I am a qualitative sociologist of aging. Early in my career, my work focused on various aspects of shared housing between young and old which allowed me to explore a number of sociological issues of interest to me – the social psychology of intergenerational relationships, the sociology of non-institutional forms of living arrangements for frail elders, and a sociologically-informed critique of social policy toward the elderly. Later, I combined my interests in aging and health care by conducting a multi-year, multi-site study of group homes for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In that work, from which I continue to publish, I explore two broad interrelated themes: (a) how the embeddedness of dementia care in specific care settings and caregiving relationships encourages the display of symptoms that are interpreted by many as a "loss of self," and (b) how the larger political economy, structure, and culture of care settings make the ideals of quality, humane care difficult to achieve.
I joined the faculty at UVM in 2005 after spending the first twenty years of my career at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and my master’s and doctoral degrees from The University of Chicago, all in sociology. At UVM, I currently teach a general course in the sociology of aging, a focused seminar on health care and aging, and a research course on qualitative methodology.