Thursday, June 20, 2013

Positive Aging Day 2013

Photo by WSU Aging Studies
Earlier this week, I had the chance to attend Positive Aging Day here in Wichita, KS. This event is supported by a number of organizations, including the Central Plains Area Agency on Aging.

In addition to 20 sessions in concurrent sessions, we enjoyed a keynote speaker (Rip Gooch, member of the Black Aviation Hall of Fame) during lunch.  Find a detailed program here.

I attended the following sessions:

  • We Are Not Getting Older: But We Are Aging in Place. Presenter Phil Davis, Handyman Matters

    This session was filled with older adults interested in learning more about home modifications they can make so that they can stay in their homes as they age.  Mr. Davis talked about improvements to reduce risks of falls and to improve ease of reach.  He warned that the bathroom is the most accident-prone space in a private home. 

  • Kansas Guardian and Conservatorship Law and Power of Attorney. Presenter Pamela Thompson, Pamela Thompson Law.

    This session gave an overview of the documentation required for a smooth transition for an individual managing his/her own finances and other matters to an adult child or another trusted person. For example, I learned there is a difference between power of attorney and durable power of attorney. 

  • Who Decides? Decision-Making for Medical Interventions. Presenter Thomas A. Welk, DMin, Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice

    In this session, Father Welk talked about the need for individuals to fill out an advanced directive (which differs from a living will or a DNR order). Doing so can help family members avoid having to guess what a seriously ill person wants in the form of medical interventions. Only approximately 25% of people have an advanced directive.  
One of the most salient presenters was keynote speaker Rip Gooch, a World War II veteran, a pilot, a business man, and a former state senator.  From the vantage point of being nearly 90 years old, Rip Gooch talked about his journey from humble beginnings to a life of greater self-determination.  

Photo by buzzbo
As a child, he was living in a poor rural area when at age 5, his father had left the area and his mother died.  Through perseverance and support from others, he achieved his childhood dream of being a pilot. And so much more.

After lunch, I talked with a range of people in the exhibition hall. They shared information with me about the following: foot care, long-term insurance, customizing vehicles for those who use wheelchairs or scooters, counseling services for gambling addiction, college programs in aging studies, job placement services for workers 55+, hospice services, computerized pill dispensers, etc.

Before I visited all the tables, the event was over and people were packing up.  However, I will have an opportunity this fall to learn more about how to support active aging.

So meet me at Senior Expo on September 26, 2013 here in Wichita, Kansas.


  1. What a great opportunity. I would have love to meet Rip Gooch. He must have been very interesting. I look forward to reading more of your informative posts.

    1. Bonnie: Thanks for stopping by the blog. (I've been traveling, so I've been a little slow to respond to tweets / comments.) Rip was an example of living history. I was glad they invited him to be our keynote speaker.

  2. Karen,
    It was nice to meet you and share information with you about the benefits of supports groups and the online listing for groups in Kansas at Maybe I'll see you again at the Senior Expo.

    1. Angela: You are doing important work for the 55 plus crowd. Senior Expo for sure!