RehabWire, Volume 7, Number 8, September 2005.


As people with disabilities are living longer, we are learning more and more about the effects of aging on spinal cord injury, neurological disorders, and other disabilities. This issue of RehabWire concentrates on healthy aging-related research projects.

NIDRR Projects: Research in the New Millennium.

Lifetime Outcomes and Needs: Refining the Understanding of Aging with Spinal Cord Injury, Craig Hospital (H133A011108) led by Daniel P. Lammertse, MD; Susan B. Charlifue, PhD. Phillip Beatty, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project explores the incidence and prevalence of several health and psychosocial conditions that accompany living many years with SCI. Also studied in this comprehensive, longitudinal, multicenter effort are the services available to individuals with SCI as they attempt to address these conditions throughout their lives. The study expands the longitudinal database, addressing emerging issues of aging with SCI in greater detail, and expands efforts to share findings with a variety of constituents. The eight areas of focus include: (1) secondary conditions from 5 to 25 years post-injury, (2) new analytic techniques with longitudinal datasets, (3) chronic pain, (4) access to and satisfaction with health services, (5) personal assistance services, (6) spirituality and its effects on health outcomes and quality of life, (7) the role of perceived stress and self-reported problems on the presence or absence of secondary conditions and in relation to one’s overall well-being, and (8) trends in quality of life and health.
Find out more at:

Persons Aging with Hearing and Vision Loss, Mississippi State University (H133A020701) led by B.J. LeJeune, MEd., RTC, CRC. Richard Johnson, EdD, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project investigates strategies to improve outcomes for persons who are over 55 with hearing and vision loss, especially those who have a sensory disability and acquire a second as a result of the aging process. The project conducts a variety of research, development, training, and dissemination activities and evaluates both technology and model service delivery approaches for improving employment and community integration options. Research activities include the use of focus groups, a panel of experts, and a study sample that includes a nationally representative sample of older individuals who are blind or visually impaired and losing their hearing, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing and losing their vision.
Find out more at:

Aging-Related Changes in Impairment for Persons Living with Physical Disabilities, Los Amigos Research & Education Institute, Inc. (H133B031002) led by Bryan J. Kemp, PhD. Theresa San Agustin, MD, Project Officer.
Abstract:This project evolves from the fact that persons who have a disability are now living into middle age and late life in ever-increasing numbers. However, many of these people appear to be experiencing premature age-related changes in health and functioning. The project tests a model for improved understanding of these problems and interventions to help alleviate them. The training, dissemination, and technical assistance activities include clinical training of current and future health providers, current and future researchers, persons with disabilities, their families, and policy makers. Both traditional methods of one-on-one and group training as well as technology-based distance training techniques are used to reach national audiences and under-served populations.
Find out more at:

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities, University of Illinois at Chicago (H133B031134) led by Tamar Heller, PhD. Margaret Campbell, PhD, Project Officer.
Abstract: The mission of the RRTCADD is to have a sustained beneficial impact on the health and community inclusion of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) as they age through a coordinated set of research, training, and dissemination activities. Major goals are: (1) improving health and function of adults with I/DD, (2) enhancing caregiving supports and transition planning among older caregivers and other family members, and (3) promoting aging and disability friendly environments that enable adults with I/DD to participate in community life. Projects examining aging and disability-friendly environments include research to identify features of communities and residences that hinder and assist community integration as people with I/DD age, state policies regarding nursing home use, and dementia care in family homes and other community residences.
Find out more at:

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology for Successful Aging, University of Florida (H133E010106) led by William C. Mann, PhD. Margaret Campbell, PhD, Project Officer.
Abstract: The RERC-Tech-Aging conducts research, development, education, and information dissemination work on technology for successful aging. Projects of the RERC focus on the closely related areas of communications, home monitoring, and “smart” technologies. The technology driving the focus for this RERC is developing rapidly and requires an understanding of current and emerging technology areas, including wireless technology, computers, sensors, user interfaces, control devices, and networking. Successful integration of this technology into products and systems for older persons requires an understanding of their complex health, independence, and quality-of-life issues. The RERC-Tech-Aging tests currently available home monitoring products and demonstrates their effectiveness in relation to independence, quality of life, and health related costs. The RERC-Tech-Aging also identifies needs and barriers to home monitoring and communication technology, and addresses needs of special populations including rural-living, elders, and people aging with disability.
Find out more at:

For Your Caledar:
White House Conference on Aging, October 23-26, 2005. for more information.

International Conference on Aging, Disability, and Independence Feruary 1-5. 2006. for more information.

New Research: Selections from REHABDATA

Saltzman, E. (2002) Nutrition in disease prevention and treatment. Caring, 2(8), 3. NARIC Accession Number: J44181.
Abstract: Article discusses recent advances in nutrition science that impact healthy aging as well as the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. These include dietary reference intakes, a new set of recommendations that replace the recommended daily allowances, antioxidant vitamins, homocysteine, and B vitamins. The effects of poor nutrition on problems such as decubitus ulcers and obesity are also discussed.

Heller, T., Janicki, M. (2002) Promoting healthy aging, family support, and age-friendly communities for persons aging with developmental disabilities: Report of the 2001 invitational research symposium on aging with developmental disabilities. NARIC Accession Number: O14698. Project Number: H133B980046.
Abstract: Reports the outcome of a symposium convened to develop a research and policy agenda for older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Key researchers, policy makers, service providers, self-advocates, and families discussed the issues and helped develop the recommendations for: (1) promoting healthy aging, (2) supporting families and aging adults, and (3) creating age-friendly communities.

Janicki, M. P., Breitenbach, N. (2000) Aging and intellectual disabilities: Improving longevity and promoting healthy aging: Summative report. NARIC Accession Number: O14707.
Project Number: H133B980046.
Abstract: Summarizes research on the healthy aging of persons with intellectual disabilities. Report provides a synthesis of the findings and conclusions drawn from four special reports on (1) physical health, (2) women’s health, (3) biobehavioral issues, and (4) aging and social policy. Included in this summary are the main recommendations from the four reports for improving health and longevity among persons with intellectual disabilities.

Pedersen, E., Nelis, T. (2005) Facts for healthy aging [various topics]. NARIC Accession Numbers: O16070-O16073.
Project Number: H133B031134.
Abstract: Fact sheets educate adults with disabilities on: High blood pressure, healthy feet, arthritis, and exercise. These fact sheets are available to download at

Nosek, M. (2000) Overcoming the odds: The health of women with physical disabilities in the United States. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 81(2), 4. Accession Number J38594.
Abstract: Article presenting an overview of the health of older women with physical disabilities, and discussing how the odds for successful aging can be increased. The article begins with general demographic information and a review of secondary conditions affecting women aging with disabilities. Statistics are presented on inequities and gaps in general health, reproductive health, mental health, and access to health care. Current program trends are identified and pathways for change are offered.

Kennedy, J. (2002) Disability and Aging—Beyond the crisis rhetoric: Introduction to the Special Issue. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 12(4), 3. Accession Number J44258.
Abstract: Article provides introduction to the special issue of this journal, which focuses on disability and aging. The articles, which are included in the NARIC collection under accession numbers J44259 through J44264, cover the following topics: successful aging, trends affecting Medicaid policy, state rehabilitation agencies, aging with disability, technology, and housing changes.

Minkler, M. (2002) Successful Aging: A Disability Perspective. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 12(4), 7. Accession Number J44259.
Authors explore the successful aging paradigm as it relates to the growing number of people who are aging with physical disabilities. Three characteristics of successful aging are discussed: low probability of disease and disease-related disability, high cognitive and physical functioning, and active engagement with life. Article describes how the term ‘successful aging’ and its specific aspects can further stigmatize people who, as a result of their disabilities, may not meet the criteria for aging well. Implications for research, policy, and practice are discussed.

Cole, A., Tran, B. (2002) Home care technologies for an aging population. In M. J. Rosen and D. E. Lauderdale (Eds.) Proceedings of the State of Science Conference on Telerehabilitation and Applications of Virtual Reality (pp.85-88). Washington, DC: NRH Press. Accession Number O14732.
Abstract: Paper discusses the use of various technologies for home healthcare delivery and to promote successful aging. Describes the application of computer and information technologies and wireless communications to help older adults: (1) avoid disease, (2) maintain physical and cognitive function, and (3) realize lifelong engagement.

(2001) Proceedings: Technologies for Successful Aging. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 38(1), 78. Suppl., i-xi. Accession Number R08138.
Abstract: Proceedings of a White House Forum on Technologies for Successful Aging, held October 4-5, 2000 in Washington, DC. Technology issues are discussed from a wide range of perspectives, including research, health care, economics, advocacy, technology transfer, technology development, and administration.

Kennedy, J. (Ed) (2002) Special Issue: Disability and Aging. Journal of Disability and Policy Studies, 12(4),63. Accession Number R08279.
Abstract: Special issue of this journal focuses on disability and aging. Topics include successful aging, trends affecting Medicaid policy, state rehabilitation agencies, aging with disability, technology, and housing changes. The articles are included separately in the NARIC collection under accession numbers J44258 through J44264.