By Jeffrey Weisbord, Adelphi sophomore
In the days of the Soviet Union, my grandmother was the assistant principal of a prominent English language school in Moscow. Many of her students became leaders in business, politics and medicine, and one—Mikhail Prokhorov—even went on to rank among the wealthiest people in the world and own the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
My father was one of her students, and grew up seeing his own mother as an authority figure for hundreds of Moscow’s most gifted youths. This image has changed drastically over the last few years, as my grandmother—now in her late 80s—relies on her immediate family simply to survive. Despite various ailments (dementia being the most noticeable), she still lives by herself, albeit with a house attendant who stays with her until 9:00 every night. I make a nightly trip to her apartment to ensure that she’s ready for bed, and my father visits her every day during his lunch break. Her day-to-day life has become very difficult, but it may be even harder for my father to witness his hero fade to a shell of her former self.
My story is just one among millions. Within the next five years, the number of people who are 65 or older will, for the first time, exceed the number of children on our planet. Aging is an issue that touches all of us. Fittingly, faculty members from Adelphi’s Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies are using their expertise to address the issues surrounding aging and caring for the aged. Their work and that of other Adelphi professors and alumni is covered in the feature story of the Fall 2012 issue of Adelphi University Magazine, “Everyday People, Extraordinary Challenges—A Look at Growing Older in the New Millennium.”
From the Derner Institute, Professor Robert Bornstein, Ph.D., who co-wrote When Someone You Love Needs Nursing Home, Assisted Living, or In-Home Care: The Complete Guide with his wife, psychologist Mary Languirand, offers guidance on not only finding a good nursing home for yourself or a loved one, but also budgeting for elder care before it’s too late.
Assistant Professor Katherine Fiori, Ph.D., has researched the effects social networks have on seniors’ mental and physical health. She comments on the differing effects of networks—with family and with friends. She has found that friend-focused networks are particularly beneficial for mental health, while family-focused ones tend to be better for physical health than mental health.
Associate Professor Francine Conway, M.S. ’92, Ph.D. ’99, has studied grandparents who care for their grandchildren—a growing trend. She has found that the grandparents’ disposition and outlook play crucial roles in their health outcomes. “If they’re able to see this as a benefit to them, then it will be,” she told Adelphi University Magazine.
Whatever your age or outlook on aging, you’ll find credible and valuable faculty and alumni expertise in this Adelphi University Magazine article.
Jeffrey Weisbord, a biology major, is part of Adelphi’s Early Assurance Program with NYU College of Dentistry. He is an avid writer and contributes to various University publications, including Adelphi University Magazine. He has always stayed active by exercising and playing sports, but has recently taken the next step by severely limiting the amount of unhealthy food that he consumes.