The Copper Ridge Institute’s mission is to conduct and evaluate research and to educate about care practices that involve aging persons. With the Institute’s historical focus on improving the care for persons with dementia, meeting this mission will improve the quality of life for patients and families with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairing disorders as well as older adults throughout the greater community.
Research at the Copper Ridge Institute includes studies on dementia-specific topics as well as non-clinical aspects of older age. View the current studies being conducted by the faculty at the Institute.
Abnormal cognitive decline and impaired daily functioning, or dementia, affects approximately 5.2 million Americans, including over 40% of those over age 85. By far, the most common cause of dementia in the elderly is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). With the aging of the population, it is predicted that the number of Americans with AD or a related condition will reach 8 million by 2025 and 16 million by 2050.
Research into the basic biological mechanisms of AD and related disorders has led to major advances in the past 20 years. While there has been progress in understanding the genetic and neurochemical underpinnings of these disorders, the problems faced by millions of patients and their caregivers every day remain considerable. A body of research at the CRI has focused on these clinical needs, specifically on:
Although dementia is a serious concern as the population ages, the fact that most older people will not have dementia is important to understand. Gaining deeper insight into how older adults view the experiences, challenges, and rewards in later life, and finding ways to help people achieve their own personal goals for aging well is an essential component of our research. These include studies on novel approaches to improving memory in healthy older adults, understanding the role of family and health care choices in later life, and other areas.