The Engaged Aging Lab

The Engaged Aging Lab is aimed to maximize the aging experience to promote older adults’ ability to age in the place that they choose. Driven by occupational therapy and gerontology as guiding theoretical frameworks, we incorporate the environment, personal preferences, and meaningful occupations (how one occupies their time) into research, community outreach, and education. The Engaged Aging Lab is driven toward state-of-the-art behavioral science for community-based research including aging in place, telehealth and technology as a method to improve care outcomes, diversity and inclusion in clinical research, and improved health equity for underrepresented and underserved communities. Whether working with individuals, dyads, or community partners, we are continually focused on improving health outcomes and quality of life through identification and intervention on mechanistic factors that drive behavior change.

In the below podcast, Elizabeth Rhodus shares insights into the development behind the Engaged Aging Lab:–Elizabeth-Rhodus-discusses-the-link-between-engaged-aging-and-dementia-care-e1hfn49

Meet the Engaged Aging Team

Engaged Aging Founder

Dr. Elizabeth Rhodus

Ph.D. in Gerontology from the University of Kentucky

Assistant Professor of Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and Department of Behavioral Science
Primary Faculty of Center for Health Equity Transformation

As an experienced and caring occupational therapist with a passion for helping aging adults, Dr. Rhodus has facilitated an interdisciplinary collaboration through Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. At the University of Kentucky, she has founded their first community-based aging lab: Engaged Aging. Dr. Rhodus’ mission through her lab is to engage older adults in life through: improving rural Kentucky health care access via telehealth, detection of health risks and early prevention of cognitive impairment and dementia within various communities, and providing opportunities for clinical trial interventions to those that may benefit most. Engaged Aging brings the most recent healthy aging initiatives of the University of Kentucky directly to members of your communities across Kentucky, which is only possible through partners and caregivers like you!


Cooking new recipes, because sometimes you just need to slow down and enjoy the moment.

Traveling and enjoying the unique cultures and communities every new place has to offer.

And conducting community outreach and research to best serve those that fuel her passion!

To access Dr. Rhodus’ articles, please see link below:

Engaged Aging Research Program Manager

Celeste Roberts, MS OTR/L

Masters in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Kentucky University

3rd year student at Nova Southeastern University seeking Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy

After almost a decade of practicing as an Occupational Therapist in skilled nursing facilities across the country, Celeste decided she had to do more for those she loves to serve. After seeing the occupational deprivation that older clients often experience, with a lack of meaningful engagement opportunities, she felt called to a higher movement through the Engaged Aging mission. As a current Ph.D. student in Occupational Therapy at Nova Southeastern University, Celeste hopes to change the Kentucky and national focus of aging into a positive, meaningful, and engaging journey for not only older adults, but their caregivers, families, and communities!


Engaging with her 20 chickens, 4 dogs, 5 rescue lizards, 1 ferret and 1 albino ball python!

Realistic photography of others actively engaging in occupation, unpoised, because your reality is where the meaning lies.

And baking dozens of cookies at a time because happiness and cookies were meant to be shared!

Engaged Aging Graduate Research Assistant

Yolanda Jackson, MS, RD, LD

Masters in Dietetic Administration from the University of Kentucky

Currently seeking her Ph.D. in Health Communication at the University of Kentucky, Yolanda has recently joined the Center for Health Equity and Transformation (CHET) as a graduate Research Assistant, as well as the Engaged Aging Lab. Yolanda’s interests include patient-provider interactions, health campaigns and health message design with her past work experiences including lecturing in the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and working in clinical settings. As a licensed and registered Dietitian, she has a passion for chronic disease management with a focus on medical nutrition interventions and lifestyle changes that can most benefit the individuals and communities that she works with!


Enjoying the process of cooking and baking in her kitchen.

Exploring new foods from different cultures.

And traveling to all the places those unique tastes come from!

Engaged Aging Occupational Therapist

Laura Henley, MS, OTR/L CDP

Masters in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Kentucky University

Certified Dementia Practitioner

Though 3/4 of us are Occupational Therapists, we hold Laura’s treatment delivery through Engaged Aging’s clinical research at the top! Laura is a licensed occupational therapist in the state of Kentucky who specializes in the delivery of occupational therapy assessments and interventions for older adults, certified especially for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias with behavioral symptoms. For nearly ten years, she has worked in leadership and management positions in addition to providing direct clinical provision with this population. Laura now blesses our lab with her fine tuned knowledge and compassion while implementing the next wave of sensory-based occupational therapy being developed and clinically trialed right here at the Engaged Aging Lab!


Engaging in all that the outdoors have to offer.

Taking in nature while hiking beautiful new trails.

And of course doing all of these things and more with family!