Eastern Michigan University’s aging studies program hosted their annual fall lecture on Wednesday.
They welcomed Dr. Donna Algase, the associate dean of research and evaluation at the University of Toledo, as their guest lecturer. Algase has dedicated her career to dementia-related studies, concentrating specifically on wandering behavior in dementia patients.
The topics this year were dementia-related behavior and dementia care models. Andrea Gossett Zakrajsek, the aging studies program director, explained that the topic of dementia was chosen for this year’s lecture because it is both an interesting and often unaddressed area of study.
“Every year we have great attendance,” Zakrajsek said. “Students, professors and community members often come out to our fall lecture.”
Algase shared her knowledge and research by explaining her 30-year journey through the study of wandering to the diverse audience in attendance.
“It is important to understand that people with dementia are doing the best they can, and factors like wandering can be used as an explanation for that,” Algase said. “[Dementia patients] can’t make entire sense of what is happening.”
Zakrajsek thought that Algase gave a “thought-provoking look at dementia and wandering.”
“The idea that people are studying wandering makes me realize that there is so much more to explore in dementia, and there are all kinds of opportunities for research,” said Adrienne Dunlevy, a junior and dietetics major.
Freshman and history-geography education major Rachel Burns agreed with Dunlevy.
“I did not know there was so much specific research within the field of dementia,” Burns said.
Algase was happy to visit EMU and said she felt very welcomed by the aging studies program.
“I did some research here years ago, and I like to give back to the people who have helped me,” Algase said.
Zakrajsek said that the aging studies program was very happy to have Algase as their lecturer this year. She encourages students at EMU who are interested in aging studies to get involved in Gerontology Program Student Organization.
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