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URMC / OARHS / About Us / Welcome from the Director

Welcome from the Director

Conwell Yeates, M.D.

Yeates Conwell, M.D.

Late in the morning of March 14, 1932 George Eastman lay in his bedroom on the second floor of his East Avenue mansion. After speaking briefly with advisors, he wrote a note—"Friends, my work is done. Why wait?"—and shot himself in the chest. The fabulously wealthy industrialist, founder of Kodak, and generous philanthropist was dead at the age of 77.

Although Mr. Eastman’s suicide note reflected autonomy and self-determination, his mounting physical illness, pain, disability, and social isolation suggest a different story. Worldwide, older adults have higher rates of suicide than any other segment of the population. Aging poses many challenges to which even the most privileged are vulnerable; those with fewer sources, especially so.

However, despite the inevitable challenges it poses, older adults tend to be happier with their lot than do younger and middle aged adults. This phenomenon is called the "paradox of aging."

Older adults have much to teach us! We look forward to your participation in that learning process.