ORA Research Projects

Here’s a look at some of our research:

  • Community Livability Project: A livable community typically features affordable housing, accessible transportation systems, and supportive health care services, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). We provided digital cameras for 18 senior residents of a small Missouri community—dubbed “Fieldcrest” for this study—and asked them to produce snapshots defining their community’s livability. Specifically, we asked them to photograph an answer to the question, “What does it mean to be a senior citizen in ‘Fieldcrest,’ Missouri?” Our researchers subsequently met with participants to discuss what they photographed over a 10-day period. For more information, contact Elizabeth Rattine-Flaherty at Elizabeth.Rattine-Flaherty@stlcop.edu, or Patrick Fontane at Patrick.Fontane@stlcop.edu.

  • Dementia Project: In this ongoing collaborative effort, a STLCOP student proposes and develops an age-related dementia research project with a faculty mentor from the Alzheimer’s disease Research Center (ADRC) of Washington University. The student reports on the project and helps prepare a manuscript for publication in a professional journal. For more information, contact Patrick Fontane at Patrick.Fontane@stlcop.edu.

  • Development of Drugs for Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease: This research aims to  discover new drugs using the tools of structural bioinformatics and computational chemistry.  The targets of this program are a number of dementia diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. This program has several new drugs in development.  Dr. John Beale has recently been awarded the first patent for St. Louis College of Pharmacy.  This research program is a collaborative venture with Dr .Nigel J. Cairns in the Department of Neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine and the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University.  For more information contact John Beale at john.beale@stlcop.edu.

  • Dimensions of Religiosity and Life Satisfaction Among Older Adults: Evidence consistently links religious behavior and devotional activities—such as attending religious services or private prayer—to indicators of life satisfaction and general health. We analyzed data gathered by Neal Krause in 2005 and 2007, to reveal that  seniors’ “religiousness” is related to a sense of control that includes perceived social support derived from mutual self-disclosure. Contact Patrick Fontane at Patrick.Fontane@stlcop.edu for more information.

  • Geriatric Medication Game: We periodically update the Geriatric Medication Game© that was  developed more than 20 years ago to introduce student pharmacists, nurses, and physicians to the everyday challenges older adults face in our nation’s health care system. Participants assume the identity of an older person in the role-playing game, increasing their understanding of the problems the elderly confront as they deal with common medication-related situations. The next revision of the game will reflect changes due to the Affordable Care Act. More information about the game may be found on another page at the ORA site.

  • Older Volunteers Project: Our analysis of a survey conducted at 12 Midwest community senior citizens centers found that older adults “specialized” in their volunteering. A third of the survey’s respondents served as volunteers, but about 46 percent volunteered only at a senior center and nearly 48 percent volunteered only in the community. For more information, contact Patrick Fontane at Patrick.Fontane@stlcop.edu.

  • Student Perceptions of Older Adults: We began surveying STLCOP first-year students in 2000 to learn about their perceptions of older people, and conduct the survey each fall. Our goal is to chart young adult views of older adults, to determine if attitudes towards older people of students in a health profession curriculum change as they near graduation. Contact Patrick Fontane at Patrick.Fontane@stlcop.edu for more information.