March 7, 2017
SEC Faculty Travel Visit Focuses on Residential Environments for Older Adults
By: Bryant Welbourne
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)
Parents work hard to give their children the best the world has to offer, including the best living environment possible. As time goes on, the children become adults who want the same thing for their parents as they progress through their golden years. And while it is not always necessary, some older adults need to live in residential facilities that can provide targeted care.
Dr. Sherry Ahrentzen, the Shimberg Professor of Housing Studies at the University of Florida, recently took part in an SEC Faculty Travel Program visit to Texas A&M University’s Center for Health Systems and Design to learn about the center and discuss future research initiatives that examine building performance in residential settings for older adults.
“Occupant health is a growing field of research that focuses on housing and health issues and their application into design and building practices,” said Dr. Ahrentzen.
Although Florida and Texas A&M are both universities supported by the American Institute of Architects to research health and design issues in residential environments for an aging population, Texas A&M has a longer history of research in the area with the well-established Center for Health Systems and Design.
“The visit to Texas A&M was beneficial because I was able to learn about their system and team structures, grants they’ve received and collaboration with other departments across campus,” said Dr. Ahrentzen. “The Texas A&M faculty and I were also able to see some intersections between the work of their faculty and ours that could lead to collaborative efforts down the road.”
Aside from learning about the center and considering future projects, Dr. Ahrentzen provided a guest lecture that was attended by Texas A&M students and faculty.
Since her visit to College Station, Dr. Ahrentzen has had several opportunities to talk with Texas A&M faculty about future collaboration.
“We are discussing potential research about the importance of being active in assisted living facilities and support of facilities in rural areas that lack the appropriate funding,” said Dr. Ahrentzen.
Dr. Ahrentzen’s visit was supported by the SEC Faculty Travel Program that is administered by SECU, the academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference. The SEC supports and promotes the academic endeavors of the students and faculty at its 14 member universities.