Hello KIRC family!
I’m dropping into your mailbox this week from New Orleans, Louisiana, where Keeping it REAL Caregiving is on assignment at the American Society on Aging 2022 conference!
It is my honor to be here, working for you to gather nuggets of information from experts from the field of aging.
As mentioned previously, I am joining a select group of professionals from all over the country who have been chosen as ASA Rise Fellows.
It is a new program focused on diversity, equity and inclusion with the goal of arming us with the necessary tools to march into the future as leaders in the aging field.
For the past 11 weeks, the ASA Rise Fellows have been meeting virtually for online classes. This week, we’re all meeting for the first time in person.
I can tell you - it is an impressive group! In the coming days/weeks, I’ll be sharing more about their respective programs and services, and how they are helping their communities.
To give you an idea of the breadth and depth of their work, ASA Rise Fellows represent the following fields:
Leaders of Area Agencies on Aging
Experts in government lobbying for health care
Long term care for elders
Specialists in Medicare
Caregiver specialists - and more!
Seriously - this group is IMPRESSIVE.
Here are a few highlights I would like to share from the conference:
Keynote address speakers are expected to offer powerful and impactful words. Our opening speaker delivered.
Mr. Raymond A. Jetson is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a well-known and distinguished community leader, former Louisiana state representative and vocal advocate for equity. You may have heard of him.
He is the mastermind behind a creative community initiative that helped link barbers and hair stylists to health training, to then advocate for blood pressure checks for their clients.
His work is centered on uplifting communities; work which often intersects the aging field.
His keynote focused on economic security - or rather, the very real LACK of economic security for large segments of the population.
In a nutshell, he contends our federal government does not truly have the best interests of citizens at heart when it comes to crafting policy, and determining who and which communities receive funding.
He painted a rather grave picture of how many American households do not have sufficient funds to take them through the end of their lives.
He encouraged everyone - regardless of background - to get involved at the local level in order to impact change, to educate ourselves, decide which issues are impacting our areas, then start or join a platform and get to work!
For family caregivers who feel as if they are completely alone in their journey, I can tell you - you are NOT!
There are thousands of people all over the country who are devoting their skills and expertise working to make things better. Many of them are here at this conference. It gives me hope to see the dedication to the cause.
KIRC had the opportunity to meet two young women who are using social media (again…a familiar tool) to reach people - one to educate about dementia while the other raises awareness about ageism.
Okay, that's all for now - look for more coming up from the American Society on Aging New Orleans conference.
Here's what on tap in the coming days:
A one-on-one chat with a UCLA Alzheimer's Disease researcher (and ASA Rise Fellow)
Details on a nationwide program to create community 'villages' tackling senior isolation and mutual support
A look at how one Louisiana woman (and family caregiver) is devoting her energies to uplifting her community
Initiatives taking place within the aging field to increase diversity within the workforce, to better serve clients
Folks, it is a busy week with plenty of information to share. That's all for now - time to get back at it! Until next time~