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Director's Message

National Conference on Aging: Let's ReThink Aging April 2007

I've just returned from a week in Chicago at the National Conference on Aging. The event is hosted by the American Society on Aging and National Council on Aging (of which we are a member). Over 4000 people attended over 1100 workshops on various issues of aging. The plenary address by Anna Deavere Smith was awesome. Without a doubt, a continuous theme of the conference was that boomers will change the experience of aging as they have changed every stage to this point. I attended the conference to be informed of the "hot issues" in the field so that PSRC can stay on the leading edge and be prepared to meet the emerging needs of this community. I specifically wanted to learn about best practices in integrated case management, program evaluation, successful collaborations, and civic engagement of "boomers."


In the Senior Center sessions, we agreed that older seniors are more comfortable with the term "senior" than younger people, but it really comes down to what you do rather than what you call your center. It was exciting to hear that senior centers are becoming the center of senior services, due in part to efforts to reshape ourselves to be responsive to new expectations. It is now possible to have three generations of older adults attending senior centers: The GI generation (1901-1924), the Silent Generation (1925-1945), and the Boomers 1946-1964)! This certainly presents programming challenges. Research shows that our customers want to be connected to others, to have choices, and to stay active. You are powerful, assertive consumers, who are increasingly tech savvy. You have moved us from a focus on care to a focus on wellness, and from asking "why" to "why not?" This stage of life is now seen as a transition not a termination, a stage to look forward to rather than dread. There was also considerable discuss on of the wide variations in experience of relationships between senior centers and area agencies on aging.

I went to several programs on coalition building as we work to build stronger collaborations to provide better services to this community. It reinforced the awareness that it takes communication and commitment to build trust and overcome obstacles, and that successful coalitions are built on careful planning. There was a lot of discussion of moving from "silos of care", where each type of service interacts with the recipient independently, to collaboration and integrated care. While I did not find a proven "best practice" model, I got leads on other programs to investigate.


In the caregiving track, there was much discussion of a recent study on caregiver health "Caregivers in Decline" conducted by Evercare. The health, emotional and financial consequences to caregivers are immense. It highlights the need for more services for family caregivers, whose numbers are expected to grow in coming years, especially with care shifting from institutional settings to home care. I attended a full-day program on Caregiver Coalitions, which illustrated how working together can increase both awareness and resources for caregivers in a community.


David Eisner gave a powerful talk on civic engagement of boomers, noting that they are volunteering at a higher rate than the previous generation did at this age. Agencies must create opportunities that are sufficiently challenging and engaging to retain this resource. Contrary to expectation, working women with children are the largest volunteer cohort because they are more community-connected.


At the present time, the National Council on the Aging has a small number of evidence-based programs that have been replicated: Enhance Fitness and Enhance Wellness, Matter of Balance, Chronic Disease Self- Management and Preventing Medication Errors. There are programs in development on Brain Health, Civic Engagement, and Depression. Clearly these are all narrowly defined health-related programs, where funding for research can be found through health industry partners and outcomes are concrete.

"Evidence-based" or research-based practice is beginning to enter senior centers, although most agencies are too small to support the technology and research needs. It is harder to measure the impact on quality of life and multi-dimensional programs.

One of the most exciting sessions I attended was on housing. After all the sessions on evidence-based practice, I enjoyed hearing people talk from their passions about the communities they have created. There was a lot of talk about co-housing communities, virtual communities and other innovative concepts. Community Without Walls got good PR as one example.

Clearly we face many challenges in the years ahead. We know that the aging population will grow, especially the oldest and frailest cohort. At the same time, there will be fewer young caregivers and funding will be stretched even further, widening the gap between those who have resources and options and those who do not. Technology will help create possibilities we can only wish for now. The looming health care crisis will have to be addressed. Boomers will change how we view aging, and how we navigate the journey. I was pleased that there were very few issues that were new to me, and that have not been raised in our strategic planning discussions. I hope that the emphasis on evidencebased practice will not snuff out innovation and creative approaches to challenging problems. It is an exciting time to be in the field.

Susan W. Hoskins LCSW

Previous Messages

Cues & Clues

Recharging

GrandPals Celebrate 20 Years!

Multi-generational Households

No One Ages Well Alone

Help at Home

Gratitude

November 2016 Family Caregiving

October 2016 Annual Report

September 2016 Corporate Healthcare

Strategic Planning

Is Your Home Age- Friendly?

May 2016 Director's Message Part 2 - We Need Your Help

May 2016 - Part 1 - Going Solo

April 2016 - Volunteering

March 2016 - Partners In Caring

February 2016 - PSRC's Strategic Plan

January 2016 - Hope

December 2015 - Gratitude

November 2015 - Helicopter Children

October 2015 - Is Princeton An Age Friendly Community?

September 2015 - Annual Report

July & August 2015 - Family and Community

June 2015 - A Gift that Keeps Giving

May 2015 60 Is the New 60

April 2015 - Spring

March 2015 - Being Mortal

February 2015 - Mentoring

January 2015 - Winter Blues

December 2014 - Leaving A Legacy

October 2014 An Age Friendly Future

September 2014 Annual Report

July - August 2014

June 2014 - Romance After 50

May 2014 - Your Virtual Estate

April 2014 - Memory and Forgetting

March 2014 - Aging in Community

Observational Stay

February 2014 - Family Caregiving

January 2014 - Attitudes about Aging

December 2013 - Giving

November 2013 - Healthcare Marketplace

October 2013 - Annual Report 2013

September 2013 - Total Brain Health® Fair

July - August 2013 My cat, My Father and Me

June 2013 - Age Friendly Communities

May 2013 - Navigating a Changing HealthCare Landscape

April 2013 - Becoming Visible

March 2013 - Navigating Life’s Transitions

February 2013 - Partners in Caring Princeton

January 2013 - Men as Caregivers

December 2012 - The Safety Net

November 2012 - Going Solo

October 2012 - Documenting Your History

September 2012 - A Journey of Transformation

July - August 2012 - Gratitude & Moving

June 2012 - Diversity

May 2012- Aging in America

APRIL 2012 - TEN YEARS

March 2012 - Patient-centered Care

February 2012 - Can you Spare an Hour?

January 2012 - Challenges & Opportunities

December - Are you Prepared for Emergencies?

November - We need YOU!

October - Chocolate for Memory

September- Looking Back and Looking Forward

July - August 2011; Ageism

June 2011 - Accessibility

May 2011 - Paper retention

Knit Wits, April 2011

Lessons and Legacies, March 2011

Independent Living February 2011

Home Safety January 2011

Witness to my Life December 2010

Elections, benefits and open enrollment November 2010

Retire in 3D!

Strategic Planning September 2010

Am I Old? July 2010

Memory Clutter June 2010

Aging In America May 2010

Volunteering April 2010

Spirituality March 2010

Estate Planning February 2010

Encore Careers January 2010

Hiring Home Care December 2009

Annual Giving by Sharon Naeole November 2009

Flu Pandemic 2009 October 2009

Healthy Memory, Healthy Mind September 2009

A Personal Perspective on Caregiving July/August 2009

TRANSPORTATION May 2009

Wei Ji: Crisis, Danger and Opportunity April 2009

Write your own obituary March 2009

Hobbies February 2009

Hope and Vision in Challenging Times
January 2009

Medicare Changes 2008: Take A Look! December 2008

Scams, Frauds and Rip-offs November 2008

Engaged Retirement: Beyond Financial Planning October 2008

September 2008 Caregiver Dilemmas

Finding Rhythm and Purpose July/August 2008

Spring Cleaning II June 2008

V + OA = ER (Volunteering + Older Americans=Engaged Retirement)May 2008

Spring Cleaning April 2008

Have You Had the Talk Yet? March 2008

Get Moving with FitRhythms™! February 2008

My Condolences January 2008

Advocacy December 2007

What Are Social Services? November 2007

Sensitive Topics October 2007

Plan for the Future September 2007

The Up-side of Aging Summer 2007

Volunteering June 2007

Strategic Plan May 2007

National Conference on Aging: Let's ReThink Aging April 2007

Brain Health March 2007

Resiliency February 2007

Transportation January 2007

Season of Giving December 2006

Medicare Part D November 2006

April Hill McElroy October 2006

Civic Engagement September 2006

Change June 2006

White House Conference on Aging May 2006

Hearing Loss April 2006

GrandPals March 2006

Lets Talk February 2006

Eldertopia January 2006

Hoarding December 2005

Annual Report: November 2005

Are You Prepared? October 2005

Planning Ahead October 2005

Watch Your Language September 2005

Medicare Part D Summer 2005

Sue Tillett June 2005

The End of the Journey May 2005

Clutter March 2005

New Dietary Guidelines February 2005

Transitions January 2005

Funding December 2004

Caregiving November 2004

Civic Engagement with GrandPals October 2004

A New Look September 2004

Safe Driving Summer 2004

Food Safety June 2004

Communication June 2004

The Challenge of Giving Care May 2004

Seniors On The Move April 2004

Depression March 2004

McGreevey February 2004

Medications January 2004

Random Acts of Kindness December 2003

Civic Engagement November 2003

Reverse Mortgages Oct 2003

Emergency Preparedness, Jan 2003


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