To improve the longevity and well-being of aging individuals across all demographics, The University of Texas at Austin will launch the Texas Aging & Longevity Center (TALC) on Friday, Jan. 25. University partners are the LBJ School of Public Affairs, College of Liberal Arts, Moody College of Communication, School of Human Ecology, College of Natural Sciences, Office of the Vice President for Research, School of Information, Human Development and Family Sciences, Population Research Center and School of Nursing. Jaqueline Angel, an LBJ School professor and leading aging researcher, sits on TALC's executive committee.
The launch will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at Sherri and Robert L. Patton, Jr. Hall (RLP 1.302E), 305 E. 23rd St., Austin, TX. The event is free and open to the public.
Nearly 15 percent of Texans — 4 million people — are 65 or older, and by 2040, older adults will make up more than a fifth of the population. This growing group is likely to present new challenges that researchers within TALC are prepared to take on.
"LBJ School students and faculty interested in aging policy research will have new chances to engage — a major hallmark of the program is translating aspects of basic social and behavioral research and aging demographics into informed public policy and evidence-based practice." — LBJ School Professor Jacqueline Angel
"The new Texas Aging and Longevity Center provides many opportunities for discovery and exchange of ideas to address the massive problems our nation faces in the near future relative to caring for the elderly," said Angel. "LBJ School students and faculty interested in aging policy research will have new chances to engage — a major hallmark of the program is translating aspects of basic social and behavioral research and aging demographics into informed public policy and evidence-based practice."
Although UT Austin has much ongoing research on aging and longevity, that work is spread across 12 colleges. The TALC will serve as a hub for research and education on this subject.
"No other center brings the UT community together to study state, local, national and international issues. A special focus on aging in Mexico and the Latino population in the U.S. makes this endeavor unique in the nation," Angel said.
Through campus events, speaker series, training workshops and monthly journal clubs, the center hopes to bring together scholars from different fields to take a closer look at:
- Social isolation and aging in the community
- Health disparities and early life predictors of aging
- Brain aging
- Technology and aging
Housed in the university's Population Research Center (PRC), TALC will be led by co-directors Karen Fingerman, a human development and family sciences professor and PRC faculty researcher; and Debra Umberson, a sociology professor and PRC director.
Today @UTAustin launches @TxAging, a new aging and longevity center to address the future needs of Texas' growing elderly population. LBJ professor, leading aging researcher Jacqui Angel says the center provides new opportunities for student research. https://t.co/OBufO2bqXj— The LBJ School (@TheLBJSchool) Jan. 25, 2019
"Older adults today are breaking barriers by working longer and staying fit and involved in their communities," Fingerman said. "But addressing optimal aging requires an adaptive society."
Texas' 50-and-older population is made up of growing proportions of ethnic minorities with unique wellness challenges and sizable health disparities exist between urban and rural aging populations. Additionally, aging presents increased risk of dementia, and caregiving for dementia currently costs the Texas economy billions of dollars. Understanding and addressing the best ways to age and the drivers of such disparities will be essential to improving the lives of aging Americans, UT Austin researchers said.
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