February 26 - 29, 2004
“Establishing Gerontology Education in Kenya” was the focus of a symposium at the annual meeting of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) held in Richmond, VA, Feb. 26-29, 2004. Drs. Frank Whittington, AGHE Program Chair, and Sharon King, from the Gerontology Institute at GSU, along with Dr. Mugo Gachuhi from Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya described their international partnership in gerontology education and cross-cultural research training.
Dr Gillian Ice, of Ohio University told about the Kenya Grandparents study, a research project examining stress associated with grandparents caring for AIDS orphans in rural Nyanza Province.
A third presentation by Dr. Maria Cattell, an anthropologist from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago focused on her field work on aging in Kenya and the implications for cultural competence for professionals working with older adults in Africa.
Each of these presentations highlighted the issue of an aging world population and the social and economic effects that are hitting developing countries hardest. Policies or programs targeting the special needs of older adults are slowly emerging in African countries, but cultural traditions and attitudes toward elderly people slow the recognition of aging as a social issue, rather than as a personal problem.
In Kenya, however, as a result of the recent shift in political leadership, the efforts of the work of aging advocates, and the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, more national attention is being devoted to the well-being of older Kenyans.
Dr. Ice recently presented her research on the Emotional and Physical Effects of Grandparenting in the Context of HIV/Aids in Kenya at a seminar hosted by the GSU Gerontology Institute, March 4, 2004.