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GSU Gerontology Researchers Boast 14 Presentations at GSA


What a lineup for the GSU Gerontology Institute at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America held November 18-22 in Orlando, Florida. Along with a symposium presenting data from their newly published book, Communities of Care: Assisted Living for African Americans, the Institute's research team addressed other findings of current projects. Listed below are complete descriptions of our presentations and posters at the conference. For more information visit GSAs website


Communities of Care: Assisted Living for African Americans
Symposium, Saturday, Nov 19, 1:30PM - 3:00PM


Frank Whittington
Mary Ball
Sharon King
Molly Perkins
Carole Hollingsworth

This symposium used data collected from two qualitative studies of six African American-owned and-operated assisted living facilities investigating how to maximize resident independence and autonomy. It addressed three topics central to residents' quality of care and life: 1) how decisions are made by African Americans to move to these facilities; 2) the motivations of the facility care providers and the unique culture and mode of operation in each home; and 3) the continuing role of residents' families in the lives of the residents.


Reexamining Common Wisdom in Assisted Living: Assisted Living Formal Interest Group
Symposium, Monday, Nov 21, 1:30PM - 3:00PM


Molly Perkins

Four research teams reexamine common wisdom surrounding quality of life issues in AL using data from recently conducted large-scale studies of assisted living and residents. Based on findings from ten homes varying in size (6-68 residents), location (rural, urban, and small town), race of residents (African American and white), and monthly fees ($430-$5,650), researchers from the Gerontology Institute at Georgia State examine residents' definitions of autonomy and their abilities to achieve it in diverse settings.


In Sickness and in Health: Negotiating Long Term Marriage in Later Life
Paper, Sunday, Nov 20, 1:45PM 3:15PM


Candace L. Kemp

Drawing on accounts from older married and widowed individuals whose marriages range in length from 26 to 61 years, this paper examines the subjective experiences associated with long term marriage. Attention is paid to the interplay between individual, family and social contexts in an effort to understand how spouses negotiate their lives with one another, particularly as they encounter age related changes.


Intersections of Age and Masculinities in the Information Technology Industry
Paper, Monday, Nov 21, 10:30AM 12:00PM


Candace L. Kemp

This paper considers the intersections of age and masculinities in the Information Technology (IT) industry. We present an analysis of qualitative data from semi structured interviews with IT workers in order to understand how perceptions of age and masculinity influence occupational responsibilities and age relations in such a highly youth oriented and male dominated employment setting.


Exploring the Experience and Meaning of Inheritance within Families
Poster Session, Monday, Nov 21, 3:15PM 4:45PM


Candace L. Kemp

This paper presents findings from a qualitative study aimed at understanding the nature and meaning of inheritance from the perspective of those who face the decision of how to divide their estates, as well as actual or potential heirs. We explore decision making processes and consider how the distribution of wealth and cherished family possessions are perceived and ultimately influence family relations.


Religious Coping Among Kenyan Grandparents Raising Orphans: The Role of Prayer and the Church
Poster Session, Saturday, Nov 19, 8:30 AM


Sharon V. King
Gillian H. Ice
Mugo Gachuhi
Jaja Yogo

This exploratory, qualitative study provides descriptive data on religious coping among 19 grandparents raising orphans in rural, western Kenya. The data suggest the need for sensitivity among service providers to the depth and cultural significance of grandparent caregivers' spirituality and the need to view local churches as service provision allies.


The International Mandate: Gerontology Education Around the World
Monday, Nov 21, 10:30 AM


Suzanne Kunkel
Noriko Tsukada
Rene van Rijsselt
Frank Whittington
Sharon King
Annabel Pelham
Derek Stepp

Academic programs in gerontology are being developed around the world. This symposium is an opportunity to learn from these programs, as we review the status of gerontology education in several regions and countries of the world.


Staff Retention in Assisted Living: Redefining Job Status
Monday, Nov 21, 5:00PM 6:30PM


Michael Lepore

This paper examines the effect of life course factors, particularly experiences associated with racial and gender subordination, on direct care worker retention. Findings show that staff engage in a process of identification with residents, elevating their perceived job status and promoting satisfaction and retention.


Worker Satisfaction and Intent to Leave in Assisted Living: Differences by Race, Ethnicity, and Nativity
Poster Session, Monday, Nov 21, 10:30AM


Mark Sweatman

Using preliminary data from a larger statewide study of 36 assisted living facilities in Georgia investigating ways to maximize satisfaction and retention of direct care staff, this paper focuses on satisfaction and intent to leave by caregiver's race and origin of birth. Little research has addressed this area as well as the growing shortage of front line workers in long term care.


Measuring Staff Satisfaction in Assisted Living: Evaluating the Reliability and Validity of Two Scales
Poster Session, Monday, Nov 21, 10:30AM


Guangya Liu

This paper examines the reliability and validity of two standardized job satisfaction scales: the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) and Job in General Scale (JIG). Based on these preliminary results, we find that these scales are useful tools for measuring staff satisfaction in assisted living.