Successful Aging: Event will be a growing adventure | PostIndependent.com

Successful Aging: Event will be a growing adventure

Angelyn Frankenberg

Participants in Angelyn Frankenberg's brain fitness breakout at March 5's Adventures in Aging symposium concentrate on a recognition exercise.
Randy Essex / Post Independent |

The jury is in on the Adventures in Aging symposium held in Carbondale on March 5, and your votes reflect the positive comments we were hearing during the event. The project was a resounding success and you want more.

The Post Independent will strive to grow and improve the event. It’s different from putting out a newspaper every day and updating our website, but gatherings like this are another way we can work to be essential to the community.

Thanks first to our partners: Valley View Hospital, Visiting Angels and Garfield County Senior Programs. We also appreciate all of our presenters’ time and dedication to making the event a success.

But mostly we thank all of you who attended — about 100 people from around the area. Judy Martin, Garfield County Senior Programs director, composed the questions and compiled the results of our survey, which about a third of you completed. We appreciate your feedback and invite more of it by email in the coming months.

Aside from suggestions on better presentation equipment and methods in some of the Third Street Center rooms — and we are paying attention to those — your evaluation scores and comments were overwhelmingly positive, with most of you planning to attend next year’s conference and agreeing that you would recommend it to others. A sampling from “overall impressions”:

• Encouraging/stimulating.

• Hope you can do this again, wonderful info.

• Very informative! And timely.

• Appreciate [the speakers’] time and talent, volunteering their wisdom.

We also learned that many of you would have preferred to attend all the afternoon breakout sessions instead of having to choose. One suggestion was to make each presentation slightly shorter so that everyone can attend all of them. We will look into at least getting closer to that at our next conference.

As requested, our presenters focused on the positive aspects of aging and on what we can do to prevent or reduce the severity of the negative aspects.

Financial planner and PI columnist Danielle Howard talked about defining what will make you happy and where money fits into your plan for an active, engaged phase of life she calls “rewirement” — not retirement.

Dr. Dustin Cole from Valley View inspired us with profiles of international centenarians but backed up the inspiration with multiple scientific studies showing a majority of older people are generally happier with life, more altruistic, more likely to look at problems from different perspectives, and even have more satisfying sex lives than younger and middle-aged people.

Another survey comment summarizes our first Adventures in Aging experience. We are off to a really good start, and we will get bigger and better.

Several comments remind me that we are our own greatest resource:

• Good mix of ages/backgrounds.

• Very useful information. Good turnout of enthusiastic seniors.

• And one respondent wanted information on how and where to get connected to other seniors — the social factor.

Yes, we need professionals to offer guidance on aging well, but we have to communicate with each other to find out what we need and to put the experts’ advice into practice. For complex issues — housing, the sharing economy — we might be surprised at how many solutions we can create together.

Watch for more as we develop plans for next year’s symposium. And contact me at the Post Independent to tell me what topics you want us to cover, not only at our next event, but in our Body & More section. The next story, the next event, the next stage of life … all will be more successful with a “we’re in it together” attitude.

Angelyn Frankenberg is a wellness coach and writer living in Carbondale. Her column appears monthly. Reach her at afrankenberg@postindependent.com.


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