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The 2019 Florida Conference on Aging RECAP

The 2019 Florida Conference on Aging RECAP

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Florida Conference on Aging presented by the Florida Council on Aging (FCOA), Florida Association of Aging Services Providers, and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. It had been a few years since I attended the conference, and I was happy to reconnect with colleagues and friends and develop new connections and contacts.

My past attendance was very focused on direct client services and improvements from a boots-on-the-ground level. This time the focus was much broader on how to make our community more livable as Sarasota County becomes fully immersed in the work of Age-Friendly Sarasota, A Community #ForAllAges.

There were five separate sessions on Age-Friendly Communities from How to Create an Action Plan to Social Determinants of Health and Age-Friendly Public Health Systems. There were tracks focused on leadership and government, care management, memory disorders, nutrition/food insecurity, senior centers, and technology and innovation.

The opening Session focused on Livable Communities with the keynote address by Rodney Harrell, PhD, Director, Livable Communities, AARP Public Policy Institute. He presented on the AARP Livability Index and how individuals can impact policy change. This was followed by a panel discussion about livability in Florida, led by Dr. Harrell along with Richard Prudom, Secretary, Florida Department of Elder Affairs; Jeff Johnson, Florida State Director, AARP; and Laura Cantwell, Associate State Director, AARP Florida.

There was a General Session about Reviving Civility, led by Nancy Broner and Kyle Reese from the National Institute for Civil Discourse, and not to be missed was the infamous “10 in 10—What is Happening in D.C. That You Need to Know” by Bob Blancato, President, Matz, Blancato & Associates.

The closing session was an excellent panel on caregiving that included Jay Newton, Founder, Memory Well; Lisa Winstel, COO, Caregiver Action Network; Karen Lindsey Marshall, JD, Director of Advocacy & Engagement, National Alliance for Caregiving; and Adrienne Glusman, who provided her personal perspective on caregiving from a millennial’s viewpoint. Speakers discussed the impact that caregiving had on their lives and how this unaddressed public health issue is detrimental to not only an individual’s health but will have a significant systematic and economic impact on both a state and national levels.

Each year Florida Power & Light and FCOA present the Quality Senior Living Awards, and 2019 had a fabulous slate of honorees. We were privileged to receive to the wit and wisdom of Sister Madonna Buder, also known as the Iron Nun.

I was once told by a mentor that to benefit from a conference, you should attend sessions that are both work focused and those that are of interest to you personally. The 2019 Florida Conference on Aging did not disappoint; there was something for everyone.

For those who did not have the opportunity to attend this year, mark your calendars for the 2020 Florida Conference on Aging; August 24-26, 2020, Orlando.


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