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Reconnecting Face-To-Face at the Florida Conference on Aging 2022

Reconnecting Face-To-Face at the Florida Conference on Aging 2022

I recently attended the 2022 Florida Conference on Aging, presented by the Florida Council on Aging, the Florida Association of Aging Services Providers, and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. This was my first in-person conference since 2019, and it did not disappoint. I think part of the excitement was the anticipation of reconnecting with people face to face and not on a small laptop or tablet screen.

Ron Hetrick, vice president of Lightcast Enterprise and author of The Demographic Drought, was the opening session speaker." He provided an insightful look at trends affecting the current labor market, including the accelerated retirement of baby boomers, fewer younger people participating in the labor market, and the effects of COVID. He noted we must look to innovative new options for working, the importance of embracing technology, and how we can do more with less. You can find his book and several podcasts regarding this work here.

Four sessions focused on Livable Communities, including a walkability session with AARP to gain real-life insight into how to assess and enhance accessibility for people of all ages and abilities. There were additional tracks on dementia and memory disorder, fighting Ageism, connecting older adults and nature, falls prevention, caregiver solutions, and how we can move forward from the pandemic to address social isolation and loneliness. AARP always provides an interesting Florida Legislative review, and we were educated on PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), one of Florida's fastest-growing models of care.

I was fortunate to get into the track on the REACH program. REACH was created to improve emergency response for those with dementia. The training includes videos, training materials, and model de-escalation strategies. It was one of the standout sessions!

Each year, FPL and FCOA present the Quality Senior Living Awards, and as always, there was a great lineup of awardees. After, they treated us to some comic relief with author and humorist Dave Barry. He had some great stories about his life in Florida and a cautionary tale!

The General Session on Wednesday included the infamous "10 in 10-What is happening in D.C. that you need to know" by Bob Blancato, president of Matz, Blancato & Associates. It was followed by Sarasota's own Nancy Schlossberg, Ph.D., Author, and Aging Rebel! Nancy discussed the need to face our own age bias and how we can all develop strategies to navigate our own life transitions. Learn more about Nancy at her website, Transitions Through Life.

The Exhibition Hall had 60 vendors with a wide range of products and services, and it was a great time to network and catch up with old friends. There were opportunities to interface with new technologies, including the Whova App, software for managing conferences and events with personalized agendas and connections to other attendees.

I highly recommend joining the Florida Council on Aging. It is the only Florida Association representing all aging interests across multiple disciplines.

The 2022 Florida Conference on Aging had great energy, and I am already looking forward to next year's event!


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