United Church Homes to Host Symposium on Aging Oct. 20 in Columbus


Experts in psychology, longevity and geriatrics will discuss Aging in the 21st Century at the 2017 Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging second annual Symposium from 9:30 to 3 p.m. Oct. 20 in Columbus.

Registration is $25 and is available at https://rpcaa2017symposium.eventbrite.com. The registration fee covers the cost of lunch and four CEU’s for qualified professionals.

The Symposium is meant to transform the way people think about aging and older adults, said the Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, executive director of the Ruth Frost Parker Center, who added there are more adults aged 65 and older today than there have been in the history of “human kind.”

“Adults aged 65 and older are living longer, healthier and happier lives and we want to educate the public about their experiences, the choices they make as they age, the challenges they face and the impact longevity has on their lives,” Long-Higgins said.

The keynote speaker at the event to be held at the Marriott Columbus University Area will be Dr. Laura Carstensen, a longevity and aging expert, who also is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and the founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity in Stanford, Calif.

Carstensen debunks myths and misconceptions about aging, like the ideas that growing older is associated with loneliness and unhappiness, and that only the genetically blessed live well and long, according to her website.

She said longer life is the byproduct of better living conditions, but more must be done to meet the needs of older adults and young people alike. In addition, she said studies have shown there are psychological or emotional benefits to growing older, despite losses in some areas.

“When time is perceived as constrained, as it typically becomes as we grow older, people are motivated to focus on what is most important. They are more likely to invest in sure things, deeper, existing relationships and savor life,” Carstensen said. “Under these circumstances, people are less interested in banking information for a long and nebulous future and instead invest in pursuits that are emotionally meaningful.”

Carstensen will be joined at the Symposium by panelists: Linda Mauger of Optimized Healthcare Network; Jo Dee Davis, founder of Healing Broken Circles; the Rev. Mark Frey, retired pastor of The Bath Church, United Church of Christ in Akron, Ohio; Larke Rechhie, CEO of the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (o4a) and Direction Home LLC; Pete Van Runkle, executive director of the Ohio Health Care Association; and Dr. Lauren Southerland, an assistant professor, medical director and investigator at the Wexner Medical Center Department of Emergency at The Ohio State University.

The center is named after Ruth Frost Parker, whose philanthropy helped to create the senior living residence of Parkvue Community in Sandusky, Ohio. Nearly 200 people joined UCH during the first event held in Columbus last year when former journalist Joan Lunden spoke about the changing landscape of aging.

The Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO of United Church Homes, said he is excited about the upcoming event. He said he expects the topics discussed during the Symposium to change the way the participants view older adults and life after age 65.

“It’s time we change the way we think and talk about aging. I think people will leave the Ruth Parker Center Symposium thinking about the benefits of longevity and the opportunities and growth that will occur as we age,” he said.

For further information about the Ruth Frost Parker Center, please refer to abundantaging.org. Registration is available at https://rpcaa2017symposium.eventbrite.com. The $25 registration fee covers the cost of lunch and four CEU’s for qualified professionals.


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