Silver Hoosiers-Health & Aging Research Lab

The mission of Silver Hoosiers-Health and Aging Research Lab is to promote aging-in-place. We conduct studies to identify modifiable factors and test intervention strategies that can potentially enhance health and independence in older adults. We currently focus on two areas of research:

  • Promoting health literacy
  • Preventing late-life disability
Two smiling students show off a project.

In our lab, we study how to make health information understandable for the older adults. Understanding health information is important for older adults to follow treatment regimen, especially for those who have multiple chronic conditions. However, most health information is hard to understand due to the complexity of the information and the difficulty of the medical jargon. We study how the information can be simplified through the increase of text cohesion or the use of illustrations. The lab is equipped with state of the art eye-tracking technology to assist the study. Our goal is to provide guidelines about how to produce effective health education materials for the senior population.

We also study the relationship between muscle strengthening exercise and physical function in older adults. People lose muscle mass and strength due to the process of aging and sedentary lifestyles. The loss of muscle strength can affect seniors’ ability to carry out daily tasks, further impacting their independence at home. We appraise existing literature to synthesize evidence about using physical exercise to increase function. Our recent efforts include pilot testing of the 3-Step Workout for Life program, used to prevent ADL disability in older adults who are at risk of losing independence at home.