AgeAlive is an established program within Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, which has been supported by the WorkLife Office. We seek to leverage and expand MSU's assets related to aging, including research, education, training, service, and outreach spanning all disciplines across all MSU units, and have successfully met the criteria to designate MSU as an Age Friendly University. AgeAlive envisions a world in which there is respect, wellbeing, and quality of life for people of all ages and abilities. Dr. Clare Luz serves as the founding Director with the support of the AgeAlive Leadership Council comprised of representatives from MSU and the Greater Lansing community. Despite the COVID19 pandemic Dr. Luz and the AgeAlive Leadership Council were able to accomplish the following initiatives during 2020-2021.
The 2020 AgeAlive Research Forum (3rd annual)
This event was cancelled in April 2020 due to COVID19, but it was offered virtually April 22, 2021. In addition to the keynote speaker Dr. William Anderson, DO, the panel of researchers presented a variety of topics related to issues of aging.
The Annual Awards Ceremony (virtual)
December 16, 2020, recognized professionals for excellence in aging research, intergenerational programming, and the Legacy Award.
2021 Butterfly Garden Exhibit
This year's exhibit was showcased in the main Headquarters lobby of the MSUFCU: The healing garden was displayed for 2 months from March -April 2021. MSUFCU employees in all 17 branches across the state helped to create paper butterflies that “grew” in the garden as an Employee Resource Group project. The garden brought joy and unity to hundreds of employees and members It was designed and created by “Artist in Residence” Zahrah Resh and was financed by MSUFCU.
Senior Ambassadors Program (SAP):
An AgeAlive collaboration with East Lansing Prime Time Seniors and the MSU Social Science Scholars. With guidance from AgeAlive the Soc. Sci. scholars designed the training/orientation curriculum, recruitment/applications, research evaluation and outreach. The goal of SAP is to reduce isolation and loneliness of homebound seniors which also engages the students in positive socialization. Initially we planned for Student Ambassadors to visit senior “Hosts” in their homes, but due to COVID19 the program began in Fall2020 as a virtual visitation program. The students sent surveys to over 1,500 EL residents who are affiliated with Prime Time. Almost 300 responses were received, and most of the respondents showed interest in communicating with MSU students and have access to a computer and the internet. Positive relationships have been established with the pairs of Hosts and Ambassadors during their weekly visits via Zoom.
“Town and Gown”
This free virtual discussion series led by MSU faculty researchers
for seniors in the Greater Lansing area began as a pilot during winter 2021. Hundreds of seniors have enjoyed the stimulating presentations held weekly on Zoom on a variety of research topics ranging from sand dunes to civil rights. This highly successful lifelong learning opportunity will continue into Fall semester 2021 due to high level of participant satisfaction. They enjoy the opportunity to interact and ask questions of the faculty. This summer 2021 a smaller discussion group is being offered weekly facilitated by Social Science Scholars.
Advocating for LifeLong Enrichment is a priority effort.
AgeAlive is spearheading lifelong learning opportunities with the “Town and Gown” series. We are also advocating for extracurricular courses based on the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) model that is offered by hundreds of universities across the nation.
- Michigan Health Endowment Fund. College Student Caregivers- (students who are caregivers of elder family members) The research is in collaboration with EMU and involves surveying college students who are caregivers to older adults in their families and then producing resources to support them.
- The Michigan Adult Health Services Senior Center Grant was approved as start up support for SAP planning.
- The Challenge Grant from AARP funded the Virtual Senior Center idea to support Prime Time to give isolated seniors electronic access to people and educational information to reduce loneliness.
- John Wales Memorial Fund- Donated through the Friends of Prime Time in support of SAP’s website development, student intern stipend and honorarium for the presenter at the Annual John Wales lecture series.
July 13, 2021
Lori Strom, MPA, MSU WorkLife Office Consultant
AgeAlive Leadership Council member