Healthy Aging Lab

The Healthy Aging Lab, led by Dr. Cory Bolkan, focuses on adult development and healthy aging by promoting optimal physical health (e.g., preventing/managing chronic illness), mental health (e.g., addressing depression, grief), and social health (e.g., engagement with family and friends). The goals of this work are to encourage healthy behaviors across the lifespan, implement evidence-based health and social service programs for older adults, and explore how family or social relationships are risk or protective factors in health and well-being in later life.

Opportunities for students include:

  • Quantitative and qualitative data collection (e.g., survey research, face-to-face interviews/focus groups)
  • Assisting with data entry and analysis (e.g., cleaning, translating and transcribing data, entering data into quantitative or qualitative software, coding data)
  • Assisting with manuscript preparation
  • Co-presenting research findings at regional and national conferences
  • Co-authoring published scientific papers

Current research projects include:

Technology to Support Aging in Place (TSAP): a pilot project, in collaboration with multiple community partners (e.g., Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities of Southwest Washington, local hospitals, health clinics, health information technology company) to demonstrate that in-home tele-monitoring technology can be used to increase quality of life as well as prevent avoidable re-hospitalization in low-income older adults with poor health and keep them living at home in the community.

Southwest Washington Aging in Place Needs Assessment (SWAPNA): a community needs assessment, with a focus on low income and older adults in rural communities, to explore the most pressing health and social service needs of older adults and their caregivers in Southwest Washington.

Global Aging and Health in Developing Countries: on-going partnerships with local universities, a local non-profit organization, and in-country partners to conduct research and outreach related to healthy aging in Nicaragua.

Well-Being Among Veterans Enhancement Study (WAVES): a longitudinal, site randomized clinical trial designed to study depression and implement an evidence-based collaborative care model for depression in VA primary care.

Elder Financial Exploitation: a multi-state research project aimed to better understand risk factors associated with financial exploitation of elders perpetrated by family members. A long-term goal of this research is to develop policies and interventions effective at preventing elder financial exploitation.