East Coast, West Coast Conferences-All around Our Aging Towns

Article excerpt

As the warm summer days make way for cool autumn breezes, change is in the air. We are especially excited about the changes we've made to our regional autumn conferences. Formerly known as ASA's Autumn Series conferences, the West Coast Conference on Aging and the East Coast Conference on Aging, scheduled for September, will offer keynote addresses, full-day learning experiences on a single topic and more networking opportunities.

The West Coast Conference on Aging is scheduled for Sept. 2-5 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square; the East Coast Conference on Aging will convene Sept. 22-25 at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue hotel. We have brought back some of our more distinguished speakers, such as Erlene Rosowsky of Harvard Medical School's Department of Psychiatry and Patrick Arbore, director of the Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention and Grief-Related Services at San Francisco's Institute on Aging. They will speak about pressing psychological issues that older adults and their caregivers are facing. We've also added leading experts who will speak about many of today's most compelling topics.

One featured speaker at the East Coast conference will be Harvard Medical School's John J. Ratey, best-selling author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (Little, Brown & Company, 2008), a groundbreaking exploration of the connection between physical exercise and brain performance. In his address, Ratey will explain how even moderate exercise will supercharge mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen thinking, enhance memory and much more.

Kathy Freund, president and executive director of ITN America in Westbrook, Maine, is one of the leading innovators in alternative transportation systems for serving elders. Listed by The Wall Street Journal as "one of the 12 people who are changing your retirement," Freund will share her expertise at the East Coast conference in her session on sustainable mobility for older adults.

On the West Coast, Andrew E. Sharlach, who directs the Center for the Advanced Study of Aging Services at U.C. Berkeley, will enlighten conference registrants with his insights on creating aging-friendly communities. Also featuring Sharlach's U.C. Berkeley colleague Kristen Bodiford, the daylong program will address the fact that most communities are ill-prepared for the doubling of the senior population in the next 25 years. Scharlach and Bodiford will present the challenges of making communities elder friendly and offer solutions. Aging Today readers can download Scharlach's article from the January-February 2008 issue, "Good Places to Grow Old: New Realities for an Older America," at www.asaging.org/publications/dbase/AT/AT-291-Scharlach.pdf.

If you haven't already registered for these conferences, be sure to visit the ASA website at www.asaging.org/EastWest. You can also register on-site, but many sessions will be sold out, so we highly recommend advance registration.

ART AND DEMENTIA

Speaking of the autumn conferences, ASA members should have recently received-by snail mail a new monograph based on the special lecture presented at the 2007 West Coast event. Titled Art and Dementia: Artistic Talent and the Impact of Brain Degeneration, this handsome 24-page publication is the latest print version of AS A's MindAlert series of lectures and monographs, sponsored by MetLife Foundation. Art and Dementia, the first in the MindAlert series (which began in 2001) to include color illustrations, is a fascinating exploration of the relationship between artistic creativity and brain degeneration.

In Art and Dementia, Bruce L. Miller, a behavioral neurologist at the U.C. SanFrancisco School of Medicine, describes the impact of dementia on the creative process and challenges our aging society to recognize and nurture the individual strengths of people with neurodegenerative diseases. …