Senior citizens invited to participate in research on successful longevity

Institute for Successful Longevity
Institute for Successful Longevity

Coming in the mail — watch for it — is an invitation for local seniors to take part in Florida State University’s research on successful longevity. 

If you live in Leon County, Wakulla County or Gadsden County and are 60 years old or older, FSU’s Institute for Successful Longevity is sending you a postcard. The card encourages seniors to contact the institute if they are interested in becoming research volunteers. 

“Volunteers can choose the research projects that interest them,” said Professor Neil Charness, director of the institute. “Volunteers may be paid as well for helping our researchers.” 

The volunteers will help FSU with its research on healthy physical and cognitive aging. The institute works to discover the causes of age-related functional and cognitive decline — that is, diminished perception, memory or judgment — and to translate those discoveries into practices and interventions. 

“We take an interdisciplinary approach to our research on longevity,” said Charness, the William G. Chase Professor of Psychology at FSU. “Older citizens are like other Americans — they are active and they live full and complex lives. Our research efforts bring in experts from many fields — psychology, medicine, the fine arts, law, communications and other areas — so we can address this complexity and support it.” 

For example, a volunteer might spend time in the institute’s driving simulator, helping researchers develop road signs that better accommodate the needs of older drivers. 

Volunteers could join a study into whether seniors can use computer tablets to fight the isolation that often troubles older individuals in rural settings. Volunteers accepted to the study receive a tablet, which they can keep when the research is complete. 

The postcards go in the mail this week, addressed to all registered voters age 60 and over. If you are not registered to vote, or if you don’t receive a card, you can still volunteer. Visit, or contact the institute at (850) 644-8571 or

The Institute for Successful Longevity at Florida State University is devoted to interdisciplinary research on healthy physical and cognitive aging that can discover the causes of age-related cognitive decline and translate those discoveries into effective interventions and practices. To learn more, see