de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging

Current Pilot Projects

Refinement and Usability Evaluation of a Mobile Application to Support Mediterranean Diet for Persons with Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias and Their Care Partners – Oleg Zaslavsky

This study aims to test and refine a previously developed mobile app aimed at improving adherence to the Mediterranean Diet for older adults with frailty, and extend it’s target audience to older adults cognitive impairment, as well as frailty. Specifically, the study will use dementia-specific principles of human-centered design to customize the app to accommodate older adults with mild-to-moderate dementia and their care partners. The researchers will also test the modified prototype of the app in two usability studies. Benefits of the preliminary work are far-reaching because, if confirmed in future studies, this app will present a scalable remote solution for secondary dementia risk reduction for currently underserved populations.

Understanding the Engaging with Aging (EWA) Experience Among Independently Residing Older Adults: A Validation Study – Shaoqing Ge

Developed by a nonagenarian, the concept of Engaging with Aging (EWA) describes an active, conscious daily living process of coping with age-related changes (ARCs) taken on by an older adult or on behalf of the older adult. Although EWA provides a novel perspective to understand older adults’ experiences of managing daily living challenges caused by ARCs, the concept has yet to be validated. The purpose of this multi-method study is to validate and refine the conceptualization of EWA by describing the aging experience among independently-residing older adults. It is anticipated that findings from this study will deepen our understanding of older adults’ aging experience and conceptualization of EWA.

Caring for Caregivers; Intervention to Improve Dementia Caregiver Self-Care – Tatiana Sadak

Sadak’s team recently developed and validated “Managing Your Own Wellness” the first comprehensive measure that captures dementia caregiver self-care behaviors from day-to-day and during periods of caregiving crisis; and has used this measure to frame a study of dementia caregiver resilience. The goal of this project is to pilot test and culturally tailor an intervention to enhance self-care behaviors. This work will lay foundations for a new generation of caregiver interventions that address the full scope of caregiver self-care needs.

Examining changes in intermuscular fat in breast cancer patients – Kerryn Reding 

Symptoms of heart failure are prevalent in breast cancer survivors and contribute to reduced quality of life. While the role of muscle composition, namely intermuscular fat in HF symptoms has been studied older adults, it has received relatively little attention in cancer patients, despite the recognized role of skeletal muscle wasting in fatigue in cancer patients. This study leverages an existing study with a longitudinal collection of MRI images available to quantify intermuscular fat and skeletal muscle before and after cancer treatment.

Field Test of the Partners in Care (PIC) Caregiver Program – Frances Lewis

Nurse Talking To Senior Couple In Hospital Room

Despite advances in the medical treatment of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in adults, no studies have attempted to enhance the quality of patients’ or caregivers’ adjustment to initial treatment for AML. The study team has designed an educational counseling program, the Partners in Care (PIC) Program, for spouse caregivers of patients recently diagnosed with AML. This RIFP will examine the feasibility and short-term impact of the PIC program.

Assessing Support and Priorities for Supportive Housing – Anita Souza

National and regional data reveal an upward trend in the age of persons experiencing homelessness. Locally, in King County, nearly a quarter of the unsheltered homeless population is estimated to be over 55 years old. Compass Housing Alliance and the University of Washington School of Nursing have partnered for this proposal to measure and describe the characteristics of older adults in supportive housing and collect data on their engagement with the local network of social and health services.