In addition to providing respite care services for individuals throughout the New River Valley region, Virginia Tech Adult Day Services also contributes to the larger research mission of the Department of Human Development and Family Science. This research has covered a wide range of topics over the years. Collaboration with the Child Development Center for Learning and Research on intergenerational issues has resulted in several published articles on interactions between pre-school children and the older adults at ADS. Research topics have also included college student service learners’ attitudes toward older adults; benefits of reminiscence, and horticulture and modified Montessori activities. ADS has also conducted collaborations with other departments and colleges at Virginia Tech including Horticulture, Industrial & Systems Engineering, and Computer Science.
Research teams consisting of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students participate in these research efforts. Graduate Assistants at ADS have the opportunity to implement their own studies in IRB approved projects. increasingly involved in research projects, even implementing their own ideas in IRB approved projects. For the many undergraduate students who participate in scientific activities within the center, ADS provides a rewarding introduction to applied research that makes a meaningful impact to the local community. These undergraduate students have come from Business, Communication, Psychology, Biology, Apparel, Housing and Resource Management and Human Development.
As part of ADS’ research mission, faculty affiliated with the center study the impact of new initiatives, such as Memory Masterclass, a new classroom-based program focused on improving cognitive function during aging. Additionally, ADS maintains a rich dataset from center participants, ranging from every-day engagement in activities at the center to health data including blood pressure and respiration. These data are available to researchers throughout the university community and are currently being used to explore a variety of compelling questions related to the services ADS provides.