Presentations

What’s Age Got to Do with It? Busting the Myths About Getting Older

It’s a fact of life that no matter who you are, you’re aging. But do you really know what aging means? Is getting old something to fear and dread, or does it lead to surprising benefits not possible to enjoy at younger ages?

This engaging presentation will help you discover what aging is –– and what it isn’t. Drawing from the latest scientific research, it busts social myths and negative stereotypes about older adults and offers practical tips for disrupting the ageism that keeps people of all generations from fully contributing to society.

It’s All in Your Mind! How to Keep Your Brain Fit and Strong

“Why am I not as sharp as I used to be?” “Does aging really mean having a slower, less efficient brain?” “Will I someday develop Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia?”

These are real concerns for many middle-age and older adults, but there is something everyone can do to keep as mentally fit as possible in the years to come. Physical exercise, mental exercise, nutrition, and stress management can improve one’s general well-being and day-to-day ability to function.

This insightful and entertaining presentation reveals surprising, good-news facts about the aging brain and how to care for it. It includes fundamental lifestyle tips based on the latest medical and psychological research.

Bye-Bye, Bingo: How Baby Boomers Are Redefining “Aging”

Members of the generation that burned bras, protested the Vietnam War, and gathered at Woodstock are now ages 52 to 70. Not only are Baby Boomers resisting growing old in the ways their parents and grandparents did, they are transforming the very concept of aging — physically, psychologically, economically, and socially. Providers of aging services are noticing this shift and making adjustments in the ways they market and deliver their services.

This presentation explores the aging trends being created by Boomers and how their unique place in the generational continuum might affect future ways of “dealing with old people.”

Stars Invisible by Day: Fascinating Truths About Creativity and the Older Brain

A major concern of many people is whether and how they can maintain their ability to be creative as they get older. What is creativity all about? Is it a skill that remains the same for every generation, or does its nature change as we age? Might older adults be in danger of losing their creative powers, or can they actually increase them with the passing of time? And if so, how?

This presentation, based on the latest neuroscientific research, reveals fascinating truths about creativity by offering examples of its forms and styles and describing what happens in the brain during the processes of inspiration and invention. It also discusses the surprising productive advantages of the older adult brain and provides tips for maintaining and increasing one’s powers of imagination.

In Other Words: Transforming the Language of Ageism

One of the most important social issues of our time is the honoring of the aging process as not only a moral good but as a public necessity. The success of any program, product, or service that professionals offer to older adults depends on a willingness and ability to dispel the many unproductive American myths and stereotypes that have defined aging solely in terms of deficit and decline rather than as a social and economic asset.

Such myths and stereotypes are reinforced in the ageist language our culture uses to describe getting and being older. This presentation explores how ageist language informs our perceptions and how those perceptions, in turn, determine our language. Participants will learn practical strategies for helping others recognize and break that cycle by transforming ageist language into a truer expression of the older adult experience.

From Empowerment to Employment: A Holistic Approach
to Helping Older Adult Job-Seekers Find Fulfilling Work

The major ways in which society defines “aging” often determines how older adults are perceived as potential employees. Are they valuable company assets or merely drains on corporate benefit funds? What are the myths and realities concerning older adults in the workplace?

This presentation explores the social and economic motivations, trends, and obstacles affecting the job-seeking and hiring of older adults. Based on the latest research, it also offers a new paradigm that can be used by employment counselors — and older adult job-seekers — to maximize the odds of filling open job positions with mature, experienced, and skilled 50+ applicants.

The Society That Plays Together…: The Whys and Hows of Creating Intergenerational Recreation Programs

It may seem obvious that when generations play together, everyone benefits socially from the experience. But research shows that beyond helping to build relationships, intergenerational recreation, when designed effectively, offers significant health and educational benefits to participants of all ages.

This presentation explores the ways in which intergenerational play allows young children, teens, and older adults to help one another develop important social skills and promote cognitive health. It offers strategies for creating effective intergenerational recreation activities, as well as highlights examples of successful programs.

Thriving in the Third Age: How to Create a More Proactive —
and Productive — Older Adult World

Anyone who works with older adults knows that “aging” is a dynamic concept, redefined by each generation as its members approach their older adult years. Currently, the term is being redefined in a major way by the life experiences and expectations of the Baby Boomer generation. Rather than accept the idea of “old age” as an endpoint in the life course, Boomers consider it more as a “third age,” one that follows the stresses and struggles of midlife but which is still a “productive” time, albeit in a different way.

This presentation clarifies not only what it means to survive in the Third Age, but to thrive in it as well. It opens with basic demographics covering older adults at home, in the workplace, in civic and educational settings, and in volunteering and leisure activities. It offers several ways to redefine the value that older adults bring to society. And, most importantly, it offers individual and societal strategies for eliminating the conditions that restrict older adults from living more fulfilling lives.

“Betwixt and Between” or Beyond? The Dilemma of Aging in Stasis

Aging is a continuous process biologically, psychologically, and socially. While a person’s progress made along the route traveled is usually gradual, it isn’t imperceptible. There are signposts and landmarks that let individuals and society as a whole know that a person has arrived at a new location in his or her life journey.

Unfortunately, the changes that occur in a person’s later years are more numerous and happen more rapidly. Beyond the usual recognition of a person’s retirement, society hasn’t found adequate ways of helping older adults through these further passages. Instead, it keeps them in a state of stasis, of being “betwixt and between” instead of enabling them the dignity of transitioning to greater meaning in their lives. This lack of assistance is abusive not only to older adults themselves, but to younger generations and to society as a whole.

Whose responsibility is it to see to it that aging be an ongoing process of transformation beyond stasis? How can this best be done? This presentation offers innovative answers to these questions.

In This Together: Partnering with Family Caregivers

If you are providing professional caregiving services, you know the many challenges involved in coordinating recipients’ care with their informal caregivers (spouse/partner, family members, neighbors, friends). Often, those caregivers are stressed out and even on the verge of burnout, and they can have unrealistic perspectives about and expectations of formal caregivers that can negatively affect your ability to provide quality service.

This presentation identifies the various economic, social, and personal struggles of family caregivers and the obstacles those struggles create for caregiving professionals. It also offers constructive strategies for removing those obstacles and fostering supportive relationships that promote the best care for a loved one.

Caring for the Caregiver

Caregiving can be an emotionally and spiritually rewarding experience, but often, family members, friends, and neighbors who provide care suffer significant stress and even burnout. What can a caregiver do to get mentally and physically recharged in order to continue providing the support an incapacitated loved one needs?

This presentation identifies the many levels of burden on caregivers, reveals the “mythical thinking” of caregivers about their own abilities (or lack of them), and outlines specific ways they can provide for their own care, including strategies for involving others.

Coming to Terms by Finding Their Way: Journaling for Children
and Teens in Families of a Person with Dementia

In families of a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, children are often left out of the decision-making concerning how best to cope with the challenges this situation brings. In fact, just like their caregiving parents, the younger members of a family are dealing with feelings of loss, frustration, and fear.

One very effective way to allow children to express and handle their feelings is through journaling. This presentation describes the experiences and issues of young children (ages 6-10), older children (11-13), and teens (14-18) concerning dementia, and the value and benefits that journaling can provide to ease their stress, maintain their self-esteem, and even promote appreciation for their affected loved one. It also includes examples of children’s journal pages that offer inspiration and practical ideas.

Healing Words: The Transformative Power of Expressive Writing

It’s been said that a picture is worth 10,000 words. But when a person writes with intention, using words that reveal thoughts and feelings about important personal experiences such as trauma and illness, such words prove extremely valuable, especially when used as a means to achieve health and wellness.

This presentation explains how “expressive writing” can bring about personal transformation, be it physical, emotional, cognitive, social, or spiritual. Citing research that supports this phenomenon, it presents fascinating hypotheses explaining why EW works, especially when the process considers the individual as a unique and whole person.

The Write Response: Journaling Your Way to Relaxation and Health

Have you ever kept a journal? Have you never kept a journal? Whether or not you consider yourself a “writer,” research has shown that writing as little as 10 or 15 minutes a day several times a week about the issues concerning you can reduce your levels of stress, ease symptoms of illness, boost your immune system, and activate your natural healing powers.

This presentation introduces the basic concepts of journaling and explains why journaling can be such an effective tool for self-discovery and self-improvement.

Roots, Shoots & Fruits: Deepening Your Spiritual Life

“How can I feel a greater spiritual connection in my life?” is a common question asked by many mid-life and older adults. No matter whether someone belongs to a religion or not, the answer can be found by exploring one’s past spiritual experiences; current feelings, beliefs, and values; and future hopes.

This presentation describes four paths of spiritual development: autobiographical (memory), hypothetical (speculation), emotional (needs/fears/desires) and mystical (intuition). It shows how using the techniques of journaling, art, meditation, guided imagery, and active imagination can help people better understand their journeys on these paths and engage the creative dimensions of their spirit.

Old Dogs, New Tricks, Better Lives: An Innovative Way
to Improve Older Adult Education

Because of their longevity and accumulation of life experiences, older adults are the most diverse population in America today. It makes sense, then, that they have a variety of motivations and preferences when it comes to education. Many older adults are embracing formal and informal lifelong learning at academic institutions, senior centers, places of worship, and other venues.

But are their needs being met in the best way possible? How do older adults best learn? And what can any community do to provide the optimal conditions that improve their experience? This presentation explores a paradigm that answers these questions.

Surviving and Thriving During the Holidays

At any time of year, but especially between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day, holidays give people a chance to take a break from their ordinary activities and to refocus on their values and relationships. But holidays can also be problematic times that create loneliness, anxiety, and stress.

This presentation offers helpful tips for anticipating, celebrating, and reflecting on the holidays. It provides strategies for remaining centered; taking maximum advantage of this special time to be with loved ones; honoring spiritual, cultural, and family traditions; and inventing new ones that carry celebrations into the future.

The Case for Paid Family Caregiving

Currently, about 80% of all caregiving in the United States is done by informal caregivers, namely family, friends, and neighbors. Often, they can’t afford the costs of formal caregivers or long-term-care settings for their loved one. So they take on the responsibility themselves, often to the detriment of their own health and financial and job security.

Citing the latest research and statistics, this presentation offers a convincing argument for the importance of reimbursing family caregivers for their time and efforts and shows the greater economic and cultural implications for families and society as a whole if family caregivers are not financially supported.