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Goodbye Ageism! Shifting an Old Stereotype
Posted By Sally Abrahms On February 12, 2014 @ 2:24 pm In Take Care | Comments Disabled
I’m positive: You couldn’t pick a better place to have an International Conference on Positive Aging this week (or any week). It isn’t just because it’s in Florida, but also because it’s specifically in Sarasota County, which happens to have the highest percentage of people age 85-plus in the nation.
The event’s host, the Sarasota non-profit foundation Institute for the Ages, recruits and engages older people and organizations to conduct research on aging issues, connecting companies with their target audience, Sarasota residents who are aged 50-plus. That might mean trying out new aging-in-place technology in their homes and giving feedback to refine the product. The Institute also brings together universities, non-profits and businesses to collaborate, problem-solve and brainstorm.
At the conference, there was a lot of connecting: mental health therapists, academics, interested citizens, thought leaders, companies catering to an older population, and experts in work and retirement, housing and technology. They shared their innovative programs and personal stories and discussed ways to advance the positive aging movement.
Don’t know about this movement? In a nutshell, it’s about turning the doom and gloom attitude about aging (as in diminishment, loss, and decline) into a rich and meaningful stage of life (growth, new beginnings, feeling valued and contributing to society). “Goodbye ageism”” is the group’s mantra as is “purpose, purpose, purpose.”
There were also a few sessions on caregiving-that is, strategies and programs to make it easier for both the caregiver and their loved one. “Caregivers need help,” says Institute President and CEO Tom Esselman. “Lots of researchers and innovators are trying to come up with solutions, but most of these researchers lack effective ways to learn what these needs are. The Institute is trying to better pinpoint these needs.”
Here are three caregiving conference takeaways:
Caregivers, what are your couples challenges? Have you tried mindful meditation? Would you ever go to a Grief Café? I positively want to hear!
Graphic recording by Eric Debarros, photo by Sally Abrahms
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