Episode 3: The Power of Engagement


Isolation and loneliness pose significant challenges to both caregivers and their loved ones, especially during a pandemic. Jane Mathias shares what it’s been like to take care of her neighbor who is separated from family and friends. Then Laura Carstensen from the Stanford Center on Longevity and Steve Cole from UCLA Medical School talk about the very real physical and psychological costs of isolation that many of us are facing right now. 



JANE MATHIAS is the Executive Director for the Ashland County Aging Unit and the Program Coordinator for Faith in Action located in Wisconsin.   Her caregiver role is a voluntary project that her and her family have taken on to help their next door elderly neighbor.  Jane shares this passion with her husband, Stuart, five children, a son-in-law, and a new grandson.  Matthias finds the importance of sharing these experiences with her family in hopes they too will give back to their communities one day.


LAURA L. CARSTENSEN is a Professor of Psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Professor in Public Policy at Stanford University where she serves as founding director of Stanford Center on Longevity. Her research has been supported continuously by the National Institute on Aging for more than 25 years and she is currently supported through a prestigious MERIT Award. In 2011, she authored the book, A Long Bright Future: Happiness, Health, and Financial Security in an Age of Increased Longevity. Dr. Carstensen has served on the National Advisory Council on Aging and the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on an Aging Society. In 2016, she was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine. She has won numerous awards, including the Kleemeier Award from the Gerontological Society of America, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the Master Mentor Award from the American Psychological Association. She received a BS from the University of Rochester and PhD in clinical psychology from West Virginia University.

STEVE COLE is a genomics researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  His research utilizes molecular genetics and computational bioinformatics to analyze the pathways by which social and environmental factors influence the activity of the human genome, as well as viral and tumor genomes.  He pioneered the field of human social genomics.  Dr. Cole is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research.  He is also a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Norman Cousins Center, the UCLA AIDS Institute, and the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute.  Cole collaborates with >400 other scientists worldwide through his role as Director of the UCLA Social Genomics Core Laboratory.