NN forum focuses on 'Aging in Place'

FitnessChristopher Newport UniversityNewport News (Newport News, Virginia)Peninsula Agency on AgingSkin Cancer

The boomer generation is intent on "Aging in Place," or staying in their communities well into retirement age and beyond. The 31st Annual Community Forum on Aging, sponsored by the Peninsula Agency on Aging and Christopher Newport University, will speak to the theme in a series of lectures and workshops on March 5.

The keynote speaker for "Aging in Place: Getting by with a little help from our friends!" is Sandy Markwood, CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, n4a. The organization works to promote needed home and community based services and supports, integrated health care, transportation management and active aging for those over 60.

In her presentation, Markwood will focus on the potential impact of the federal sequester on services for seniors in the community. "Friday is the beginning of the next storm," she said in a phone interview from Washington D.C. "What I want to lay out is that over the past 50 or 60 years, there has been a real investment on the part of the federal government in the health, wellness and security of the elderly." She cited Medicare and Medicaid as essential contributions to the protection of seniors.

Markwood particularly lauded the 1965 Older Americans Act, which launched agencies on aging and their community-based supports for those aged 60 and older, regardless of economic need. Meals on Wheels, medical transportation, educational and physical fitness programs are all low-cost services that help people age successfully in the community, she said.

As the fiscal crisis puts some of those programs in jeopardy, Markwood is calling for community debates at the local and state level to determine seniors' needs into the future and what the appropriate investments in services should be.

The day's program, which is geared to seniors and their caregivers, includes free screenings for bone density, hearing, memory, blood pressure, and more; education about skin cancer, food safety, sleep disorders, and more; and a Lions Club-sponsored eyeglass and hearing aid recycling center. Workshops cover the gamut, from "Using Assistive Technology to Support Aging in Place" to "Going for Gold," a promotion for the Virginia Senior Games national qualifying events being held in Newport News in May.

The 31st Annual Community Forum on Aging

What: Health & Wellbeing Event for Mature Adults and Senior Care Professionals; workshops, screenings and activities.

When: 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5.

Where: Christopher Newport University, Newport News.

To register: $2 at the door for 60 and older; $15 under 60; fee includes continental breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m.

Presented by Peninsula Agency on Aging & Christopher Newport University Information: 757-873-0541.

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