#AIA17: Day Three

The third day of the 2017 Aging in America conference continued the unique learning and community-building experience, and our attendees and faculty are not slowing down.

Beginning with two early-morning exercise sessions that were inclusive and age-friendly, along with a group drumming program, those willing to be up early had plenty to do to get motivated for the day ahead. Workshops kicked off at 9:00 AM and there was a huge breadth of programs to choose from. With support from the The SCAN Foundation, The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Administration for Community Living, the Gary and Mary West Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, and the Marin Community Foundation, the “Managed Care Academy Boot Camp” focused on work to transition Medicaid and dual eligible beneficiaries from LTC facilities to communities. Over at the Healthcare and Aging Network (HAN) Constituent Group program, Brian Duke, System Director, Senior Services, for Main Line Health, and a serving ASA Board member, led off a panel on ways community-based organizations can partner with healthcare systems to improve well-being and health outcomes. The Mental Health and Aging Network (MHAN) program started with a session on trauma-informed services for older adults with Tobi Abramson, Laura Gilman, Vivian Sauer and Brian Sims. And the Network on Environments, Services and Technology (NEST) began a series of programs on co-design with a look a ways to have community input incorporated into service design and delivery.

On the policy front, the morning offered this year’s installment of the renowned “ASA Panel of Pundits,” the longest-running major session at the conference. ASA Board Chair Bob Blancato assembled and moderated a top-flight panel including Rich Browdie, Yanira Cruz, Brooke Hollister, Jay Newton-Small, John Rother and Joel White. The one hundred-plus attendees present, including dozens of additional policy experts, were not disappointed with the analysis and wit on offer.

The third and final General Session of the conference, sponsored by Purina Pro Plan, featured a panel of veterinary and aging experts who shared some compelling data (and stories) about pet nutrition, longevity, and the impact of pet ownership on health and well-being. Attendees were soon posting photos of their own cat and dog companions in the conference app and commenting about their own pets and experiences.

At lunch time, the Exhibit Hall was packed as people got their lunch, visited the Exhibits to complete their bingo cards, and also spent time learning from the more than 100 poster presentations on display.

After lunch, the afternoon included two major programs. The National Forum on LGBT Aging, based on the Summer 2016 issue of ASA’s journal, Generations, was moderated by the issue’s guest editor, Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, and featured several of the authors who contributed articles to the issue including Michael Adams, Lisa Krinsky, Brian de Vries, and Imani Woody.

Also attracting a large attendance was the program offered by the National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center of the Administration for Community Living, on improving the care and services for people with dementia and their family caregivers. The distinguished faculty for the program included Gayle Alston, Elizabeth Gould, Nancy Lee, Michael Lepore, Katie Maslow, Heather Menne, Laura Mosqueda, Liz Weaver and Joshua Wiener.

Also notable on the afternoon program was the inaugural Corps of Accomplished Professionals (CAPs) program, organized by Immediate Past Board Chair Lynn Friss Feinberg with the additional support of ASA leaders including Helen Dennis, Joanne Handy, and Sandra Timmerman. The program followed a survey of ASA membership about how individuals in or approaching retirement can remain engaged with, and contribute to, ASA’s programs, and heralds a major new membership initiative for individuals making career transitions.

At 4:45 PM, forty-seven “Roundtable” sessions continued the educational programming for the day. The Riverside Center was humming with attendees taking advantage of an opportunity to engage with presenters on a wide range of specialized topics and most tables were near or at capacity. The conversations continued with the Peer Group meetings that followed, the always-popular opportunity to convene around specific communities of practice, identity or topics for informal exchanges and networking.

At the end of the day, there were plenty of additional networking and social opportunities including receptions hosted by the The Rosaline and Arthur Gilbert Foundation and the National Center on Caregiving of the Family Caregiver Alliance, the Benjamin Rose Institute, and AARP Illinois.

Of course, throughout the day, at all of the many workshops and symposia, an incalculable volume of sharing, learning and connection-building was taking place. For our many first-time attendees, we hope the experience not only makes you want to return, but to return with more of your colleagues as we begin to think about #AiA18 in San Francisco!