Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dr. Bill Thomas: Is Evansville the One?

Rating culture change ideas on 3x5 cards.
On Friday, September 22, 2017, internationally renown geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas asked two groups of people from the Evansville region, "Are you the one?"

He was asking if we have the desire to pioneer new housing, a new community that promotes wellness for older adults by better integrating them with other generations and by creating specialized housing that adopts cutting-edge technology.

Our region has the resources, he discerned during a visit in August this year. But do we have the drive?

Who Is Dr. Thomas? 

Describing Dr. Bill's Thomas' work proves challenging.

He's a geriatrician by training. However, watching him interact with others, he presents himself more as an artist and an advocate than a scientist (but he does know his science).

Dr. Thomas, catalyst for change.
For years, he has worked to create a culture change for how older adults relate to society at large. His ideals include the integration of all generations, so the scope of his work exceeds the boundaries of geriatrics.

See Changing Aging for more information about him and his team of aging innovators.

Dr. Thomas also takes an interdisciplinary view because he values the world views of the social sciences and the humanities in addition to the perspectives of allied health professions and sciences.

He also communicates his ideals through a variety of modes, ranging from scholarly articles to performance art. Consequently, his methods also exceeds the boundaries of his training in medicine.

He's iridescent.

I had the opportunity of participating in two events where he was the catalyst for the action.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Older Americans 2016 Federal Report

Image by Paul Weithorn.
In June of 2016, the Federal Interagency Forum on Age-Related statistics published a report entitled Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being.

The Forum refers to it as a "chartbook" because it contains a lot of data about older adults in the US, formatted into charts for ease of reading.

The full report is available here.

I spent a lot of time looking at the 2012 report, which I found valuable. Consequently, I am reviewing this more current report, too.

The 2016 report lists 41 indicators of well-being, which are divided into the following six groups:

  • Population
  • Economics
  • Health Status
  • Health Risks and Behaviors
  • Health Care
  • Environment

Here is the Forum's press release that includes highlights from the 179-page report.

This is the seventh report from the Forum.  The Foreword points out some of the additions, which reflect the dynamic nature of aging in the US:

"Among these additions are an indicator describing the changing demographics of Social Security beneficiaries and an indicator describing transportation access for older Americans. Indicators have also been added to describe dementia rates (including Alzheimer’s disease rates, among the non-nursing home population) as well as to examine the number of older Americans receiving long-term care by different types of providers. Finally, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) for Americans age 65 and over has been added." 

If you would like to read a summary of the full report, here are three options:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

10th Annual Mid-American Institute on Aging and Wellness

MAIA 10th Anniversary Program & Swag Bag.
Every August, the University of Southern Indiana partners with the local Area Agency on Aging--SWIRCA--and others to present a two-day institute on aging and wellness.

As an employee of the university, I had the privilege of attending several sessions on Thursday, August 10th and Friday August 11th. I also received an invitation to attend the pre-conference workshop led by dementia educator Teepa Snow.  I discussed the events of Wednesday, August 9th in a previous post.

Below are highlights from a handful of sessions.

I'm loathe to admit that I could not attend every session.  There were 27 people leading concurrent sessions and four keynote speakers: Bill Thomas, MD, Faith Roberts, MSN, CRRN; Dean Hartley, PhD; and Neha Sangwan, MD.  There as also an exhibit hall featuring dozens of local business and agencies who support aging and wellness.

Such a wealth of experience and perspectives!

What follows are my notes that are woefully inadequate. I suggest that you attend next year so that you can follow the sessions that interest you the most.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Teepa Snow at MAIA 2017

Snow explaining unmet needs at MAIA 2017.
I spent the bulk of today attending a pre-conference workshop on dementia care.

For the past year, I have been teaching gerontology classes part time in the College of Nursing and Heath Professions at University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, Indiana.

Each August, the university hosts an aging conference sponsored by local agencies and businesses that support healthy aging.

Read more about the Mid-American Institute on Aging & Wellness (MAIA) here.

The two-day conference is packed with speakers covering an array of topics about healthy aging and elder care.