Sunday, September 15, 2019

2019 MAIA Review: Day One

MAIA at USI on August 8 and 9, 2019
I've been reflecting on my fourth experience attending the Mid-America Institute on Aging and Wellness. This event was the twelfth annual MAIA. It's held on the campus of University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. The co-host is SWIRCA & More.

Read the Conference Preview that lists info for All Participants. 

I enjoyed listening to all four of our keynote speakers: Emily Allen, BS, MS (AARP Foundation), Greg O'Brien (Journalist and Author), Harley Gordon, JD (Attorney and Advocate for Financing LTC), & Tim Brimmer, DA (Butler University).

They are all nationally recognized in their fields. They elevated my understanding of healthy aging across the lifespan. I also enjoyed observing as many of the 36 concurrent sessions as humanly possible.

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.

Teepa Snow
This was my second year serving as a "Blue Shirt," which is the group that meets throughout the year to plan this event.

During the conference, we guide attendees to the sessions of their choice, introduce speakers, and help out in a variety of other ways.

Prior to the conference, USI hosted a workshop (Wednesday, September 7th) led by dementia educator, Teepa Snow.

She engaged an audience of healthcare workers, educators, family caregivers, and lay people seeking greater insight about living with dementia, with Alzhemier's disease being the most prevalent form.

Attendees in Carter Hall
Snow has a high energy presentation style, and she encourages a lot of audience engagement. She knows a lot about how dementia affects people physically, emotionally, socially as well as mentally. Her presentation helped me understand how to better communicate those living with dementia.

We started the day off Thursday, August 8th with Chair Yoga, let by Cecile Martin in Carter Hall.

Emily Allen & Sarah Waddle
Emily Allen from the AARP Foundation delivered her presentation "A Future Without Senior Poverty" on the morning of Thursday, August 8th.

Allen had a conversation on the dais with Sarah Waddle, director if the Indiana chapter of AARP.

They talked about programs in place or in development for helping vulnerable older adults with food, transportation, housing, health care and other vital services. 

It was good to hear about various organizations--government, public, private, non-profit and volunteer--working together to not just help older adults but to give them more venues for sharing their skills and pursing their passions.

I heard good things about all of the concurrent sessions Thursday, but I was only able to spend time in four of these sessions.

Dental Bacteria & Dementia, Death Is a Part of Life, Mental Health & Aging
Emily R. Holt, MHA, RDH, CDA, EFDA, presented on the topic "Dental Bacteria and Dementia." Since becoming a gerontologist, I have had several dental health professionals ask me to inform people throughout the lifespan about this connection. However, I lacked specifics.

It was invaluable to have Holt talk about the need to maintain good dental care as people age, recognizing some of the challenges to do so.

A panel of experts (Debbie Folz, Genevieve McGuire, and Jim McGuire) shared information about the process of dying, led by Barbara Stahura. Their panel "Death Is a Part of Life" did a good job of showing how this is a pertinent topic to people of all ages and at all times. If people wait until a loved one is close to death, it's very difficult to get timely information or respond in ways other than denial or pure panic. Most people seek "a good death," but they often avoid really learning how to prepare for that ideal.

The next session included a presentation by Olivia Taylor, PMHNP-BC, about key issues related to mental health in older adults. Her presentation "Mental Health and Aging" contained a rich array of facts, theories, and anecdotes about helping older adults improve their quality of life while living with mental health challenges.

I also attended was directed by Jeff Chestnut, MA, BS. He has a lot of experience teaching women's self-defense classes.

His session, "Women! Yourselves" was well attended, and everyone was very attentive.

Chestnut conveys a unique blend of warmth and strength. He did a great job guiding the group step-by-step through specific ways they can respond to a potential attack.

He also gave tips on how to increase personal safety to prevent an attack from occuring in the first place.

Harley Gordon
That afternoon, keynote speaker Harley Gordon, JD gave an engaging presentation on how to persuade the family breadwinner that getting long-term care insurance is not a sign of weakness but an extension of his love for his family.

His address was entitled "Who Pays for Mom and Dad?" However, it gave a broader context for that practical concern.

It was interesting to hear statistics about the need for formal caregiving.

Families are smaller, leaving fewer people available to offer support.

Spouses are not always physically capable of caring for their ailing husband or wife.

Adult children often live far away and have a number of commitments for caring for their own families during the time a parent needs help with activities of daily living.

What a Day! 

At the conclusion of the day, I was better informed and invigorated about wellness. Later I will discuss the sessions and keynotes on the second day of MAIA 2019.


MAIA 2019: Day Two

Learning from MAIA 2019's Sponsors and Exibitors

MAIA 2019 Conference Preview

MAIA 2018 Keynotes


  1. Sounds like a great conference with terrific speakers. Thanks for sharing and the links!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. We had more people come from out of region this year than any prior year. The word is getting out!