Science Pub explores how elderly go from being perceived as capable consumer to ‘old person’

By Christine Coffin, director of communications and outreach for Oregon State University – Cascades

As the elderly population grows, family, friends and paid providers increasingly assist older people. At Oregon State University – Cascades’ upcoming Science Pub on Dec. 15 at Father Luke’s Room in McMenamins, researcher Michelle Barnhart will present “Who Are You Calling Old? Conflict and Negotiation in Eldercare,” an exploration of how negative stereotypes of old age can color the way elders are treated and how those seniors experience their twilight years.

Barnhart will explain how by treating older people as valued adults, younger people can provide valuable assistance and decrease the chances of creating conflict, and difficult family and provider dynamics.

An associate marketing professor at OSU’s College of Business, Barnhart researches cultural norms, social groups and individual identities as they play out in consumer activities. Her research has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Business and Research, and Journal of Marketing Management.

She earned a Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stanford University.

Science Pubs take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Networking and food and beverage service begin at 5:30 p.m., and the presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. Science Pubs are free to community members, but reservations are required.  Space is limited to 100 guests. Register by 5 p.m. the day prior to each Science Pub at


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