Day 1: Hello Snowy Chicago!
SAGE staffers at the American Society on Aging’s 2015 Aging in America Conference will be reporting back to us all week with their views on the conference, panels they are participating in, innovative strides in the field of aging, ideas they are taking back to work and more! Check back daily for their insights.
Woke up this morning to a very blustery, wintery, snowy day in Chicago. I was fortunate because I arrived yesterday, but almost everyone coming in today was having problems and delays, and some people are not able to get here until tomorrow, including Kathi Boyle from SAGE of Western Pennsylvania, whom Serena Worthington and I are presenting with on Wednesday. One of the presenters coming in from DC for the session I just attended came in the middle because he couldn’t get here sooner. The session was called “Aging in Community with Pets: Insights, Innovations and Advance Planning.”
The problem of pets and helping people take care of them is a problem we have come across many times amongst our clients at SAGE, particularly when someone has to go into a hospital or move out of their apartment and into a facility. Sometimes people refuse medical help because they don’t want to leave their pets or they spend the little money they have on their pet needs and neglect their own needs to nutrition and medical care.
I heard about several innovative programs in this session, including Meals on Wheels delivering pet food along with meals so people don’t feed their animals the food meant for them, and an Adult Protective Services Program (APS) in Texas getting a grant to help them help the pets of the people they work with, like boarding, grooming and vet bills. There were also suggestions for what to do during an emergency and specific caregiving and life care planning for people with pets. We will look into the possibility of maybe replicating some similar programs for our clients at SAGE.
This is what Chicago looked like this morning.
I arrived in Chicago early last night for the American Society on Aging Board Meeting. It’s been an honor to serve on the ASA Board with amazing colleagues – including Yanira Cruz of the National Hispanic Council on Aging and Karyne Jones of the National Caucus & Center on Black Aged –since 2012. As ASA prepares to launch a new Strategic Plan, it’s exciting to see all of the great opportunities for advancing our collective work to strengthen the quality of life for older adults across the U.S. As the next step in that direction, Aging in America 2015 is going to be a dynamic few days! We’re not going to let the (unpredicted) snowstorm here in Chicago get in our way!