KU News Release


Feb. 3, 2011
Contact: Karen Henry, Life Span Institute, 785-864-0756

National experts on aging to participate in special public series

LAWRENCE — Boomer Futures: Aging Well in the 21st Century is a special speaker series that will bring five distinguished visiting specialists to the University of Kansas to explore the future of aging.

The Commons Development Co. challenged KU to re-conceive the residential environment in which aging occurs: the buildings, neighborhoods, communities and culture, according to Dennis Domer, director of graduate studies in the Department of American Studies and acting director of the Museum Studies Program.

Taking up the challenge are KU’s Department of American Studies; School of Architecture, Design and Planning; Center for Service Learning; Center for Teaching Excellence; and Gerontology Center of the Life Span Institute.

The free public series will be held at the newly renovated accessible Carnegie Library at Ninth and Vermont streets in Lawrence. Each expert will also speak on the KU campus to combined classes at various locations. All students, faculty and members of the public are welcome to the events.

Further, the CDC is working with KU to develop the knowledge to build 20 successful “new cities” that respond to the special needs of baby boomers and their extended families, said Domer.

“We call our initiative NCLLCI, or New Cities Life Long Communities Initiative,” he said. “We set up a think tank in the fall semester to investigate how these communities should be designed based on what we learn about aging and the desires of the baby boomer population, their children and grandchildren.”

The CDC is sponsoring the think tank and, this semester, furnishing a special studio in which graduate students in American studies, gerontology and architecture come together to engage the problem in an interdisciplinary mode.

“Our work is also an experiment in place-based education and not like a normal classroom in which students come and go when KU’s whistle blows” Domer said. “This multifaceted initiative is a challenging experience for students and faculty alike.”

Schedule and speakers

Harry R. Moody, a philosopher by training, is the author of “Aging: Concepts and Controversies,” a textbook in its sixth edition. Moody is the director of academic affairs for AARP in Washington, D.C., and a senior associate with the International Longevity Center-USA. He was previously the chairman of the board of Elderhostel.

Later Life Creativity: The Best is Yet to Be, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 3, Carnegie Library

The Third Age and the Good Life, 3-4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 4, 120 Snow Hall

Peter Uhlenberg teaches and conducts research on population aging, aging policy and the demography of family relationships. He is the editor of the “Handbook on Population Aging” and editor of the journal Social Forces. Uhlenberg is professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Fellow of the Carolina Population Center.

Connections between Old and Young in an Aging America, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 24, Carnegie Library

Age Integration: Obstacles and Opportunities, 3-4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 25, 100 Stauffer-Flint Hall

Bruce A. Carnes, a KU alumnus, uses a bio-demographic approach to reveal the mortality and longevity patterns that are shared by all species. He is the author of “The Quest for Immortality: Science at the Frontiers of Aging.” Carnes is professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

No Truth to the Fountain of Youth, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 31, Carnegie Library

Lessons from Biology on the Nature of Aging, Friday, 3-4 p.m., Friday, ,April 1, 120 Snow Hall

Stephen Golant specializes in the study of the housing, neighborhood and community needs of older Americans. He has recently questioned the U.S. policy enthusiasm for aging in place. His most recent book is “The Assisted Living Residence: A Vision for the Future.” Golant is professor of geography at the University of Florida.

Thriving in Later Life—Where You Live Matters, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 14, Carnegie Library

Theorizing Where to Grow Old Successfully, 3-4 p.m., Friday, April 15, 120 Snow Hall

Laura L. Carstensen is an expert in the psychological changes of older adulthood. She is best known for her life-span theory of motivation. She is the author of “A Long Bright Future: An Action Plan for a Lifetime of Happiness, Health and Financial Security.” Carstensen is professor of psychology and director of the Stanford Center on Longevity at Stanford University.

Long Life in the 21st Century, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 28, Carnegie Library

Redesigning Long Life, 3-4 p.m., Friday, April 29, 120 Snow Hall

The Aging in the 21st Century Series is sponsored by the Commons Development Co. and HOK. Commons Development Co. is a commercial long-life communities developer located in Jefferson City, Mo., and Overland Park, Kan. HOK is one of the largest architectural design firms and has locations in Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston and in other cities throughout the United States.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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