Katharine Magyar

Katharine Magyar

Katharine Magyar

Miami University
2019

“Throughout the duration of this program, I met many of the people who have helped shape the field of gerontology and aging into what it is today.”

During the Spring of 2019, I was able to be one of the participants of the Ohio Scholars in Aging program. Throughout the duration of this program, I met many of the people who have helped shape the field of gerontology and aging into what it is today. These people work to give voices and rights to those who may not be able to for themselves. Those who are advocates at the Ohio Department of Aging as well as the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education work tirelessly every day to lessen the stigma of aging within our society.

I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have been a part of two large scale research projects mandated by the Ohio Department of Aging and administered through Scripps Gerontology Center here at Miami University during my senior year. The Family Satisfaction Survey and the Biennial Survey of Long-Term Care both gather data for further research as well as to inform the general public about these facilities. For the Family Satisfaction Survey, over 100,000 family participants were asked a multitude of questions in order to determine their thoughts and opinions surrounding the care of a family member. The Biennial Survey asked administrators a series of questions regarding staffing, financial information and residents. The Family Satisfaction Survey and the Biennial Survey of Long-Term Care both allowed me to put my knowledge to use outside of a classroom. I was able to see how timelines for large-scaled research projects work and how much goes on behind the scenes. Both of these surveys taught me countless lessons and skills, affirming just how much the field of aging means to me.

Throughout my time as an Ohio Scholar in Aging, I was able to make connections outside of my network at Miami University. Everyone involved in this program was extremely supportive and helpful. I loved being able to meet other passionate students from different universities in Ohio and share how important the study of aging. I am extremely excited to continue my education at Miami University through the Master of Gerontological Studies program starting in the Fall of 2019.

Katharine Magyar

Hannah Wisbey

Hannah Wisbey

Miami University
2018

“I am grateful to be a part of the gerontology program at Miami and in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program because there is a large and specific need to view aging from a social viewpoint, as opposed to a medical viewpoint.”

I wouldn’t trade my experience with the Ohio Scholars in Aging program for anything. Throughout the course of the program, I have come into contact with a prodigious number of people who are passionate about aging and are committed to giving an authentic voice to older adults. I have learned about so many different, yet equally important, programs that are offered from the advocates at the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education. I hope to take the knowledge learned and use it to better the lives of the older adults in my life. In addition, through this program I was able to meet other students who are passionate about gerontology. Learning about their passions was inspiring and eye-opening; there are so many facets in which even pre-professionals can have a positive impact on the field of aging!

During my spring semester of my junior year at Miami University, I served as an intern at the Mt. Healthy Christian Village. I spent the majority of my time there in the rehab unit and with the activities department. After completing my undergraduate education, I hope to attend graduate school for occupational therapy with a specialization in geriatric care. As a result, I decided to create activity kits for older adults with dementia that will serve to promote well-being through meaningful activity engagement. The kits will be different based upon how older adults scored on the Allen Cognitive Level Scale (ACLS), an evaluation and treatment tool used by occupational therapists.

The ACLS was developed through systematic observation and documentation of predictable patterns of performance in older adults as they engaged in activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and leisure activities. They are ranked on a scale from 1: most basic functions to 6: most complex functions. These levels increase by increments of .2 (.2…1.4…2.6, etc.) They reflect sets of underlying cognitive processes (i.e. motor actions and verbal behaviors) that affect functional performance and are observed as an individual engages in an activity. In general, residents at the Christian Village Communities who were diagnosed with a form of dementia were between a 3.0 and 4.6 on the ACLS. Making these activity kits has helped me grow in the knowledge of practical occupational therapy skills and has served to deepen my appreciation of the field.

I am grateful to be a part of the gerontology program at Miami and in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program because there is a large and specific need to view aging from a social viewpoint, as opposed to a medical viewpoint. Aging is not a problem that society should serve to treat. Those who are aging deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as those who are younger. Having a holistic view of the social and emotional aspects of aging allow clinicians and everyday persons to engage with older adults in a more meaningful and authentic way. The Scholars program does an amazing job of stressing this theme, and that is something I think everyone should learn about. My goal professionally is to help older adults feel engaged with life to the highest potential, regardless of age. I highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking to network with others in the field of aging, grow professionally, and further their education in a meaningful way.

Chelsi Wilson, BSBA, S/OT

Chelsi Wilson, BSBA, S/OT

Chelsi Wilson, BSBA, S/OT

Shawnee State University
2018

“Being a part of this program gave me a better understanding of all the different facets of caring and advocating for the well-being of older adults. It was inspiring to talk with other individuals, in various fields and with different interests, all who shared the same passion for promoting the quality of life and understanding the value of all older adults. I would recommend any student to take this opportunity.”

Through my internship experiences as a Shawnee State University Master of Occupational Therapy student, I have had the opportunity to receive numerous hands-on experiences working with older adults in a variety of settings. These experiences include being trained as a CarFit technician and working a CarFit event at a local senior center, participating in Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, being trained as a Matter of Balance (MOB) Community Coach and leading four MOB sessions at a local senior center, leading a 5-stage group for residents at a memory care center, and providing three Senior Home Information Program (SHIP) visits to local community-dwelling older adults. I focused my Ohio Scholars in Aging poster presentation on my SHIP experience.

Through my SHIP experience, I was able to provide home visits for three community-dwelling older adults in Ross County. SHIP is a collaborative, interprofessional home safety initiative in Ross and Scioto Counties. The SHIP team is comprised of representatives from local fire, law enforcement, occupational therapy, and Area Agency on Aging personnel. Participants sign up to receive a SHIP visit, free of charge. During a visit, the SHIP team members walk around the home and speak to the older adult and provide education concerning their field of expertise. Fire personnel provide education on fire safety and provide and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as needed; law enforcement personnel provide education on home security; occupational therapists and students provide fall prevention and home modification education and equipment such as nightlights, bathmats, and anti-slip rug tape; and the Area Agency on Aging personnel provide education on long-term care planning services. All equipment provided is free for the participant, made possible through local grant funding.

I also have been conducting research on the SHIP program with my faculty advisor and three other classmates; specifically, a systematic program evaluation. Our results from this evaluation indicate the SHIP is beneficial to all stakeholders including participants, team members, students, and the community at large. The inter-professional collaboration used in SHIP is also a very critical and beneficial component in the program, as noted by all stakeholders. The research also provided information on other strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the program. The findings of our study can be used by other similar programs, or individuals interested in creating a similar program in their area, to facilitate the implementation of other home safety initiatives for older adults living in the community.

Overall, I am beyond grateful for my internship experiences and for the opportunity to be a scholar in the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program. Being a part of this program gave me a better understanding of all the different facets of caring and advocating for the well-being of older adults. It was inspiring to talk with other individuals, in various fields and with different interests, all who shared the same passion for promoting the quality of life and understanding the value of all older adults. I would recommend any student to take this opportunity. Even if you are unsure if you want to work in the field of gerontology, this opportunity is a great learning experience and will add beneficial knowledge to your “toolbox” as a professional.

Katharine Magyar

Corrin Whittaker

Corrin Whittaker

Miami University
2018

“The Scholars program has strengthened my understanding of the aging network and how everyone can work collectively to improve the lives of older adults everywhere, not just Ohio.”

During this Spring Semester 2018, I am completing a research internship at Miami University. This research internship is sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Gerontology, and the project I am working on is being supervised by Dr. Jonathon Vivoda, a professor in the department. Over this semester, I have begun to complete various components of my research project.

I was given a dataset addressing transportation issues in 6 rural counties in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Data was collected by an over-the-phone interview and was presented to individuals of 70 years and over by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). The main goal of this research is to identify if older adults in rural areas are satisfied or dissatisfied with their ability to get from place to place. If they are not satisfied, this research will help to analyze why this may be and propose ideas for fixing this issue. Overall, this study is aimed at providing more information about rural older adults in relation to how they feel about their ability to get to place to place.

Rather than just focusing on the transportation services being provided, this study will also focus on the age of the participants, both of which will then be analyzed in relation of the participants’ satisfaction levels with getting to places they want to go. From the dataset, I have developed a few research questions that I want to address in my research, as well as two hypotheses. The first hypothesis is: Rural older adults who are very dissatisfied with their ability to get to the places they want to go are not being provided with available transportation resources. The second hypothesis is: Rural older adults above the age of 85 will express that they are very dissatisfied with their ability to get to the places they want to go.

While continuing my research internship, I have almost fully completed my literature review. By the end of the allotted time for this research internship, I intend on completing the methods and the results portion of the report as well. After the time-span of this research internship, I plan to continue my research by completing the remaining portions of the report. After this I will begin to review the entire report and fine-tune it into a fully polished article. Finally, I will push to get this research published.

Getting to be a part of the Ohio Scholars in Aging program was a very eye-opening experience. It was a program that enabled me to meet with a group of my peers in the field of aging to learn about what internships they are completing and what knowledge they have. When attending the OAGE conference I learned about a bunch of other projects and studies being conducted within the state of Ohio by some of my peers and even professors. After attending meetings for this program, it has helped me prepare to complete a literature review for my project and how much work I will need to put into it to make a cohesive research document.

The Scholars program has strengthened my understanding of the aging network and how everyone can work collectively to improve the lives of older adults everywhere, not just Ohio. As was said numerous times, no one chooses to be in the field of aging because of some monetary benefit; we genuinely want to improve the lives of all older adults. This legacy is something I want to be able to consider myself contributing to through my research, and the Ohio Scholars in Aging program is another step toward obtaining that goal.

Gregg Weber

Gregg Weber

Gregg Weber

Youngstown State University
2018

“Participating in the Scholars in Aging program has been an enriching experience as well. It has introduced me to the professionals who run the Department of Aging in Columbus, the state legislators overseeing it, and emerging professionals in the aging network.”

I had the opportunity to explore the operation of Youngstown Comfort Keepers, a non-medical home health services company, during my Spring 2018 practicum. The focus of most of my graduate work has involved aspects of home health and caregiver support. These are areas I found most compelling even prior to studying gerontology.

Youngstown Comfort Keepers is a family-owned business that offers a positive working environment for its staff and reliable service to its clients and their families. There are even transportation and home modification divisions to enhance their service. I have learned about navigating the complex requirements Comfort Keepers must meet to be eligible to care for government-funded clients, as well as the realities of training employees and scheduling care for a large caseload of clients. I respect these efforts because I know the demand for these services is great, and I was able to see how much help some clients require.

Participating in the Scholars in Aging program has been an enriching experience as well. It has introduced me to the professionals who run the Department of Aging in Columbus, the state legislators overseeing it, and emerging professionals in the aging network. I am grateful for the opportunity and for the network of knowledgeable professionals I am joining.

Carmen Tyler

Carmen Tyler

Carmen Tyler

Cleveland State University
2018

“The Ohio Scholars in Aging program provided me with an overview of how many of the state and local systems work to provide services and support to our aging population in Ohio.”

Being able to participate in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program was something I had looked forward to since the first time I attended an OAGE conference in 2015. I have always been interested in advocating for causes I am passionate about, and I thought that having the opportunity to learn some of the ways academics, state agencies, and politicians can interact for the benefit of older adults would be interesting and valuable for my future plans. I was right!

The Ohio Scholars in Aging program provided me with an overview of how many of the state and local systems work to provide services and support to our aging population in Ohio. Meeting with Ohio legislators reinforced my post-graduate desire to act as a liaison between researchers and government agencies to ensure that older adults receive assistance stemming from the most up-to-date, evidence-based interventions available. Thank you for the opportunity to engage in this rewarding and inspiring program!