi Yamashita, and Bob Applebaum. Ohio will have about 5,215 more nursing home beds than the 88,000 or so it will likely need in the year 2015, according to an analysis and report published in January 2011 by the Scripps Gerontology Center. This report, based on a study by Scripps for the Ohio Department of Health, examines Ohio’s revised (2009) Certificate of Need (CON) law, with a focus on its new policy of allowing the transfer of nursing home beds from counties with an oversupply to counties with an undersupply. The oversupply estimates are based on a formula allowing for the transfer of beds on the basis of the number of each of Ohio’s 88 county’s current nursing home beds and population age 65 and older (54.3 beds per 1,000 population 65-plus at a 90 percent occupancy rate). Ohio now has about 93,003 nursing home beds with a presumed 90 percent (83,703) occupancy. A detailed analysis of nursing homes and occupancy rates in Ohio’s 88 counties indicates that 12 counties (Franklin, Summit and Trumbull the largest among them) will be short of beds while 26 counties, including Cuyahoga and Hamilton, will have an oversupply by the year 2015. The oversupply comes despite certain increases in the number of older Ohioans, partly due to the increase in assisted living facilities and available home- and communitybased services. The report states that “the (CON) formula for calculating bed

supply may need to be modified as a result of long-term care system change.” Since some counties have clusters of nursing homes bordering on county lines (and are thus able to readily serve residents from adjoining counties), the report notes that “county boundaries may not be the appropriate geographic unit for determining the availability of nursing home beds.” The report further observes that the formula does not address the overall abundance of beds in Ohio.

GenerAges: Generations as They Age,” by Emily Robbins, Amber Cable, Suzanne Kunkel, Jane Straker, and Mike Payne. The year 2011 represents a landmark year in the field of aging, as the first baby boomers begin reaching the age of 65. This milestone provided the impetus for the GenerAges project, which offers a snapshot of the historical events and cultural trends during the 20th century that shaped the lives of three genera-

tions: those turning 65, 85 and 100 in the year. The goal of the GenerAges project is to provide information that can help students of gerontology and those who work with older adults appreciate the forces that have shaped individuals in each cohort. Inspired by the Beloit College Mindset list, the GenerAges report goes further by including information about population trends, the economy and other societal changes. Readers will find out, for example, that the average American life expectancy in 1930 was just short of 60 years, compared with today’s 78; that the median age of the U.S. population has increased by more than a third since 1920, from 26 to today’s 37; that while 27 percent of the American workforce was in farming in the 1920s, less than 2 percent of it is now; that the federal minimum wage has increased from 25 cents at its inception in 1938 to its present $7.25. They will also discover that the marriage rate that peaked at 16.4 per 1,000 Americans in the mid-1940s has come down to the current 7.1, while the divorce rate, which peaked in the early 1980s, has nearly tripled between the 1920s and 2010. Though this report emphasizes the enormous amount of technological, social and cultural change over the past century, it also stresses a certain commonality found among generations, that “each will be on the cutting edge of fashion, technology and modern conveniences; and each will recede into history with relative rapidity, appearing amusingly antiquated in the process.”

For copies of the above reports and other Scripps publications, please visit the Publications tab on the Scripps website:; or call 513/529-2914.

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Updates from Upham Director’s Notes As observed prominently on pages one and four of this newsletter, the Scripps Gerontology Center has recently been designated a Center of Excellence in our state’s system of higher education. It is an honor that we are thrilled to receive and quick to share with our wonderful students, dedicated faculty and staff, and with Miami University, which submitted our center and its body of work to the Ohio Board of Regents for consideration as one of the state’s top academic and research programs in higher education. But the contributions to, and sharing of, this honor extend far beyond the current Scripps family and Miami community. There are so many others, far and wide, past and present, whose hard work and support of the Scripps Gerontology Center have made our Center of Excellence distinction possible. Above all, we wouldn’t be here today were it not for the vision and generosity of our founder, E.W. Scripps, who launched the center in 1922. Nor would we be receiving this recognition without the seminal work on fertility and population growth pioneered by our center’s first two directors, Warren Thompson and P.K. Whelpton in

Dr. Suzanne Kunkel the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s. The same can be said for W. Fred “Doc” Cottrell, our third (and, perhaps, most beloved) director, for his foresight in helping Scripps evolve from a center for population studies to one of our nation’s first and foremost academic and research centers on aging in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. And, of course, ditto for Bob Atchley, whose innovative research on retirement and introductory text, “Social Forces and Aging,” became gerontology standards in college classrooms across the country in the latter decades of the past century. Though

retired from teaching, he is still full of energy and ideas, exploring the ethereal aspects of growing older in his most recent book, “Spirituality and Aging,” published in 2009. And in the same breath I warmly salute our past associate director (and one of my own personal mentors) Millie Seltzer, known for her prolific publishing, effective leadership, and commitment to gerontology education. Additionally, we are much obliged to all of our community partners in the field of aging for being willing to partner with us on important projects, for keeping us grounded, and for helping us focus on future as well as current issues. Finally, a special thanks to our donors, many of them from the families of the names mentioned in this column. Please know that our designation of excellence comes because all of you - our students, alums, staff, predecessors, partners, collaborators, donors and other supporters - have played starring roles in our success. I am so grateful to all of you - and all who have gone before me - for making this honor possible. Sincerely, Suzanne Kunkel Director, Scripps Gerontology Center

Matters of Fact •

The birth rate per American woman has declined from 3.17 in the 1920s to 2.2 in the 1940s to 2.05 today.

The number of American high school graduates has grown from 25 percent in the mid 1940s to 84 percent today.

The percentage of Americans with a college degree has increased from 3 percent in the 1920s to over 25 percent today.

The percentage of Caucasians in the United States has decreased from 90 percent to 80 percent since the 1940s.

$1 in 1946 was the equivalent of $11.19 in today’s economy; $1 in 1926 was the equivalent of $13.23 today.

The prices for a loaf of bread, pint of milk and pound of coffee in the 1920s were 12 cents, 15 cents and 40 cents, respectively. Source: GenerAges, Scripps Gerontology Center, 2011.

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Scripps WelcomesCenter DiverseofClass Scripps Gerontology Excellence Thirty-Seven Students Now Enrolled infrom Post-Graduate Gerontology Studies (continued page 1)

Praising the Scripps Gerontology Center as a “world-class center backed by a world-class university (Miami),” Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut designated Scripps as one of Ohio’s select Centers of Excellence (COE) in a special ceremony at the Knolls of Oxford Jan. 20, 2011. Fingerhut told a crowd of nearly 200 gathered for the occasion that Scripps’ excellent state, national and global reputation made the selection “a no-brainer” at a time when “aging is perhaps the largest single issue facing the state.” Ohio’s COE initiative, outlined in

community welfare. The two other centers in this category, thus far, are Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication and Shawnee State University’s Center for Immersive Technology (digital and gaming technology and graphics). Starting off the ceremony, Knolls of Oxford Executive Director Tim McGowan lauded the five-year Knolls-Miami affiliation and the special role Scripps has played in enriching the lives of Knolls’ residents. “We are so lucky to have the Scripps Gerontology Center and Miami Uni-

way we think about ourselves.” Introducing Scripps Director Suzanne Kunkel, Hodge observed that “Miami’s had a series of great directors at the Scripps Gerontology Center, but never one as distinguished, as accomplished, or as productive as Dr. Suzanne Kunkel.” Dr. Kunkel, in turn, thanked President Hodge and Miami for their “tremendous support” of Scripps and shared the COE honor “with the university and our wonderful students and our faculty, our research fellows, our community partners, our donors, supporters and all of our friends out there

From left:Miami Director of Institutional Relations Randi Thomas, Miami Dean of Graduate Studies Bruce Cochrane, Miami Senior Annie Dillard, Miami President David Hodge, State Rep. Tim Derickson, Chair of Miami University Board of Trustees DonCrain, OBR Chancellor Eric Fingerhut, Scripps Director Suzanne Kunkel, State Sen. Peggy Lehner, CoA Programs and Operations Director Ken Wilson, AOPHA CEO John Alfano, Bob Applebaum, director of the Ohio LTC Research Project, Knolls Executive Director Tim McGowan and Miami Associate Dean of Research Jim Oris.

OBR’s current 10-Year Strategic Plan for Higher Education, promotes certain Ohio programs of higher learning with exceptional faculty, staff and students, along with extraordinary leadership and proven ability to draw outside funding. The state hopes to make these top academic programs into magnets generating innovative research and attracting top talent, investment and entrepreneurship to Ohio. Scripps received its COE designation in the category of Cultural and Societal Transformation, which recognizes programs researching, analyzing and disseminating information on issues related to society, the human condition and

versity right in our backyard,” McGowan said. “The benefits are here, all around you,” he noted, gesturing toward dozens of paintings on the wall produced by Knolls residents participating in a Scripps associated program, Opening Minds Through Art, for persons with memory loss and other cognitive difficulties. Following McGowan to the podium, Miami President David Hodge continued the salute to Scripps, saying: “We are enormously proud of all the great things Scripps has done. These are people who are changing the way we think about aging - the

with whom we are connected by a passion for gerontology. ... I could not be more proud of the people I work with. ” Fingerhut stated that the COE designation is a responsibility as well as an honor. “The designation is not an end,” he emphasized, “but the beginning of a challenge to apply the commitment and resources necessary to be a global leader.” He vowed that Scripps would receive the full support of his office and the state in that endeavor. “I assure you that we are up to the challenge,” Kunkel said. “We will continue to do our best to be worthy of the designation of Center of Excellence.”

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Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Aids Spiritual Pursuit Lydia Manning Explores Link Between Spirituality & Resilience in Later Life Lydia Manning is one of those fortunate few for whom vocation and avocation become nearly inseparable. The fourth-year PhD student in social gerontology at Miami University is braiding her interest in spirituality with a lifelong calling to the field of gerontology, and the result is a dissertation in progress - “Searching for the Sacred: a Phenomenological Investigation of Women’s Spirituality in Late Life” that earned her the 2010-2011 Miami University Department of Sociology and Gerontology’s Dissertation Fellowship Award. The fellowship frees Lydia to devote full time to her dissertation, providing a nine-month stipend equivalent to a graduate assistantship. “The fellowship has been a true gift, and I am so thankful every day that I have the time and flexibility to focus on my dissertation work,” Lydia observes. “I love my topic and having the time to really get to know the (older women) participants in my study has been a blessing, a spiritual experience in and of itself, for me. This has all been a great honor, and I feel strongly that it’s important for me to be a good steward of the fellowship, to put the time I have to good use and give everything my very best.” Lydia’s work for the dissertation focuses on the significance that spirituality and/or religion has in the lives of six older women (ages 82 to 100), all of them widowed, in southern Ohio. Preliminary findings for these participants include: • for all, spirituality was expressed through, and interconnected with, (Christian) religion. •

for all, spirituality tightly corresponded to resilience (i.e., “faith is

protective” regarding the physical, mental and emotional pains of life). •

in general, that resilience seemed to have a cumulative quality, gaining strength and utility through the years.

PhD Candidate Lydia Manning •

for all, “spirituality and religion were incredibly relational,” that is, experienced and shared with other people via love, compassion, charity and other virtues. none of the women expressed the least anxiety about death.

“I’m lucky in that while I’m developing skills as a researcher I’m also getting lessons on how to live from these participants,” Lydia notes. “Spending time with them has been rejuvenating; it makes me glad I chose to be a gerontologist.”

That is a choice, it seems, that the Cincinnati native made early, starting at age seven when she made regular weekend trips to visit her grandmother in an Oneida, Tenn., nursing home. “I’d visit my grandma with my mom for awhile and then I’d go visit other people in the nursing home,” she recalls. “I kind of grew up with residents as my playmates.” The first in her family to go to college, Lydia praises her parents for their love and support of her academic efforts. She holds a BA in sociology/anthropology from Centre College (Danville, Ky.) and earned a Master of Gerontological Studies (MGS) degree from Miami University in 2004. Between that time and enrolling for her PhD studies, Lydia worked as a senior-service volunteer recruiter for AmeriCorps in Burlington, Vt., waited tables at Cincinnati’s Glendale Pub, and taught courses in Families and Later Life and Death and Dying for Miami University’s Department of Family Studies. (Lots of overlap in waitressing and teaching, Lydia deadpans, both benefit from a thick skin and good sense of humor.) She hopes to wrap up her dissertation and become Dr. Manning this May, no later than August. After that, she has her eye on a post-doctoral fellowship and would like to pursue an academic career involving her passion for both teaching and research. “I’ve always just really liked older people, and my appreciation of them has only grown through my educational experiences here and elsewhere,” Lydia reflects. “You don’t always know what it is at first, but I guess it’s been a calling that’s resonated within me for as long as I can remember. I am so grateful to be working at what I love.”

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2010 Cottrell Distinguished Alumni Lecture

President of Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services Communities Advocates Ethics, Adaptation to Consumer Preferences “Doing the right thing” while adapting to culture change and consumer preferences is crucial in today’s competitive continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), Miami University graduate Daniel J. O’Connor told some 130 attendees at the Shriver Center during the 2010 W. Fred Cottrell Distinguished Alumni Lecture on November 30, 2010. O’Connor, a 1984 Master of Gerontologcial Studies (MGS) graduate, now president of Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services (OPRS) Communities, was selected for the prestigious Cottrell Alumni Award and lecture presentation by a panel appointed by the Scripps Gerontology Center. He credited Scripps and Miami University with providing him with the foundation for his success in the area of non-profit CCRCs. In his lecture, “Leading the Retirement Communities of Tomorrow Through the Turbulent Times of Today,” O’Connor emphasized how OPRS has been proactive and progressive in offering modern features and services at its 11 facilities spread across Ohio, including the latest in therapy pools and wellness centers, facility restaurants, well-appointed chapels, a cultural arts center, and cutting-edge brain fitness programs for nursing home residents. OPRS has also adopted some government and private sector incentives for improving business, he said, offering stimulus cash rewards and special discounts to prospective residents, and price reductions for retired clergy members. O’Connor noted that when he first started as a 26-year-old director of a CCRC in Minster, Ohio, in the 1980s, the biggest challenge in the field was recruiting and retaining employees. “Now,” he said, pointing to difficulties posed by a struggling economy and stock market, “it’s all about occupancy, and the issue of the

day is marketing. … I’ll do whatever the staff and local community want regarding culture change (and marketing),” he stressed. “But whatever we’re doing, we try to make it better for the residents, that’s my philosophy.”

Dan O’Connor O’Connor advocated “fairness above all, being firm, fair and consistent” as the best approach to leadership and management in all walks of life, and shared other points he termed essential in heading a non-profit CCRC operation: • Assume nothing (find out for yourself) • Learn and know names • Build relationships (know something about each individual) • Sweat the details • Check references yourself • Don’t doubt your own financial instincts and abilities • Be humble • Lead by example (don’t ask others to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself) • Ask for opinions from others • Respect all employees • Don’t point fingers

• •

Take the blame, not the credit Have a sense of humor

As a prelude to the lecture, both Scripps Director Suzanne Kunkel and Bruce Cochrane, dean of Miami’s graduate school, saluted the late “Doc” Cottrell for his intellect, humanity and vision in helping Scripps evolve from a center for the study of population to a leading center for the study of aging in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They also thanked and acknowledged various members of the Cottrell family for their continuing support of Scripps, both intellectually and financially. “We all owe a great deal to the Cottrells, Bob and Nancy, Bill and Gretchen, Louise, and Richard, whose love and regard for their father makes this occasion possible,” Dr. Kunkel observed. “Doc Cottrell was truly an extraordinary human being … a wise, warm and gifted teacher whose legacy we honor here this evening.”

Cottrell Nominations: The Scripps Gerontology Center is requesting nominations for the 2011 W. Fred Cottrell Distinguished Alumni Award. Nominees must be graduates of Miami University who took classes in gerontology. Nomination letters should describe the career achievements of the nominee, with special emphasis on accomplishments in the field of aging. Please send nominations to: Chair, Cottrell Award Committee, Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056. For more information, please call 513/5291968, or check the Scripps website:

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Where Are They Now?

Miami Gerontology Alums Making the World a Better Place to Grow Old

Dan Smith Timing Just Right for Miami Grad Timing is one of Dan Smith’s strong suits. His decision to major in gerontology at Miami coincided almost exactly with the university’s decision to elevate the subject matter (previously offered to undergraduates only as a minor) to an undergraduate degree program in 2003. And when the engaging St. Louis native decided to focus his career aspirations on nursing home administration after graduation in December 2005, he was right on schedule to become the first Administrator in Training (AIT) to avail himself of the Miami/Knolls of Oxford affiliation signed in that very month and year. Smith has taken his learning a long way in a short time. At the age of 24, he became Associate Administrator of Mason Christian Village, and a few years

later became Administrator of The Cedars at Chapel Hill (N.C.) overseeing a large continuing care retirement community. Not bad for a young man who arrived at Miami University in 2002, undecided on his major and unsure of his future. “I guess I got lucky,” he surmises. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, then I took an elective in gerontology, Gerontology 154 (“Aging in American Society”). I really enjoyed the class and did well in it. I’d had great relationships with my own grandparents and great-grandparents while growing up, and it seemed like a field where I could maybe make a difference. And careerwise, with the aging population on the rise, the timing seemed perfect.”

People-Pleasing Gerontology Grad Disproving Old Adage

energetic AIT even worked Tuesday and Thursday evenings, serving dinner with a smile in the Knolls dining hall. He pleased the Knolls management enough to get hired on recently as an Administrative Assistant (soon-to-be Assistant Administrator) at Maple Knoll Village in Cincinnati, where he is currently the project manager for revamped computer operations. A native of Glenview, Ill., Farnsworth came to Miami in 2005, leaning toward a major in business, but decided on gerontology after taking an introductory course in the subject. “I liked the human aspect of aging, the humanity involved,” he says. Knolls of Oxford Executive Director and Farnsworth mentor Tim McGowan praises Ross for his extraordinary commitment to the job and exceptional rapport with residents, joking that the only time he can imagine the self-described “people-pleaser” failing to please “is when he goes away.”

Maybe you can’t please everybody, but don’t tell Ross Farnsworth, who served as an Administrator in Training (AIT) at the Knolls of Oxford from July 2009 to April 2010. By all accounts, the Miami University gerontology graduate (BA, 2009) batted a thousand, making his coworkers happy with his enthusiastic efforts on the job and quickly becoming a favorite among Knolls residents with his trademark amiability. The Ross Farnsworth with Knolls resident Lucy Ewbanks

Where Are You Now? Since 1977, Miami University has conferred close to 100 BAs in Gerontology, 260 Master of Gerontological Studies degrees, and two PhDs in Social Gerontology. The above features are part of a series highlighting the achievements of our esteemed alums. We’d love to hear from you and know how you are doing. If you are not already on the Scripps newsletter mailing list, we’d be happy to add you and keep you updated on all the academic activities and events here at Scripps. Please call Kathryn Watson, Coordinator of Academic Programs, at 513/529-8748; or e-mail

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Vol. 20, Winter 2011 Mike Payne, Editor

Scripps Gerontology Center Miami University 396 Upham Hall Oxford, OH 45056 Phone: 513-529-2914 Fax: 513-529-1476 Email: Web: www.scrippsaging. Miami University Scripps Gerontology Center Oxford, Ohio 45056 Return Service Requested

dates, meetings, conferences...

Age and Agency

Calendar ••

March 17 - 20, 2011 37th Annual AGHE Conference “Living the Old Age We Imagine: Higher Education in an Aging Society” Cincinnati Netherland Plaza March 31, 2011 11th Annual Green Tea Day Aging and Longevity Fair 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Shriver Center MPR Rooms A & B (Green Tea Ceremony, 4:30 p.m. Grandparents of the Year Awards, 5 p.m. Shriver Center Heritage Room)

Welcome Elizabeth Carpio Elizabeth, a second-year MGS student and former director of Senior Services for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, has been hired as a Scripps Research Assistant. Elizabeth is taking over the duties of project manager for the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging /U. S. Administration on Aging grant. The grant is for a survey of the nation’s area agencies and tribal organizations regarding their resources and capacity to provide home- and communitybased services in the coming years.




Age and Agency - Winter 2011  

The annual publication of Scripps Genrontlogy Center - an Ohio Center for Excellence