I conduct research on the transitions of later life—the ways that people form and act upon expectations for the future in such settings as retirement, making final arrangements, and residential moves. These funded efforts have included quantitative analyses of the retirement process (anticipation, decision-making, adaptation, effects on health and well-being) using secondary panel data. I have also studied retirement using qualitative methods to interview couples in home settings, and undertaken document studies that describe emerging ideologies of retirement.
My developing interest in age and consumption centers on the management of possessions in later life. This project, supported by the National Institute on Aging, studies the tasks that elders undertake for the disposition of personal possessions when they move their residence to smaller quarters in later life. This is a novel topic for gerontological inquiry that bears on numerous issues in aging research and service provision, including independence and effective functioning, self-management, housing and relocation, emotions, self-concept, and family relationships and care giving.
I am a sociologist with considerable multidisciplinary experience, having worked in medical and academic settings and edited the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences (1994-1997) and the four-volume Macmillan Encyclopedia of Aging (2002).