BOONE, N.C. — Dr. Erin Bouldin, assistant professor in Appalachian State University’s Department of Health and Exercise Science, has been working to better understand the impacts of cognitive decline and informal caregiving across the U.S.
Bouldin received a total of $45,012 in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to generate national and state-level data reports on both informal caregiving and subjective cognitive decline.
In partnership with a team of researchers in the CDC’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging Program, Bouldin said she uses data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System — a national landline and cell phone survey of over 400,000 adults annually — to document the experiences and health impacts of people who self-report their memory is becoming worse, or caregivers who say they provide care or assistance to a family member or friend because of a chronic condition or disability.
“As the U.S. population ages, both of these issues — cognitive impairment that increases with age, and people with chronic conditions needing help with daily activities and disease management from family and friends — are of increasing public health significance,” said Bouldin.
Bouldin generates national and state-level data reports that describe the prevalence of subjective cognitive decline and the impacts it has on people’s daily life, including restricting their activities or resulting in a need for assistance.
She also creates reports on the experiences of caregivers, including how much and what type of care they provide and the ways in which caregiving impacts them.
The Alzheimer’s Association has used Bouldin’s reports to create fact sheets that inform its activities and public policy. She has presented findings from these activities in webinars sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and at national public health meetings.
Hannah Fowler ’17, a native of Asheboro, assisted Bouldin with the research project. Fowler graduated from Appalachian in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in health promotion.
About the Department of Health and Exercise Science
The Department of Health and Exercise Science in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences delivers student-centered education that is accentuated by quality teaching, scholarly activity and service. The department includes two undergraduate academic disciplines: exercise science and public health. The department also offers two master’s degrees: athletic training, which leads to professional licensure, and exercise science, which prepares students for advanced study in a variety of related fields as well as research. Learn more at https://hes.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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