The Gerontologist Podcast

Howard B. Degenholtz, PhD, FGSA, Social Media Editor of The Gerontologist, interviews authors about their latest work and research findings published in the journal.

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Automated Vehicles for People with Dementia with Dr. Shabnam Haghzare

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Shabnam Haghzare, PhD about her paper, “Can Automated Vehicles Be Useful to Persons Living With Dementia? The Perspectives of Care Partners of People Living With Dementia”, published in The Gerontologist last year.  Dr. Haghzare completed this work as part of her doctoral dissertation in biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto where she was also a postdoctoral researcher at the KITE Research Institute at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute at Toronto University.  KITE stands for “Knowledge, Innovation, Talent, Everywhere.” She is currently an Artificial Intelligence consultant at Institut national de santé publique du Québec.  

Check out “Automated Vehicles for People With Dementia: A ‘Tremendous Potential’ That ‘Has Ways to go’--Reports of a Qualitative Study,” related work by Dr. Haghzare and colleagues also published in The Gerontologist.

You can learn more about Dr. Haghzare’s research at and follow her @ShabnamHZare.

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TikTok and Ageism with Dr. Reuben Ng

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Reuben Ng at the Le Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore about two papers on ageism on TikTok published in The Gerontologist.  In "Not Too Old for TikTok: How Older Adults Are Reframing Aging", he and his co-author examine how older adults use TikTok, and in "Hostility Toward Baby Boomers on TikTok", they examine the reaction of younger adults to the ways that older adults use TikTok.  Taken together, these two papers shed light on fascinating sub-cultures of the virtual world. 

Both articles are published in the October 2022 issue of The Gerontologist.

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Assessing Age-Friendly Communities with Dr. Kathy Black

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Kathy Black at the University of South Florida about her article, "Assessing Age-Friendly Community Progress: What Have We Learned?", which appeared in the special issue of The Gerontologist, Age-Friendly Environments.  Dr. Black's article led off the special issue and summarized the overall performance of age-friendly communities.

For an overview of the special issue, check out the editorial by Dr. Meeks:
Age-Friendly Communities: Introduction to the Special Issue

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"American Dementia" with Drs. Daniel George and Peter Whitehouse

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Drs. Daniel George at Penn State College of Medicine and Peter Whitehouse at Case Western Reserve University about their co-authored book, “American Dementia: Brain Health in an Unhealthy Society,” published last year by Johns Hopkins University Press.  Information about the book can be found at The Gerontologist published a review of the book by Drs. Cameron J. Camp and Evan Shelton, “Zooming Out on Dementia: The Effects of American Society on Brain Health.”

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Workforce Issues in Long-Term Care with Dr. Laura Wagner

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Laura Wagner, a nurse and researcher from University of California, San Francisco, about two papers from the special issue of The Gerontologist, Workforce Special Issue on the Workforce, which was published in June 2021:

  1. Medical Staffing Organization and Quality of Care Outcomes in Post-acute Care Settings by L. M. Wagner, P. Katz, J. Karuza, C. Kwong, L. Sharp, and J. Spetz
  2. It Is Time to Resolve the Direct Care Workforce Crisis in Long-Term Care by K. Scales

For an overview of the special issue, check out the editorial by Drs. Degenholtz and Meeks:

Workforce Issues in Long-Term Care: Is There Hope for a Better Way Forward?

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Gentrification, Displacement, and Aging in Place in a Black Community with Dr. Raina Croff

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Raina Croff, an anthropologist at the Layton Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Oregon Health and Science University about her paper, “The Whitest City in America: A Smaller Black Community’s Experience of Gentrification, Displacement, and Aging in Place”, published in The Gerontologist. This qualitative study of gentrification draws on a focus group conducted with participants in the SHARP walking study, a project that combines physical exercise (walking) with reminiscence and photo-imagery. You can find more information about the project in a 2019 article published in The Gerontologist.

Article (Published online on March 27, 2021 in The Gerontologist)

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Special Collection: Gerontology in a Time of Pandemic

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Suzanne Meeks, Editor-in-Chief of The Gerontologist, about the recently published special collection, Gerontology in a Time of Pandemic (Part I in February 2021; and Part II in March 2021), that brings together fascinating papers on the COVID-19 pandemic.  The three articles published in Part I, which were highlighted in this episode, were:

  1. "National Profiles of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Mortality Risks by Age Structure and Preexisting Health Conditions" by A. M. Verdery, L. Newmyer, Wagner, and R. Margolis
  2. "'It's Pure Panic': The Portrayal of Residential Care in American Newspapers During COVID-19" by L. D. Allen and L. Ayalon
  3. "Social Isolation and Psychological Distress During the COVID-1 Pandemic: A Cross-National Analysis" by H. H. Kim and J. H. Jung

In the final part of their conversation, the editors brief discussed Part II of the special collection.

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COVID-19 and the Aging Prison Population with Dr. Stephanie Prost

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Stephanie Prost from the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville.  Dr. Prost is an expert in the aging prison population, and, "Prisons and COVID-19: A Desperate Call for Gerontological Expertise in Correctional Health Care", her paper recently published in The Gerontologist, examines the impact of COVID-19 on the incarcerated population.  They discussed the challenges faced by aging prisoners and how COVID-19 poses additional complications.  After speaking with Dr. Prost, Dr. Degenholtz called Dr. Mandy Garber, a psychiatrist who has worked in jail and prison environments and spoke with her about the consequences of the pandemic for people with mental health problems. 

For more information and guidance surrounding COVID-19 in correctional settings, visit Amend at

For resources regarding advance care planning during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Prepare for Your Care at

Article (February 2021 special issue of The Gerontologist, "Gerontology in a Time of Pandemic") | Download the Episode


Loneliness of First-Generation Dutch Migrants with Ms. Rowan ten Kate

In this episode of The Gerontologist Podcast, Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Ms. Rowan ten Kate, a doctoral student at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. In her paper, “A Closer Look at Loneliness: Why Do First-Generation Migrants Feel More Lonely Than Their Native Dutch Counterparts?”, which was published in the March 2020 special issue of The Gerontologist on immigration and aging, she analyzed data from a large national survey that included older first-generation immigrants as well as native-born people.  She found that migrants were more lonely than their native-born counterparts, and that this association was not moderated by the frequency of social contact.  The implications for well-being in this population was discussed.  In the second segment, Dr. Degenholtz talked to his mom about first-generation immigrants in their own family tree - her father and grandmother.

Article (March 2020 special issue of The Gerontologist, "Immigration and Aging") | Download the Episode


Emotional Labor of Home Health Aides with Dr. Emily Franzosa

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Emily Franzosa at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the James J. Peters VA Medical Center about her paper on the emotional labor of home health aides. Her paper, “Who’s Caring for Us?”: Understanding and Addressing the Effects of Emotional Labor on Home Health Aides’ Well-being, published in the December 2019 issue of The Gerontologist, reports on focus groups conducted with groups of aides, finding that being close and having trusting relationships with clients were important to aides’ emotional well-being. The conversation highlighted the importance of recognizing emotional labor and the limitations of the current system that do not reward or even explicitly acknowledge the psychological toll that caring can have on paid caregivers. Dr. Degenholtz talked to his mother about the people who have cared for their relatives, including his uncle and his grandmother, and tried to parse out what motivates people above and beyond pay to do this challenging work.

Article (December 2019 Issue of The Gerontologist) | Download the Episode

Disclaimer: This interview does not represent the views of the US Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States government.


Driving Cessation & Transportation Needs Among Older Adults with Dr. Anne Dickerson

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Anne E. Dickerson at East Carolina University about her research on driving cessation and transportation needs among older adults, the topic of her paper published in The Gerontologist, "Transportation and Aging: An Updated Research Agenda to Advance Safe Mobility among Older Adults Transitioning From Driving to Non-driving." They talked about having a 'transportation plan' and how to use rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft. In the second part of the episode, Dr. Degenholtz talked to his mom about her opinion on driving cessation and rideshare services.

Article (April 2019 Issue of The Gerontologist) | Download the Episode


Care Conferences in Nursing Homes with Dr. Gloria Puurveen

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Gloria Puurveen at University of British Columbia about her research on people with advanced Alzheimer's Disease.  Her paper, “A Seat at the Table: The Positioning of Families During Care Conferences in Nursing Homes,” published in the October 2019 issue of The Gerontologist looks at care conferences, an important and often overlooked aspect of how nursing homes are run. The study was part of her post-doctoral fellowship. Dr. Degenholtz wrapped up the episode a conversation about the topic with the regular contributor of The Gerontologist Podcast, his mom.

Article (October 2019 issue of The Gerontologist) | Download the Episode


Robotic Pets in Dementia Care with Dr. Wendy Moyle

In the fourth episode of The Gerontologist Podcast, Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Wendy Moyle at Griffith University about her research using robotic pets for people with dementia.  Her paper, "She Had a Smile on Her Face as Wide as the Great Australian Bite": A Qualitative Examination of Family Perceptions of a Therapeutic Robot and a Plush Toy, published in the 2018 special issue of The Gerontologist on technology an aging, expands this work to explore the impact of the robotic pets on family members. After speaking with Dr. Moyle, he called his mom to see what she thinks about using robotic pets for people with dementia.

Article (February 2019 special issue of The Gerontologist, "Technology and Aging") | Download the Episode


Mindfulness Interventions for Dementia Caregivers with Dr. Rebecca Collins

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Rebecca Collins about her clinical practice and research on mindfulness-based interventions. Her paper, The Effectiveness of Mindfulness- and Acceptance-Based Interventions for Informal Caregivers of People With Dementia: A Meta-Analysis, published in The Gerontologist provides a great meta-analysis of the effectiveness of these strategies for dementia caregivers. After speaking with her, Dr. Degenholtz called his mom to see what she thinks about mindfulness and acceptance based strategies.

Article (Published online on April 4, 2018 in The Gerontologist) | Download the Episode


Use of Cannabis Among Older Adults with Dr. Brian Kaskie

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Brian Kaskie at University of Iowa about his research on use of cannabis among older adults.  He published a Policy Studies paper, The Increasing Use of Cannabis Among Older Americans: A Public Health Crisis or Viable Policy Alternative? and has had several additional papers on this important topic.  After having a fascinating and wide ranging conversation as befits the topic with Dr. Kaskie, Dr. Degenholtz called his mom for her opinion!  

You can learn more about Dr. Kaskie's research on his project website.

Policy Studies Article: The Increasing Use of Cannabis Among Older Americans: A Public Health Crisis or Viable Policy Alternative? (December 2017 issue of The Gerontologist)

Measurement Article: Measuring Attitudes Toward Medical and Recreational Cannabis Among Older Adults in Colorado (Published online on May 14, 2019 in The Gerontologist)

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Homeless for the First Time with Dr. Victoria Burns

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Victoria Burns about her paper, Homeless for the First Time in Later Life. She shared her motivation for this line of research. She also discussed a fascinating documentary project she is working that brings to life the stories of homeless older adults in Calgary.  You can learn more about "Beyond Housing" on the StoryHive website.

Article (April 2019 issue of The Gerontologist) | Download the Episode


The GSA on Aging Podcast Series is supported by the GSA Innovation Fund.

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