Tom Meuser, Ph.D., founding director of the Center for Excellence in Aging and Health, recently returned from a trip to Iceland, where he made two presentations: one at the University of Iceland (UI) in Reykjavik and the second at Hrafnista nursing home in Hafnarfjordur.
At UI, Meuser spoke to an audience of Bachelor of Social Work students. He stressed the importance of asking good questions as a starting point for research on healthful aging and engaged the students around the concepts of aging in place, what happens when a person’s functional level no longer corresponds to his/her present living environment, and excess disability. He also shared information about his own research in narrative gerontology, including the creation of a board game designed to bring multigenerational family groups together in a lighthearted way to explore the heavy questions of life, death and legacy.
Meuser spoke to a mixed audience at Hrafnista nursing home, addressing both students and professionals. He introduced them to the University of New England and the Center for Excellence in Aging and Health and drew parallels between Maine and Iceland in terms of age-related challenges, notably rural health and wellness. His talk focused on his work around legacy beliefs across generations, discussing the clinical implications of his findings.
During the trip, Meuser met with several representatives from UI, Landspitali University Hospital, Hrafnista nursing home and the Grund nursing home (one of the oldest nursing homes in the country) to gain a better understanding of Icelandic notions and methods of geriatrics education and geriatric care.