Grant Funds Professional Development to Promote Active Aging

active seniorsA Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) grant made to the Senior Resource Alliance (SRA) will provide funding to send about 40 local aging services professionals to the International Council on Active Aging Conference on November 13-15 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

Since the conference is usually held in other parts of the country, its Orlando appearance provides a unique opportunity for many local aging service providers to attend and take advantage of an international learning and networking opportunity.

The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) is a Canadian-based organization focused on connecting  a community of like-minded organizations and professionals who share the goals of changing society’s perceptions of aging and improving the quality of life for aging Baby Boomers and older adults within the seven dimensions of wellness (emotional, vocational, physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, environmental). The council supports these professionals with education, information, resources and tools so they can be successful.

ICAA’s annual conference includes pre- and post-conference sessions in addition to the regular multi-day conference. Tracks include balance, brain fitness, program design for wellness, research, marketing, therapy to wellness and management/leadership. This year, the conference features more than 50 new presenters focused on taking active aging to a new level.

In addition to the ICAA conference, there is a one-day symposium on September 12 solely focused on marketing to mature audiences. The concept of “Gerontographics” will be explored in a keynote address followed by presentations and panel discussions designed to educate attendees on ways to reach the age 50-plus consumer.

A rapidly aging population challenges society to design new models and approaches that address the many issues created by this growing demographic. The pace of change calls for wide-ranging, innovative solutions to encourage Baby Boomers and older generations to live well and continue contributing fully to society. To provide these solutions, professionals invested in active aging (healthy, productive living in older adults), must move beyond the status quo and engage in a new level of thinking, according to the ICAA.

“A recent gathering of representatives from organizations serving older adults in WPHF’s service area showed great enthusiasm for active aging,” noted Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director. This is evidenced by the full slate of activities scheduled for the first ever community-wide celebration of Active Aging Week set for September 21-27, 2014.  “While the commitment and passion is alive and well, lean budgets at local organizations often make professional education prohibitive.  Sadly, this occurs when the need for creative programming solutions is greatest.”

The grant will fund the registration fee for approximately 40 local professionals—representing providers of active aging programs such as local community and senior centers and YMCAs—to attend the conference, symposium or both events. In addition to quality education, the conference and symposium will provide a rich environment for learning about new products (at the trade show) and networking with peers from other parts of the country who are engaged in active aging issues. Best practices, trends and research will also be highlighted.