The Elderly Care Research Center (ECRC) is a multidisciplinary, social research organization affiliated with the Department of Sociology at Case Western Reserve University. The Center was established in 1967 by its Director, Dr. Eva Kahana, who is Robson Professor of Sociology, Humanities, Medicine, Nursing, and Applied Social Science at CWRU. Research related to aging, health, and mental health is conducted by center staff and associates. Funding for these projects has been obtained from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute on Nursing Research (NINR) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Senior research scientists and faculty from other universities regularly participate in research projects conducted at the center.
In addition to its research activities, the center serves as a teaching facility, training graduate and postdoctoral students from diverse social and health science disciplines in the theory and methods of social gerontological research. Students are given an opportunity to obtain “hands on” experience in conducting research and to translate formal coursework into practical applications within a research setting. Center staff also serve in an advisory capacity to various educational programs and community agencies serving the elderly.
Primary activities of the center include theory based research on diverse topics relevant to adaptation and well-being of the elderly. A programmatic thrust at the center has been the focus on health and mental health outcomes of stress, coping, and adaptation.
Research has focused on predictors of wellness as well as of vulnerability. Study samples have ranged from the frail and institutionalized, aged to adventurous, older adults undertaking long distance moves. Cross-national and cross-cultural comparisons and focus on ethnic differences also represent a unique aspect of our orientation to research. In recognition of the diverse environmental and social influences on well-being of the elderly, research has been interdisciplinary in nature, bringing to bear qualitative as well as quantitative methods of sociology, psychology, and other social science disciplines on the issues under study. In addition to publishing results of research in professional journals and presenting them to the scientific community, ECRC is committed to broad dissemination of research in a readily understood format to community organizations, professionals, and to elderly participants in diverse studies. Effective intervention programs have been developed and implemented based on findings of our research projects. The Elderly Care Research Center is affiliated with the Center on Aging and Health, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case School of Medicine, and Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at CWRU.