Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 80

Q+A

Fact finder

Anne Barrett, a sociology professor and director of the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy
at Florida State University, wants to use research to encourage more honest portrayals of and
discussions on aging By Anne DiNardo
approaches, but finding a solution could have individual and
societal payoffs.

How do those views affect
public policies, and what do
you hope to change through
your efforts?
Ageism manifests in many
ways, from seemingly harmless
range of aging issues with
phrases like "senior moment"
implications for public policy.
and "silver tsunami" to age
Anne Barrett
For example, we're examining
discrimination in the paid labor
economic and health disparities in later life,
force. These factors collectively contribute to
manifestations and consequences of ageism,
creating an environment that makes growfeatures of social and physical environments
ing old more challenging for us all. At the
shaping older adults' well-being, and early life
individual level, holding more negative views
experiences influencing later life. The institute
about aging predicts all sorts of undesirable
also supports the work of two organizations
outcomes, including worse mental and physiserving Florida's aging community: The Safe
cal health and even shorter life expectancy.
Mobility for Life Coalition, a program funded
But ageism also influences public policies
by the Florida Department of Transportation
by making issues of later life unpopular to
that's focused on improving transportation
discuss. We seem to be especially reluctant to
options for our aging population, and The
discuss issues facing those in their 80s, when
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at FSU,
many people start to need help with some
which offers dozens of classes each year to
activities like driving, cooking, or dressing. I
its nearly 1,200 members.
hope that my work contributes to encouraging
more honest portrayals and discussions of all
What factors most commonly influence
stages of later life.
individuals' attitudes toward aging?
Large-scale surveys examining people's views
How are societal views on aging
on aging find that more positive attitudes are
changing, or how must they change,
often connected with having more frequent
considering the massive size of the
and varied interactions with older adults
world's over-60 population? 
and more knowledge about aging. SmallerBirthday celebrations for those reaching their
scale studies, particularly laboratory-based
80s, 90s, and beyond are commonplace now.
experiments, also reveal that when people
But ageism targeting these adults-and those
are exposed to positive images of aging, they
even decades younger-remains curiously
tend to report better attitudes on aging and
persistent. Our aging society, and those of us
are less likely to apply negative age stereowishing to age meaningfully within it, would
types to themselves. These findings raise the
be better served by viewing our later years as
possibility that we could reset prevailing views
a stage, like all others, with gains and losses.
of aging by presenting more positive images
Our culture's framing of this time highlights the
and enhancing people's opportunities to
physical declines and loss of independence
form meaningful cross-generational relationand downplays the positives, like the enriched
ships. Creating spaces for such interaction
perspectives derived from accumulated life
is a challenge with age-segregated housing
experiences. Greater recognition of the many
80

EFAmagazine.com * Fall 2017

facets of aging would go a long way toward
ensuring that seniors are vital and respected
members of our communities.
How do features of our physical and
social environments influence our wellbeing in later life?
Regardless of our level of functional ability,
we all want to feel confident navigating our
physical environments and engaging in activities of our choosing within them. Supportive
social environments are just as important.
Not surprisingly, feeling loved and cared for is
one of the strongest predictors of well-being.
Health-enhancing environments are those
that can help to cultivate these feelings.
What do you see as basic components
any built environment should provide to
best support the sociology of aging?
Our built environments should support and
inspire us at any age. They can enhance
our well-being when they invite opportunities for many different types of activities and
social interactions, and [support] people
with varying levels of functional ability. They
also should encourage us to make our own
choices rather than have them dictated by
the structure of the environment. Research
consistently supports the importance to our
well-being of having control in making decisions, from major ones like when to retire and
where to live to more everyday choices about
meaningful ways to spend time. In reality,
many older adults, especially those with few
economic resources, lack the freedom to
make such decisions. Built environments for
our aging population that are centered on
the ideas of affordability, support, and choice
would enhance all seniors' ability to thrive. EFA
Anne DiNardo is executive editor of Environments
for Aging. She can be reached at anne.dinardo@
emeraldexpo.com.

FSU PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICES/BRUCE PALMER

Environments for Aging:
Tell us about your work
at the Pepper Institute on
Aging and Public Policy.
Anne Barrett: The Pepper
Institute is the multidisciplinary
hub for aging research at
Florida State University (FSU),
where faculty and students
conduct research on a wide


http://www.EFAmagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Environments for Aging - Fall 2017

Environments for Aging - Fall 2017
Contents
EFAmagazine.com
Editorial
Editorial Advisory Board
Show Talk
Bulletin
Welcome
High score
Now and then
Setting the stage
Close to home
Open house
All inclusive
Top 10 Remodel/ Renovation projects
Introduction
Product Innovation Awards winners
Product Innovation Gallery
Design Profiles
Q+A
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Environments for Aging - Fall 2017
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Cover2
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 1
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Contents
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 3
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - EFAmagazine.com
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 5
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 6
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Editorial
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 8
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 9
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Editorial Advisory Board
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 11
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Show Talk
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 13
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 14
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Bulletin
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 16
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 17
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 18
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 19
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 20
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 21
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Welcome
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 23
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Now and then
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 25
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 26
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 27
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 28
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 29
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 30
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 31
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 32
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Setting the stage
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 34
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 35
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Close to home
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 37
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 38
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 39
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 40
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 41
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 42
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 43
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 44
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 45
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Open house
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 47
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 48
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 49
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 50
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 51
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - All inclusive
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 53
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Top 10 Remodel/ Renovation projects
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 55
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 56
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 57
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 58
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 59
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 60
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 61
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 62
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 63
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 64
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 65
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 66
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Introduction
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Product Innovation Awards winners
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 69
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 70
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Product Innovation Gallery
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 72
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 73
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Design Profiles
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 75
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 76
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 77
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 78
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - 79
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Q+A
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Cover3
Environments for Aging - Fall 2017 - Cover4
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