Saybrook University researcher and instructor, Luann Fortune, presents qualitative research on medicalized aging

Luann Fortune, PhD, Saybrook University

Luann Fortune, Ph.D., Saybrook University

Saybrook’s Luann Fortune, PhD will present her latest research study at the 7th Annual Meeting of the Interdisciplinary Coalition of North American Phenomenologists (ICNAP) on May 22, 2015 at Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario.  In this phenomenological study, Dr. Fortune explored how one family member with care-taking responsibilities for her elders contributed to a system and cycle of medicalized aging.

In the United States, the aged population will double by year 2050 challenging social and economic structures by the need to care for this generation in their last years.  While medical advances provide technical solutions to extend life, the medicalization of aging is increasingly criticized as defying the natural process and as dehumanizing the last stage of the live cycle.

Compelled by her own life experience, Dr. Fortune has pursued research on the medicalization of aging.  Her research suggests that this expensive and unsatisfying medicalization reaches beyond the purview of medical professionals and institutions and is embedded in social conventions and personal and familial ethos with disappointing consequences.  This study elucidated how one family caregiver participated in a system that medicalized aging.

Up until now, limited scholarly examinations have empirically investigated how the elders and their families demonstrate the ethos of medicalized aging.  Dr. Fortune intends for the results to inform various professionals who support the aging process.

Dr. Fortune is the Director of the Healthcare Specialization in the Saybrook’s School of Mind-Body Medicine, where she also teaches research courses.  She is a long-time member of ICNAP, and currently serves on its executive committee in the capacity of treasurer.