Chrisse Edmunds

Ohio State University
2019

“Moving forward, I hope to have a greater policy focus in my research and to work more closely with groups outside of academia. This program has given me the knowledge and social network necessary to better meet the research needs of policymakers and community leaders.”

Participating in the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program was an important and informative experience in my academic career. Meeting with state legislators and members of the Ohio Department of Aging opened my eyes to how policymakers think about aging. I was encouraged to see their enthusiasm for aging-related issues. Meeting with local groups who work intimately with the older adult population in Columbus, Ohio opened my eyes to the short- and long-term needs of older adults as well as the types of services and programs currently available to them. I appreciated the opportunity to ask questions to our policymakers and community leaders. We covered topics related to housing maintenance and insecurity, food insecurity, transportation, social networks, families, health, advocacy, and medical insurance. This program has provided me with a well-rounded introduction to the complex policies, services, and trends related to aging in Ohio.

I completed my research practicum on a team of interdisciplinary scholars at The Ohio State University. Using six waves of the Health and Retirement Study, we examined the relationship between housing and food insecurity for older adults. Previous research shows that home ownership and housing wealth are associated with food insecurity. Our study identifies mortgage borrowing as an explanatory mechanism in this relationship between housing and food insecurity. Mortgage borrowing is significantly associated with decreased levels of food insecurity. We contribute to the literature suggesting that housing wealth provides a buffer for older adults. Moreover, we find that for older adult homeowners, borrowing against your mortgage can be an effective way to meet basic needs during time of income or health hardship.

The Ohio Scholars in Aging program was informative to me as I move in to my dissertation research, a mixed-methods study of the effect that caregiving for parents has on the economic security of adult children. Through experiences in this program, I learned more about what options are available to adult children who provide care to their parents. Moving forward, I hope to have a greater policy focus in my research and to work more closely with groups outside of academia. This program has given me the knowledge and social network necessary to better meet the research needs of policymakers and community leaders.