Gerontology in the news

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Health grant aims to benefit older minorities in Michigan

Three Michigan universities are using a $3.5 million federal grant renewal for efforts to improve the health of older blacks and other minorities. The National Institutes of Health grant allows the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR) to expand its work through 2023. The center's research and education is led by faculty and staff from Wayne State University, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Black residents have higher rates of diabetes, stroke and other diseases than their white counterparts, officials said. Researchers seek to prevent health disparities. The center has focused on Detroit since its 1997 launch, but the latest grant brings aboard Michigan State and expands work into Flint. Goals include establishing a Healthier Black Elders Center in Flint, based on the one in Detroit. According to Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State, MCUAAAR is a catalyst for widespread change. “It has two major aims,” he said. “Increase the number of diverse junior faculty working in aging and health research, and partner with older African Americans in meaningful ways to improve health and well-being.”

Doctor discusses cold weather dangers facing those with dementia

There have been at least three cases in the past two days in Michigan where people with dementia or early onset dementia walked out in the cold and died. Psychologist Dr. Peter Lichtenberg, the director of the Institute of Gerentology at Wayne State University, tells Michigan News Network many people with dementia do some kind of wandering. “Some of it the need for stimulation, and some of it is sort of an idea that comes to them to go somewhere, and then losing that train of thought,” Lichtenberg said. “It’s incredibly dangerous with the way the weather is now.”