Office of Research on Aging

Nearly 25 years ago, St. Louis College of Pharmacy faculty members joined forces to study the characteristics of athletes who competed in the National Senior Olympic Games (held in St. Louis in 1987 and 1989). Their research developed the concept of “competitive health,” a perspective in which seniors express their own good health through comparisons to peers or stereotypes—and prompted them to formally establish the Office for Research on Aging in 1993.

Latest News

Updated Geriatric Medication Game Now Available

The 2016 updated version of the Geriatric Medication Game is now available. Enhancements include:

  • A revised game manual
  • The addition of a new hospital station (replacement of the test and benefits station)
  • Additional station challenge cards

Updated games are ready to ship! Learn more and submit an order >

Student Honored

P3 student Fangzheng Yuan completed four years with the office. During that time, she studied how older Chinese residents of St. Louis utilize the health care system, with especial emphasis on their use of community health screenings to monitor their chronic conditions. Her work has provided insights into how ethnic identity affects perceptions of health care in society.

Aging In Place

There’s a lot that goes into life satisfaction among older adults. We’ve examined common senior community activities—including volunteer work and religious behavior—to understand their psychological and social effects on older adults. We've also sought to understand the perspective of older people by studying their photographs for indicators as to what it’s like to age in their particular communities. Now the ORA conducts research about older people in general while teaching health care professionals about the perspectives of the elderly and serving as a resource for information on older adults and aging. Driven by such far-reaching concerns, our research covers a lot of ground. We examine the physiological aspects of aging as well as the psychological, social, and cultural dimensions of growing older. We conduct basic scientific, as well as clinical research, with a focus on:

  • Perceptions of older adults. We want to know how students perceive older adults, as well. Each year, the ORA conducts a survey of first-year students to elicit their perceptions of seniors, while checking in with fifth-year students to see whether their view of seniors has changed during their time at STLCOP.
  • Age-related dementia. Among our ongoing projects is a gerontological research program we sponsor in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) of Washington University. Through this program, a selected second-year STLCOP student develops and submits a dementia-related research project to the ADRC. Once a mentorship with an ADRC researcher is agreed upon, the student works with the ADRC mentor on the project and develops it over the next year.

We’re working as well to disseminate the knowledge we uncover at the ORA through our Geriatric Medication Game, an educational role-playing activity in which the players assume the identity of an older person. The game acquaints students in various health careers, including those in STLCOP’s Professional Communications course, with issues and challenges older adults face as they navigate our health care system. Typically, students increase their sympathy for and understanding of older adults in our society.

We also serve as a resource for researchers interested in setting up a gerontological study or seeking information on older adults. 

The Office Report

Each fall and spring, the Office of Research on Aging publishes a newsletter, The Office Report. Download the latest issue below.