WMU News

Communication and aging is topic of talks

Oct. 9, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- Two nationally-known scholars will describe the latest developments in helping senior citizens maintain a normal level of communication in public lectures Thursday and Friday, Oct. 23-24, at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Barbara Weinstein, professor of audiology and director of the Program in Speech and Hearing Science at Lehman College of the City University of New York, and Dr. Rosemary Lubinski, professor of communication sciences and disorders and director of graduate studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo, will speak as part of WMU's 16th annual Van Riper Lectures in Speech Pathology and Audiology.

The pair will give three free public lectures in the Kirsch Auditorium of the Fetzer Center. The larger two-day event will bring speech, language and hearing professionals and students to the campus to examine "Communication and Aging: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Keep Elders Communicating."

Lubinski will describe "Environmental Modifications to Enhance Communication in Aging" at 2:45 p.m. Thursday. She will discuss how environmental factors such as noise, activity and lighting can be altered to increase communication opportunities for the elderly.

Lubinski also will talk about "Enhancing Communication through Technologies for Vision, Hearing and Speech." at 2:15 p.m. Friday. That address will focus on high- and low-tech developments and products in communication technologies for the elderly.

Weinstein will examine "Technologies for Communication in Aging: A Multimedia Tool" at 12:30 p.m. Friday. She will discuss the principles underlying successful hearing screening protocols to be used with older adults. She also will demonstrate a multimedia tool that she is developing which can be used to identify older adults with hearing problems.

Lubinski is a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the author of more than 50 book chapters and articles about communication and the elderly. She is well known for her communications assessment work in the area of dementia. She also is noted for her techniques promoting communication between Alzheimer's patients and their families.

Weinstein also is a fellow of the ASHA and the author of more than 40 articles on hearing loss in older adults, covering such topics as the psychosocial effects of hearing loss and outcomes with hearing aids. Widely recognized for her development of a self-assessment scale on hearing loss for the elderly, she currently is writing a textbook on hearing loss in older adults.

The Van Riper Lectures are named in honor of the late Dr. Charles G. Van Riper, who was instrumental in establishing WMU's Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, which sponsors the annual event. This year's series and theme of communication problems of older Americans also serves as a culminating event for Project KEEP: Keep Elders Communicating. The three-year, federally-funded effort at WMU has focused on providing future speech and hearing professionals with the special skills necessary to work with older adults.

In addition to Project KEEP, financial support for the series is being provided by the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, the Certificate Program in Gerontology in the School of Community Health Services and the College of Health and Human Services. For more information about the series or the public lectures, persons should contact Sandra O. Glista, assistant professor of speech pathology and audiology, at (616) 387-8045.

The three public lectures are supported by WMU's Visiting Scholars and Artists Program. That program was established in 1960 and has supported some 500 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. Linda L. Dannison, chairperson of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

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