AIU and Dickinson College are now offering the second-year U.S.-Japan collaborative course, “Living Well in Later Life,” for about seven weeks over the period of late May through mid-July. This year, a team of eight students, consisting of four students each from both institutions, will conduct research on Quality of Life among the elderly in Harrisburg and Akita, the local capitals of the campus locations.
In the first half, the student team visited a hospital, an elderly care facility, and the municipality departments of aging in Harrisburg, to gain information on the elderly welfare services of both private and public sectors. After that, they conducted a questionnaire survey and one-to-one interviews with the local elderly people to explore how their self-perceived physical and mental health and social well-being co-relate to one another in terms of quality of life.
On June 13 (Sat), at the end of the U.S. schedule, the team held a presentation meeting on their findings at Dickinson College. In the presentation, they discussed the reality of the U.S. aging society and the definition of “getting old” among the U.S. elderly, referring to the statistical data and common key words among the interviewees. Their analysis also extended to the influences of religious beliefs and ethnic diversity on mental or physical health, what “independence” in life means to the informants, and what impression they have toward the nursing home in that context.
The student team will move to Japan after this presentation for the second half of the course. They will conduct the same research and analysis in a culturally and politically different context.