State of Aging conference returning to McDaniel, registration deadline looms

The State of Aging Conference will return to McDaniel College for the third year on Tuesday, Aug. 8, this time focusing on ways to improve the quality of life for older adults.

"People can come in today and learn effective techniques that can be employed in their work place tomorrow, or with their family members," said Diane Martin, co-chair of the event and the director of McDaniel's Center for the Study of Aging.


The conference will run from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the Decker Center Forum at the college and will feature keynote speaker, Dr. Erwin Tan, director of thought leadership at AARP.

The deadline for registration for the conference is Tuesday, Aug. 1 and is $50 for general admission, $45 for students, faculty and seniors age 60 and older — those seeking continuing education credits should add $15. Register online at www.mcdaniel.edu/csaregister, by email at aging@mcdaniel.edu or by calling 410-857-2500.


A key theme of the conference, Martin said, will be looking at how ageist attitudes, language and even body language can negatively impact our relationships with older adults, and even ourselves.

"Our keynote speaker, Dr. Kan will be talking about this idea of how we become ageist against ourselves," she said. "Me at 50, the idea that I will become subservient or I will think I can't do things — at 50 I can't imagine that. But I may wake up at 75 and I am using my age as an excuse to not do things."

Research will be presented, Martin said, that illustrates how the way we speak can either enhance or hurt the quality of life of older adults, adults with dementia or other cognitive impairments, and even affect their physical health.

"Elder-speak is the way we talk down to older adults. It's using terms — when we simplify sentences, 'OK honey it's time for us to do this now, or using that collective pronoun, 'let's go take a bath," she said. "Elder-speak or ageism in our language is really taking the dignity of the life lived away from the person and treating them and talking to them as if they were a child."

This is important, Martin said, because the U.S. is on track to see older adults, those older than 60, making up 60 percent of the population. Carroll County is trending even older, she said, so that older adults are not only our relations and neighbors, but ultimately, us.

And there is evidence, Martin added, that suggest a positive attitude while growing older is correlated with decreased risk of early death.

"In this era of trying to cut back on medical costs, especially for this population that does use a great deal of medical dollars, there's a growing body of evidence that just by the way we are approaching and interacting with older adults can actually help to reduce hospital readmission rates," she said.

If you go

What: Third Annual McDaniel College State of Aging Conference

When: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8

Where: Decker College Center Forum, McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster

Cost: $50 for general admission, $45 for students, faculty and seniors age 60 and older. Add $15 for continuing education credits. Registration deadline is Tuesday, Aug. 1.

For more information or to register, go to 410-857-2500, send email to aging@mcdaniel.edu or visit www.mcdaniel.edu/csa and click on "community education."





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