Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Am a Research Pawn

It is common nowadays to see old folks (like me) on college campuses. When I was a coed decades ago, in another century, the over thirty forty fifty crowd were few, except for professors. Today many golden agers attend programs geared to ‘the aging’, which is why I occasionally find myself on college grounds. Some attend courses for credit. Others purposely retire near universities and take advantage of the culture, entertainment, sports, and educational opportunities.

My appearance on campus led to a weak moment when I volunteered for a research project. I now find myself a pawn in a health program, interested and even eager, although a bit anxious, to discover any negative findings, if any.

The first test was a telephone interview. If I failed my participation in the program would end before it began.

My initial analysis: Want to feel old? Participate in a health study about aging.

I was asked a laundry list of health events and problems experienced in bygone days or currently.

I passed the initial oral questionnaire and a rather lengthy description outlining the test followed.

Was it my imagination or was the woman (probably a very young grad student) on the other end of my iPhone speaking very slowly, distinctly, and louder than normal? I did tell her English was my native language, didn’t I?

She: Will I have any problem sitting still for more than ten minutes at a time? Not so still as unable to move a muscle, but without standing and moving around.

Would I need any kind of special assistance? Walking, sitting, hearing, vision

Remember to bring any items utilized in everyday life, including glasses and hearing aids.

We will call you the day before as a reminder. They apparently are really, really concerned their subjects’ short term memories and longer term management skills are kaput.

 I am starting to have second thoughts. How old are most of their research subjects?

I received all the information including directions to the test site in the mail. I will read it carefully. The project date is on my calendar.

I just have to remember to check my calendar.

Otherwise I might forget about the appointment.

I started filling out the enclosed survey, three pages of questions, most a simple yes or no concerning health-related items experienced in my over six decades of living.

I have to place the form in an easily accessible, readily available and remembered place.

And remember to take it with me.

I think this is all part of the test.


  1. This will be an interesting assignment. Can you act old and decrepit? :-)

  2. You are a trooper to volunteer. We live close enough to a research hospital/university, but I just don't want to know.

  3. Sounds very interesting. Will look forward to following your progress (which I'm sure ... I hope ... you will blog about).