Joining a rising number of graduate and undergraduate studies devoted to senior living, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) has launched a new Center of Healthy Aging and Senior Care.
At its helm is Dr. Dilip Jeste, distinguished professor of psychiatry and neurosciences, who has been appointed the first associate dean for Healthy Aging and Senior Care at UCSD and is directing the new center.
A shift in the way aging is viewed has led to the inception of more programs devoted to senior care Dr. Jeste told SHN.
“We have, at the institute, been studying successful aging for the last eight years, and have been doing our own research studies in the community about what happens to quality of life as people age,” he says. “Quality of life is going to be an important issue, for the entire society.”
The center will address questions spanning where people will live to the use of technology in their care. Broader considerations such as transportation and urban planning are also important, Jeste says, from a big picture perspective.
“We want to be a think tank and spend time thinking about what the model society will be like and do pilot work in that effort,” he says.
UCSD will draw from its research network to study various facets of aging such as medical topics like cancer and diabetes. It is also aiming to become a local presence in the San Diego community where it will partner with communities and other organizations toward its research initiatives, despite not pursuing any commercial partnerships.
“San Diego is a rich community, in terms of ideas, innovation and volunteerism. It’s a great collaboration for an institution like UCSD,” Jeste says.
The programming will include undergraduate and graduate students to research a population that is largely underserved relative to the number of people it encompasses, Jeste says.
“It’s scary that we have such as small number of experts in aging as the society is getting older. We are not paying enough attention to this need,” he says. “It’s exciting to be on the forefront of that.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker