Annual Report AY15-16


The mission of the Stanford Center on Longevity is to redesign long life. The Center studies the nature and development of the human life span, looking for innovative ways to use science and technology to solve the problems of people over 50 by improving the well-being of people of all ages. Learn more.

Director’s Letter

Dear Friends,

Over the past decade, we have achieved highly productive working relationships within and outside the Stanford community with affiliated faculty, industry leaders, policy makers, and supporters of the Center. We foster dialogues and collaborations among these partners in order to develop workable solutions for urgent issues confronting the world as the population ages.

We organize our work within three research divisions -Mind, Mobility, and Financial Security – because of the centrality of mental fitness, physical health and financial preparedness to long and flourishing lives. By fostering research in areas that have implications longevity, we are able to develop impactful projects that can ultimately influence daily life and contribute to the great potential that longer lives afford.

With each passing year, SCL extends its reach and refines its focus on impact. In the past academic year, we organized a range of interdisciplinary conferences with topics spanning the 24-Hour Activity Cycle to the State of Financial Fraud in America. We hosted award-winning financial journalist, author and entrepreneur, Philip Moeller, as the Distinguished Lecturer and expanded and improved our Corporate Affiliates program.

Of special note, in partnership with TIME Magazine and Peter Hart Associates, we launched the Sightlines Project, which will continue to be a central focus of our work going forward. The project investigates how well Americans are doing today compared to earlier times in each of   three domains known to influence long-term well-being: financial security, healthy living and social engagement. The findings rest on analyses of eight nationally representative, high quality, multi-year studies involving more than 1.2 million Americans over two decades. We examine the percentage of Americans in each of six age groups who are doing well on a range of variables. In doing so, we avoid the problem of describing the “average” American while failing to capture the distribution of people who are faring well and not so well. The findings are intended to stir national debate, guide policy development, stimulate entrepreneurial innovation, and encourage personal choices that enhance independent, 100-year lives.

The third annual Design Challenge was a great success. The challenge, “Using Happiness to Optimize Longevity,” required students around the world to optimize behavior by using enjoyable activities. We received 50 submissions, with entries from the U.S., Canada, Greece, Japan, Mexico, India, Singapore, Turkey, and Taiwan. The winner in the Mind division was “Memoir Monopoly” from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, a tablet-based rehabilitation game platform for dementia patients that integrates photos from the players’ lives into interactive challenges that exercise their memory and recognition abilities. In the Mobility Division, “City Cart” from San Francisco State University took home the first prize. City Cart is a re-design of a shopping cart specifically for walking trips in an urban setting.

We are mindful that none of these efforts would have been possible without the generosity and wise counsel from members of the SCL Advisory Council. We are especially grateful to Council Chairman, Jim Johnson, for his remarkable leadership.



The mission of the Mind Division is to harness the human capital represented in a growing number of mature and talented older citizens. Absent significant disease, aging is associated with an increase in knowledge and expertise, emotional stability and heightened motivation to engage in meaningful work. At the same time, the speed and efficiency of new learning typically declines with age, as does sensory functioning affecting hearing and vision. Such changes can hamper the effectiveness with which people engage with work, families and communities.

2015-16 PROJECTS

Study of the Cognitive Benefits of Volunteering–Santa Clara County Project
The Santa Clara County (SCC) Volunteerism Project is key to our mission and one of our premier studies. There is building excitement and optimism about the ability of this project to tap the human capital of SCC workers and retirees, and deploy it to help County residents, primarily youth. The impact of this project will be directed toward:

  • Enhancing volunteer participation
  • Understanding the benefits of volunteering (improve the physical, mental and cognitive health of volunteers)
  • Enhancing community targets (benefits to the recipients of volunteerism)
  • Creating a new social norm of volunteering
  • Reducing health care costs and utilization (and save the County health care expenditures)
  • Becoming the first county in the U.S. to launch such an effort and serve as a model template to other cities, counties and throughout the nation.

We have secured some funding from Santa Clara County to help fund this pilot study where we will test the recruitment and retention of 250 volunteers over 2 years. The MoU and contract between Santa Clara County and Stanford has been completed and signed.  We also were informed that the County has reorganized their hospital system such that they now have funding for paid universal screeners. Therefore, we will be offering our research participants a wide variety of volunteer roles within the County Health and Hospital System, and working closely with their Volunteer Coordinator. We tested our recruitment messages successfully, have developed the research protocol and surveys, and have are submitting this project to institutional review board for approval as a clinical trial.  Once we receive institutional review board approval, we expect to begin recruiting in early 2017.

The Cognition and Retirement Study: Is Working Longer Good for You?
Understanding potential pathways between working and cognitive performance
Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this research study was designed to identify potential mediators to age-related cognitive decline. Based on longitudinal analysis of the Health and Retirement Study data, this study examined the effects of retirement pathways on cognitive outcomes for individuals moving from full-time work into retirement from jobs with varying levels of cognitive complexity. The final manuscript has been submitted for review in a major academic journal.

Hidden in Plain Sight: How Intergenerational Relationships Can Transform Our Future – Monograph released July 2016
In collaboration with Marc Freedman from, we have produced a monograph with four chapters designed to represent the collective thinking of attendees of the “Pass It On” conference (held in June 2014) on matching the skills and talents of older Americans with the pressing needs of young people. You can read the report here. The monograph was released nationally together with, the Packard Foundation and AARP, in conjunction with events (such as AARP’s national meeting on intergenerational programs) and program launches (such as’s launch of their new initiative, Generation to Generation). It was picked up in the popular press and social media, and Distinguished Careers Institute Fellow, Kate Jerome (who contributed to the monograph), was asked to give a TED talk on the importance of connections between older and younger generations based on her experience and work with this project.


We are developing a research agenda directed toward understanding the challenges facing an aging population experiencing sensory changes (in hearing, vision, balance and pain), and finding innovative ways to improve function and well-being through research, policy, and product development. Our vision for this project would be to cover each of the four areas of perception (hearing, vision, balance, and pain), by convening a small group of distinguished experts who represent medicine, law, health policy, psychology, and technology to elaborate key issues, compile existing evidence and identify questions to which answers are needed in order to guide research, inform policies, and to improve products and services.

Thank you to Katherine and David deWilde for the generous donation to fund a launch conference on hearing, on March 14-15, 2017. There are several problems that need to be solved, and research that needs to address these issues, with particular attention to the communication and social issues involved with hearing loss. The goals of the hearing project at the Stanford Center on Longevity will include developing a research and policy agenda in these areas:

  • Technology/Medical Advances:  What new technologies need to be developed that accommodate diverse situations?  Are there current technologies or treatments that exist but are not yet being used in service to the hearing impaired?
  • Built Environment: How can architecture, acoustics and public space assisted listening devices support better hearing and interactions among people?
  • Stigma/Usage:  How can we increase the use of hearing aids (only 20% of Americans with hearing loss use them)? What are the barriers and what interventions can help remove the barriers? How might we simplify and clarify the choices?  What can be done to educate users on the many features of hearing aids, and how can they interact with other devices? How can the public become more aware of the many social, financial, and cognitive implications of untreated hearing loss?
  • Policies:  What policies need to be developed and supported that allow for reduced cost of or 3rd party funding of hearing aids? What policies can improve the integration of assisted listening devices in public spaces?  What are the regulatory issues that need to be addressed?



  • Jeremy Bailenson, PhD
    Associate Professor of Communication; Director, Virtual Human Interaction Lab


  • Jonathan Berger, DMA
    Denning Family Provostial Professor, Department of Music; Co-Director of Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SiCa); Co-Director of Stanford’s Art Initiative; William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball University Fellow in Undergraduate Education
  • William Damon, PhD
    Professor of Education and Senior Fellow, by courtesy, at the Hoover Institution; Director, Center on Adolescence
  • Hank Greely, JD
    Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law and, Professor, by courtesy, of Genetics; Director, Center for Law and Biosciences
  • Michael Greicius, MD
    Assistant Professor, Neurology and Neurological Sciences and, by courtesy, of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Principal Investigator, Functional Imaging in Neuropsychiatric Disorders Lab
  • Gerald Popelka, PhD
    Chief of Audiology, Stanford University School of Medicine; Department of Otolaryngology, Audiology, School of Medicine
  • Jeanne Tsai, PhD
    Associate Professor of Psychology; Director, Culture and Emotion Lab


  • Amy Yotopoulos
  • Iya Vargas
    Social Science Research Professional
Events and Forums
  • April 12, 2016 – Annual Distinguished Lecture Series: Phil Moeller
    A University-wide lecture and reception featuring Philip Moeller, an award-winning business journalist, is an expert on aging, health and retirement. Read more
Selected Talks

Laura Carstensen

  • November, 2015 – “Taking Time Seriously in Life-Span Development”, GSA Annual Scientific Meeting, Orlando, FL.
  • March, 2016 – “Longevity in the 21st Century”, Executive Education Talk, Stanford, CA.
  • April, 2016 – “Longevity in the 21st Century”, Executive Education for CFO’s, Stanford, CA.
  • May, 2016 – “Long Life in the 21st Century”, Senior Symposium: Aging Reimagined, San Jose, CA.
  • June, 2016 – “Aging”, Catholic Health Association, Orlando, FL.

Amy Yotopoulos

  • June, 2016 – “Longevity in the 21st Century and presentation on the Stanford Center on Longevity”, Denver Great West Conference.


The mission of the Mobility Division is to focus on challenges to physical movement across the life span. The goals of the Division are first, to address fundamental issues by supporting research in areas ranging from biology to the design of the built environment and second, to help translate the fruits of that research into products and policies that sustain or enhance mobility or develop accommodations for those individuals with limited mobility.

2015-16 PROJECTS

2015-2016 Design Challenge
The Center hosted the Finals of the Challenge on April 5, 2016. The Challenge topic was “Using Happiness to Optimize Longevity” and included three tracks: Mind, Mobility, and Financial Security. A total of 50 submissions were received, with entries from the U.S., Canada. Greece, Japan, Mexico, India, Singapore, Turkey, and Taiwan.  This was our first effort at a Financial Security challenge and unfortunately we did not receive enough entries to create a viable challenge for that track. 30 judges from industry, academia, government and the media selected six finalists each for the Mind and Mobility tracks. These teams were given $1000 to aid with prototyping, paired with mentors in industry, and provided a travel allowance to present at the Finals. Once at Stanford, the teams were given tours of Google, IDEO, and the Stanford dSchool. Following the Finals, they attended a workshop of business plan creation co-hosted by SCL and the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Graduate School of Business.

The winner in the Mind division was “Memoir Monopoly” from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, a tablet-based rehabilitation game platform for dementia patients that integrates photos from the players’ lives into interactive challenges that exercise their memory and recognition abilities. In the Mobility Division, “City Cart” from San Francisco State University took home the $10,000 first prize. City Cart is a re-design of a shopping cart specifically for walking trips in an urban setting. Read more

World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on Healthy Aging Environments

In summer 2016, we participated on a WHO Department of Ageing and Life Course working group on Health Ageing (sic) Environments. The group produced a roadmap delivered at the G7 Health Ministers Meeting in September suggesting actions to be taken in the 2016-2020 timeframe. The roadmap identified three priority areas for action:

  1. Implementing a global campaign to combat ageism.
  2. Creating a multi-sectoral platform to support the development of age friendly environments.
  3. National initiatives to reduce falls and to prevent elder abuse.

SCL remains engaged with the group in developing an action plan for the multi-sectoral platform, which would entail a WHO-funded team to do needs finding, and creation of global innovation platform to allow entrepreneurs around the globe to respond to the needs.


Influencing Nutrition with Taste

The Center is working with Dr. Christopher Gardner at the Stanford Prevention Research Center to develop a project on nutrition. Dr. Gardner has worked on diet and nutrition for over 20 years and has recently become involved with a group of universities and the Culinary Institute of America looking at ways to influence better nutrition beyond the traditional food pyramid approach.  This is essentially “leading with taste” – working with chefs to create menus making the healthy choices ones that are also most appealing.

The focus of the work is on institutional settings as places to perform studies since there is direct control over menus, work is usually supervised by a chef, and there is a repeatable group of diners. Initial work has been at universities (a group of 25) and workplaces (most notably Google).  We are investigating senior providers as a third leg of the work, as food is an important component of senior life and providers are invested in giving their customers the best experiences (both taste and nutrition) for the cost. The outcome of the studies would be recommendations to institutional food providers on menus that encourage better nutrition at various stages in life, as well as comparison of the effectiveness of this approach as compared with traditional nutritional education.

2016-2017 Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge

This year’s challenge – “Innovating Aging in Place” – was launched in early September. The topic was chosen in part to allow students to design around a host of emerging technologies in this space – social engagement solutions, Internet of Things devices, universal home design solutions, and wearables – while learning about the ways in which these designs can support high quality of life across a wide age range.

Phase I of the challenge was an open call to teams from any accredited university in the world to submit to an online platform for judging and selection of 6-8 finalist teams. This phase closed on December 9th. 75 designs were submitted from 43 universities representing 8 states and 12 countries. This level of participation was approximately 50% higher than previous years, reflecting both the popularity of the topic and the growing global recognition of the challenge.

A group of 30 judges representing industry sponsors and topic experts will select 6-8 finalist teams to be announced on Jan 20, 2017. These teams will compete for the $10,000 first place prize at Stanford on April 27th. Teams will also be given a full day workshop on business plan development co-sponsored by the Stanford Graduate School of Business Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.



  • James Landay, PhD
    Professor of Computer Science


  • Thomas Andriacchi, PhD
    Professor of Mechanical Engineering (Biomechanical Operations) and of Orthopedic Surgery
  • Karen Cook, PhD
    Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor of Sociology; Department Chair, Department of Sociology
  • Mary Goldstein, MD, MS
    Professor of Medicine (Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research) and, by courtesy, of Health Research and Policy at the PAVAHCS
  • William Haskell, PhD
    Professor (Research) of Medicine, Emeritus
  • Iris F. Litt, MD
    Marron and Mary Elizabeth Kendrick Professor of Pediatrics, Emerita
  • Pamela Matson, PhD
    Chester Naramore Dean of the School of Earth Sciences/ Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor in Environmental Studies and Senior Fellow at Woods Institute
  • Margaret Neale, MS, PhD
    Adams Distinguished Professor of Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business; Director of the Managing Teams for Innovation and Success Executive Program; Director of the Influence and Negotiation Strategies Executive Program; Co-Director of the Executive Program for Women Leaders


  • Ken Smith
  • Jonathan Streeter
    Social Science Research Professional
Events and Forums
  • April 5, 2016 – Design Challenge Finale
    “Using Happiness to Optimize Longevity”. Read more
  • April 27-28, 2016 – Wearable Devices & the 24-hour Activity Cycle
    The Center convened a conference of academic and industry experts to consider the concept of a 24-Hour Activity Cycle (24HAC). The current U.S. public health guidelines for activity (published in 2008) are limited to recommendations on only Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA). Since 2008, there has been a rapid expansion in accelerometer-based wearable devices that can measure activities across the intensity spectrum: sleep, sedentary, light, moderate and vigorous intensity. The consensus of the workshop was that the 24-Hour Activity Cycle hypothesis provides an opportunity to consider a new paradigm to study physical activity and provide public health recommendations on what constitutes a healthy day.
Selected Talks

Ken Smith

  • October 24, 2015 – “Research Update – Activity, Fitness, Health & Innovation”, Stanford Alumni Weekend.


In an age of unprecedented longevity, a focus on lifelong individual financial security has never been more crucial. The Financial Security Center brings a unique interdisciplinary perspective to financial security issues facing our society by rethinking the perceived problems around an aging population, especially retirement planning and the need to work longer.

By understanding the role that research, education and policy can play in solving these issues and looking at the problems from multiple perspectives, we will drive the dialogue forward in order to facilitate a healthier state of long-term financial security for the individual and society.

2015-16 PROJECTS

Improving Public/Private Research Partnerships
We were awarded a multi-year training grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to develop a curriculum for early-stage researchers to improve public/private research partnerships. Research collaborations are typically difficult to establish, limited by privacy concerns, logistical issues and mutual distrust about how the findings might be used. Yet, partnerships between researchers and private sector companies represent extraordinary opportunities to answer important questions about financial decision-making. By training early-stage researchers to effectively establish research partnerships with industry, we can facilitate the development of research projects that promise to improve financial well-being. The first meeting of experts is scheduled for June, 2017.

Working Longer Conference for Practitioners
We have been awarded a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to convene a research conference for practitioners.  The Stanford Institute for Economic and Policy Research (SIEPR) has been hosting an annual academic conference on the issues of working longer, for the past 4 years.  In discussions with John Shoven (SIEPR) and Kathleen Christensen (Alfred P. Sloan Foundation), we agreed that there were important research findings that could be useful to organizations dealing with multi-generational and aging workforces.  This conference will bring together the academic experts and senior HR executives to review key research findings and discuss the practical workplace implications (late Spring 2017).

Optimizing Retirement Income Solutions in DC Retirement Plans
Two articles on retirement income based on the Retirement Income project, were published in the Journal of Retirement and a third article published in Benefits Magazine.

Optimizing Retirement Income Solutions Integrating In-Plan and Out-of-Plan Strategies
This project analyzes retirement income solutions in IRAs, compares to solutions in employer-sponsored retirement plans, and develops metrics to assess retirement income strategies.  The project is currently under way and we expect completion by mid-2017.

The Milestones Project
This project which is examining how important life milestones, especially those that have a significant influence on financial outcomes (e.g.: education completion, first job, marriage/cohabitation, children, house purchase) are changing generation to generation and across socio-economic groups. The initial analysis confirmed that there have been significant shifts across education and economic groups.  A paper and brief on those findings is being drafted.  A significant finding from that initial analysis has led to a secondary “Milestones” project to further examine how these shifts are affecting women, especially highly educated women and their financial decision-making.  A survey was fielded in December, 2016 and the results are currently being analyzed.


Toolkit Briefs and Webinar Initiative
The goal of this project is to repurpose our library of research into content that can be more easily delivered and understood by a non-academic audience, and with their input on how the content can be used with their employees and stakeholders, we will be rolling it out in early 2017.

Health and Retirement Survey Module on Fraud
We will be working with Profs. Olivia Mitchell (The Wharton School) and Annamaria Lusardi (George Mason University), on a survey module to be included in the Health and Retirement Study.  Data expected to be available in 2017 and we received a grant from TIAA to complete the analysis.



  • John Shoven, PhD
    Charles R. Schwab Professor of Economics; Wallace R. Hawley Director, SIEPR; Senior Fellow, by courtesy, Hoover Institution


  • Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD
    Associate Professor of Medicine, and by courtesy in Health Research and Policy and Economics
  • Gopi Shah Goda, PhD
    Senior Research Scholar and Postdoctoral Fellow Program Coordinator, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR)
  • Hazel Markus, PhD
    Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences
  • William F. Sharpe, PhD
    STANCO 25 Professor of Finance, Emeritus


  • Martha Deevy
  • Steve Vernon
    Consulting Research Scholar
  • Marti DeLiema, PhD
    Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Sasha Freyd-Johnson
    Social Science Research Professional
Events and Forums
  • November 30, 2016 – State of Financial Fraud in America” Conference
    Our inaugural fraud conference was held 5 years ago, and this conference, again co-sponsored with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, and held in Washington, D.C. on November 30th, brought together researchers, regulators and practitioners to hear presentations on topics ranging from the prevalence of fraud, to how technology is being used to combat fraud and what is happening on the front line of fraud defense.  Keynote speeches were given by Robert Cook, President/CEO of FINRA and Chair of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, Bill Baer, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General, Department of Justice and Charles Schaeffer, Executive Producer of CNBC’s American Greed.  The conference was well attended with close to 175 participants.
Selected Talks

Laura Carstensen

  • October, 2015 – Keynote Address, National Academy of Medicine
  • November, 2016 – The Kleemeier Lecture, Gerontological Society of America
  • May, 2016 – Understanding Longevity, Big Data Conference, Stanford University
  • June, 2016 –  Bank of America Merrill Lynch Webcast on The Sightlines Project.

Martha Deevy

  • October, 2015 – Allianz Women’s Conference.
  • October, 2015 – World Economic Forum, Meeting of the Global Agenda Councils.

Steve Vernon

  • September, 2015 – “Life Planning in the Age of Longevity, Allianz Headquarters.
  • September, 2015 – “Retirement Income Issues Briefing with GAO and John Shoven”
  • October, 2015 – “Retirement Income Solutions”, The Society of Actuaries Annual Conference.
  • October, 2015 – “Presentation of Decision to Retire Results”, Fidelity Client Conference.
  • November, 2015 – Retirement Income Solutions”, two presentations at International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Annual Conference.
  • November, 2015“How to Live to 100 Without Going Broke”, Keynote at Milliman Annual Conference.
  • December, 2015 – “Decision to Retire”, briefing with SHRM, arranged by Fidelity.
  • May, 2016 – “Redesigning Long Life”, Allianz Top Producer Summit.
  • June, 2016 – Panel discussion on retirement income, Allianz Global Exchange, NYC.

Marti DeLiema

  • April, 2016 – “Fraud Taxonomy 2.0: Organizational Fraud”, Association for Certified Fraud Examiners Working Group Meeting, Washington DC.
  • May 2016 – “Aging and Exploitation: How Should the Financial Industry Respond?”, Pension Research Council Annual Symposium, Philadelphia, PA.
  • May 2016 – “The Latest Research and Prevention Models on Various Forms of Elder Abuse”, San Francisco, CA.
  • June 2016 – “Prevalence of Financial Fraud: A Pilot Study”, FINRA Investor Education Foundation Advisory Board Meeting, Washington, DC.
  • August 2016 – “Elder Financial Exploitation: The Role of the Financial Services Industry”, Preventing Elder Abuse: Enhancing Age-Friendly Senior Banking, San Mateo, CA,


The aim of the Sightlines Project is to characterize how well Americans are doing over historical time in three key areas known to optimize longer lives: Healthy Living, Financial Security, and Social Engagement. The inaugural report illuminated where Americans need the most support. In response, since the last Advisory Council meeting, we have begun to embark upon next steps including: 1) showcase findings from Sightlines and other relevant work through our new website in order to proliferate new research, inform key influencers for policy development and program implementation, and inspire national conversation about living long and living well; and 2) conduct more in-depth analyses to determine whether and how Sightlines findings differ by various demographic contexts such as gender and geographic region to better identify subgroups that are most vulnerable.

2015-16 PROJECTS

The Sightlines Website
The website is intended to reach engaged audiences with some knowledge of issues surrounding longevity. The content includes in-depth Sightlines data disaggregated by demographic groups, spotlight webpages featuring the latest news and research on aspects of Healthy Living (e.g., diet), Financial Security (e.g., home ownership), and Social Engagement (e.g., volunteering). In addition, these webpages include interviews with faculty affiliates who have expertise on the spotlight topic and related commentaries that range in perspectives from experts in academia, field work, as well as viewpoints from representatives of specific generations (e.g., Millennials). We are continuing to develop a Tools section that includes downloadable content such as a brief 2 page description of Sightlines and a survey that can be used to assess special populations of interest to see how they might compare to the U.S. population. Please visit to view these features and more.

Sightlines Demographic Report
The inaugural report generated a great deal of interest in how Sightlines’ findings may or may not differ among subgroups of the American population. For instance, is the uptick in physical activity among Millennials similar for men and women?  Or, is social disengagement seen among Baby Boomers more pronounced for unmarried compared to married individuals? Currently, we are developing the second annual Sightlines report focusing in on such demographic trends including variation by gender, educational attainment, income quartile, marital status, and ethnicity. This second report will provide a more in-depth understanding for the purpose of targeted policy development, interventions, and future research. Since the last Advisory Council meeting, we have compiled, analyzed, and reviewed all demographic subgroup data. Using sophisticated software, we have created appealing visualizations of all data to house on our website with select findings to be featured in the written report. We intend to send a draft of the report to SCL Advisory Council members in the upcoming weeks to obtain feedback. Our hope is to incorporate your suggestions and distribute the final copy by the end of February 2017.


Future Annual Reports
As with the upcoming demographic report in February 2017, we will continue to produce annual reports that describe focused research being conducted within each Sightlines domain. In 2018, we will provide an overview of projects focused on Financial Security, including a more in-depth look at the Milestones project (described below). In 2019 and 2020, we will release reports on focused research in Social Engagement and Healthy Living, respectively. In 2021, we will release our second Sightlines report featuring the next wave of Sightlines data with the intention of illustrating whether any progress has been made since the inaugural report.

The Sightlines Survey
Although we were able to compile data from high quality, nationally representative data sets, there were some limitations of this approach. For instance, many of the outcomes came from different datasets and thus, we were unable to assess how different aspects of one domain relate or how different domains relate to one another. In addition, while we were able to compare groups of Americans at two distinct time points, we were unable to follow the same group of people over time to characterize changes within an individual in living well. Finally, we were restricted to existing measures available to us. (e.g., for social engagement, survey respondents reported how often they interacted with family members outside of the home. There were no measures in the datasets we used that measured interactions with family inside of the home). Therefore, we plan to administer our own survey of Americans using a nationally representative survey panel. Conducting our own survey will advance the Sightlines project aims in four important ways:

  1. We will be able to assess how Healthy Living, Financial Security, and Social Engagement relate to one another.
  2. We will analyze the composition of each index to determine what makes up the biggest piece of the pie. For instance, what matters most for Healthy Living: physical activity, sleep, diet, etc.?
  3. In addition to comparing different groups of people over historical time as in the inaugural report, we will be able to follow the same people of different age groups annually to assess changes in Healthy Living, Financial Security, and Social Engagement as they enter different stages of life.

We will delve deeper into possible explanations for many of the observed patterns identified in the Sightlines project by including additional survey questions refined according to questions raised by the initial analyses.

Focused Research Projects
Within each area, we will focus in on some of the most compelling findings of the initial Sightlines report. These projects range in approach and include webpages highlighting informative and timely news stories and research studies on select topics, comprehensive reviews of the academic literature, analysis of existing datasets, survey and experimental studies, and randomized interventions. Below are examples of projects currently underway in each domain:

  • Financial Security: Using data from the national longitudinal survey of youth, we are currently assessing whether shifts in the timing of common life events such as marriage/cohabitation and children is one reason for the lower likelihood of Millennials’ to own a home.
  • Healthy Living: Measures of a healthy diet are often erroneous and do not capture what Americans are actually eating. To better capture this, we will be conducting a comprehensive review of the academic literature in both fields of medicine and technology to identify commonly used assessments of diet and determine the possibility of a gold standard approach.
  • Social Engagement: Relative to today’s older generation when they were middle-aged, Baby Boomers are less socially engaged.  It is conceivable that this is because they are “sandwiched” between Millennials returning home and aging parents requiring care. We are currently piloting a nationwide survey of family caregivers to begin to explore this idea.



  • Tamara Sims
    Research Analyst
  • Jialu Streeter
    Research Data Analyst
Selected Talks

Laura Carstensen

  • March, 2016 – “The Stanford Sightlines Project”, MacArthur Aging Society Network Agenda.
  • June, 2016 – “Rethinking the Future: The Opportunities of Longevity”, Urban Institute, Washington, DC.
  • June, 2016 – “The Sightlines Project – Seeing Our Way to Living Long and Living Well in 21st Century America”, Allianz.


The Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI) is a dynamic program for established leaders from all walks of life who seek to transform themselves for roles with social impact at the local, national, and global levels. The yearlong program utilizes the wealth of innovation and knowledge at one of the world’s finest universities to create new and enriching professional and personal pathways for the next stage of life. The DCI provides the opportunity for 25 Fellows annually to engage in personal reflection and intellectual exploration in the company of peers who form new and lasting communities and networks. The inaugural DCI program began on January 5, 2015. Learn more by visiting the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute website.



  • Philip Pizzo
    Founding Director, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute
  • Kathryn Gillam
    Executive Director, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute


  • Nancy Bauman
    Associate Director, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute
  • Dianne Child
    Administrative Associate, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute
  • Kristin Goldthorpe
    Program Manager, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute
  • Mira Engel
    Executive Assistant, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute


The remarkable speed with which the Stanford Center on Longevity was established reflects a generous founding gift from Stanford alumnus Richard Rainwater, who recognized one of the most urgent needs of our time: adapting our society to a rapidly aging population. His gift enabled the Center to begin immediately with a core staff and with key programs in place.

Going forward, the Center’s work continues to benefit from individuals and organizations that recognize the importance and urgency of redesigning long life. During 2015-2016, the Center received generous funding from individual donors as well as from AARP, Airbnb, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Allianz, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BlackRock, Care Innovations, Davis Phinney Foundation,, Eskaton, Fidelity Investments, FINRA Investor Education Foundation, Great West Financial, Halbert Hargrove, Home Care Assistance, Lixil, Mercer, The National Institute on Aging, Optum, Orange, Prudential, Qualcomm, The Society of Actuaries, State Street Global Partners, Target, Transamerica, and Whole You, Inc.

Gifts help the Center embark on new research projects, develop educational programs, collaborate with faculty and disseminate research findings so they can be put into practice. To discuss opportunities for partnering with the Center, please contact:

Nancy Easterbrook, Director of External Affairs
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (650) 721-7997
Mailing Address:
Stanford Center on Longevity
Littlefield Center, Room 350
365 Lasuen Street, Stanford, CA 94305

Gifts to the Stanford Center on Longevity are tax-deductible under applicable rules. The Center is part of Stanford University’s tax-exempt status as a Section 501 (c) (3) public charity.


LIST PENDING. do we also need a reports and proceedings tab?