Friday, August 17, 2018

2018 MAIA Concurrent Sessions

MAIA offered 36 concurrent sessions over two days. 
Concurrent sessions are a blessing and a curse.

Yes, it's wonderful to have an array of topics presented when attending a conference.

However, it's painful to choose among competing sessions.

See an earlier post for information about the 2018 MAIA plenary and keynote speakers

This was my experience during the 2018 Mid-American Institute on Aging and Wellness, which took place August 9th & 10th on the campus of University of Southern Indiana

As my name badge indicates, I was one of the people helping with the conference. Briefly stated, serving in the MAIA committee as a "Blue Shirt" further enriched my experience before, during, and after the conference.

But being a committee member didn't include the ability to time travel. Consequently, I can only report on a fraction of presentations.

Check out #maiarocks on Twitter for other attendees' photos and summaries of sessions. 

See an earlier post that lists Twitter and Facebook pages for many of the 2018 MAIA presenters and sponsors.

Sessions I attended on Thursday, August 9, 2018

"Shape Up with Sh'Bam TM" led by Nathalie Payne of the YMCA.

"Palliative Care: What It Is and Isn't"
 led by Andrea Lantz, MSW, LCSW.  Lantz discussed the development of palliative care in the era of modern medicine and explained the relationship between hospice and palliative care.  Her presentation included a lot of statistics but was balanced with stories that presented the human side of pain management and end-of-life care.

Patrick Preston
"Music for the Soul" led by Patrick Preston, MPBS.  This session included a delightful mix of performance and lecture. The attendees participated by making comments, asking questions, and singing along with Preston.

"Understanding the Valsalva Maneuver" led by Dr. Guoyuan Huang, professor of exercise science. This session explained a technique (VM) involving closing off the throat and the nose. People sometimes use this to help them lift weights, push a lawn mower, or even to execute a bowel movement.

Dr. Guoyuan Huang.
However, people can also suffer burst blood vessels in the eye, fainting, stroke, or heart attacks. These complications are not exclusive to older adults; people of any age with health problems should be careful about holding their breath in this particular manner while exerting themselves physically.  Discuss the risks with a licensed medical professional.

"Benefits of Arts and Creativity"
led by Donna Metzer.

"Food for Life" led by Susannah Dickman, MEd and Daniel Dickman, MA. This session discussed the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet. The Dickmans used a combination of facts and case studies.  People who adopted a plant-based diet showed an improvement in health outcomes (such as improved blood sugar levels, lowered blood pressure and lowered cholesterol) in people who removed animal-based foods (meat, eggs, and dairy) from their diet and added more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

If you are going to make a significant change in your diet, talk to a licensed medical professional or nutritionist.

Sessions I attended on Friday, August 10, 2018

Susan E. Fowler.
"The Most Precious Thing to Leave Our Children" led by Evansville storyteller Susan E. Fowler. Attendees helped act out a campfire story by portraying various characters such as the sun, thunder, rain, and pine trees.

"My Drugs Cost How Much?" led by Gina Downs of Senior Connection.  Downs had a number of information-rich slides about Medicare's Plan D, the prescription drug plans. She gave tips on how to compare plans each year in order to save money. Attendees asked questions about generics, the donut hole, and open enrollment. Downs was able to address a broad range of questions.

Don Gallucci

"Chair Cardio and Strength"
 led by Don Gallucci, MHA.  Attendees received information on how to adopt correct posture and how to breath correctly by doing a number of exercises--some seated, some standing.  Gallucci walked around the room in order to give clear instructions and to check postures. His presentation style was informative and fun.

Click on photos to enlarge.
More photos from MAIA 2018!

Top left: Kerseclia Patterson of SW Indiana Health Education Center and RaShawnda Bonds of CAPE Minority Initiative talk between sessions.

Top right: Gina Downs of Senior Connection provides data about Medicare prescription drug plans.

Center: Lunch was provided in USI's Loft on both days. Both meals were delicious.

Bottom left: Andrea Lantz explains changes to the way people experience death and dying in the US from the early 20th century to the early 21st century.

Bottom right: This year attendees had the opportunity to purchase a grey-and-pumpkin colored MAIA t-shirt.

I was invigorated about the topics of wellness and aging after attending and assisting at this two-day conference.

Many healthcare professionals attending earn CME credits (continuing medical education), but a good portion of those present are not healthcare professionals; they are community members who are pro-active about their physical, financial, social, and emotional health.

I have a lot of information to process. But by next summer I'll be eager to attend and assist with MAIA 2019.


2019 MAIA Preview

2018 MAIA Plenary and Keynote Speakers

2018 Mid-America Institute on Aging and Wellness Preview


  1. I love conferences, and, as a teacher and committee member, went to several during my career. Your post brought back many memories!

    1. Thanks for stopping by the blog. It's great to hear that you enjoyed the conferences that you attended. I'm relatively new to gerontology, so I get really invigorated about meeting new people and learning new things. Have a lovely day.

  2. This sounds like a wonderful way to learn, connect, and recharge!

    1. It was! I hope that you get a change to attend a conference, workshop, or training session in a field that interests you, Sandra. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

  3. I know what you mean about so many concurrent talks, which to choose. I have sometimes slipped out the back if a talk didn't resonate and run to another I was thinking about. Being a committee member is great. I did that one year on a breast cancer conference and had to resolve that I would miss some of the talks because I was checking in or guiding folks to the right rooms.

    1. Haralee: I'm happy to read that you were part of the team at a breast cancer conference. I am positive that the conference helped inform and support survivors, their family members and their health care providers (if I'm guessing correctly at the demographic of the attendees). Thank you, Haralee, for visiting the blog today.