Aging Well Summit


TED: A SUMMIT ON HEALTHY AGEING IS SET FOR NEXT WEEK HERE IN THE VALLEY. THE EVENT LOOKS TO TRAIN AND EDUCATE CARE GIVERS AND THE PUBLIC ON HOW TO HELP SENIORS AGE WELL. JOINING US NOW IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE AREA AGENCY ON AGING MARY BEALS LUEDTKA AND MARY LYNN KASUNIC, THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE AREA AGENCY ON AGING REGION ONE. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE.

GUESTS: THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

TED: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. DEFINE HEALTHY AGING.

LUEDTKA: WELL I THINK LET'S START WITH HEALTHY LIVING. I THINK HEALTHY AGING IS THE SAME THING. IT'S ABOUT HEALTHY LIVING. IT’S ABOUT LEARNING ABOUT TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF, ABOUT EATING WELL, ABOUT EXERCISING, MIND, BODY, SOUL.

TED: AND WE'RE LEARNING MORE ABOUT THAT ALL THE TIME.

LUEDTKA: THE TIME. SO THIS CONFERENCE IS ALSO GOING TO TALK ABOUT HEALTHY COMMUNITIES, BECAUSE WE NEED TO LOOK AT BEING HEALTHY AS COMMUNITIES AS A WHOLE, SO IT'S REALLY LOOKING AT IT VERY BROADLY.

TED: I WAS NOTICING -- I MEAN, FOOD, COMMUNITY DESIGN, DRIVERLESS VEHICLES -- THAT'S A COMMUNITY, ISN'T IT?

KASUNIC: YES. AND ESPECIALLY -- WELL, AS YOU KNOW, AS PEOPLE ARE GETTING OLDER, THEY ARE NOT FRAIL, AND WE SHOULDN'T BE FOCUSING JUST ON DISEASES, BUT HOW DO THEY BUILD A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY AROUND THERE. THEIR NEIGHBORS COME AND CHECK UP ON THEM. THEIR NEIGHBORS SAY HEY I'M GOING TO DO THE STORE, DO YOU NEED SOMETHING? SO HAVE THAT HEALTHY COMMUNITY AND THEN ALSO KEEPING THE OLDER ADULT ACTIVE SO THEY CAN STILL WALK, TRY TO PREVENT FALLS BECAUSE THAT HAS BAD CONSEQUENCES, SO WE'RE LOOKING AT A LOT OF DIFFERENT ISSUES.

TED: WELL, LOOKING AT SOME OF THE TOPICS, I NOTICED CULTURAL DIVERSITY. ADDRESS THAT, AS FAR AS AGING.

LUEDTKA: WELL, AS WE'RE GOING INTO THIS NEXT MILLENIAL, WE ARE -- OUR AGING POPULATION HAS CHANGED. IT USED TO BE WHEN I FIRST MOVED TO PRESCOTT THAT WE WERE PROBABLY 95% CAUCASIAN. AND NOW WE HAVE A VERY ROBUST HISPANIC POPULATION, WE HAVE A LOT MORE AFRICAN AMERICANS. WE HAVE AN LBGT POPULATION. AND WE NEED TO KNOW AND MAKE SURE THAT THE AGING PROFESSIONALS ARE MAKING SURE THAT THEIR SERVICES ARE FOR ALL OF THOSE POPULATIONS, AND THAT THEY ARE INCLUSIVE.

TED: THAT'S INTERESTING. YOU DON’T THINK ABOUT THAT DO YOU,PEOPLE GETTING OLDER? THEY ARE STILL OF A CERTAIN ETHNICITY, CERTAIN BACKGROUND, CERTAIN LIFE.

KASUNIC: AND WE’RE EXCITED. WE'RE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT TWO NEW TOPICS AT THIS CONFERENCE THAT WE HAVEN'T TALKED BEFORE IS LOOKING AT THE HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS. THERE ARE ABOUT A HUNDRED OF THEM STILL LEFT HERE IN PHOENIX. SO WE’RE GOING TO START A NEW PILOT PROJECT TO WORK WITH THE HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS. AND WE'RE ALSO GOING TO BE TALKING-HAVE A SESSION- ON THE IMPACT OF INTERNMENT ON THE JAPANESE WHO WERE INTERNED NEAR YUMA. ALSO LOOKING AT REFUGEES, ELDER REFUGEES, AND THEIR NEEDS AND SO FORTH. SO WE HAVE A LOT OF REALLY EXCITING TOPICS.

TED: I NOTICED THAT ELDER JUSTICE IS ALSO A TOPIC HERE. GUARDIAN, GUARDIANSHIP PRACTICES. THAT'S BIG.

LUEDTKA: IT IS A VERY BIG ISSUE. AND LUCKILY HERE IN ARIZONA WE HAVE PARTIAL GUARDIANSHIPS, SO THAT IF SOMONE NEEDS A LITTLE HELP LEGALLY, YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE AWAY ALL THEIR RIGHTS. BUT TEACHING PROFESSIONALS ON WHAT THEIR RIGHTS ARE, AND HOW GUARDIANSHIPS CAN HELP OR HINDER OUR AGING POPULATION.

KASUNIC: AND THER’ES ANOTHER EXCITING TOPIC, THE FIRST TIME WE HAVE DISCUSSED ALSO, IS PROTECTING OLDER ADULTS IN THE DATING SCENE. IF YOU ARE SUDDENLY WIDOWED IN YOUR 50S AND 60S, THESE INDIVIDUALS DON'T KNOW HOW TO SAFELY USE A WEBSITE, YOU KNOW? YOU DON'T HAVE THE GUY COME TO YOUR HOUSE THE FIRST TIME. ALL OF THOSE THINGS THAT WERE SO DIFFERENT WHEN WE WERE YOUNG KIDS, THAT WHOLE DATING SCENE, SO HOW TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM BEING VICTIMS OF EITHER SEXUAL ABUSE, OR FINANCIAL -- YOU KNOW, ABUSE FROM -- FROM THIS POTENTIAL DATE.

TED: AND ELDER -- WE HAVE DONE STORIES ON ELDER ABUSE. THAT IS STILL A BIG ISSUE.

LUEDTKA: IT'S A HUGE ISSUE, AND IT CONTINUES TO GROW. SO THE MORE LIGHT WE PUT ON IT, THE BETTER.

TED: AND IT SOUNDS AS THOUGH ALL OF THESE TOPICS AGAIN WILL BE ADDRESSED AT THE CONFERENCE. IT SOUNDS LIKE -- A BIGGY, I WOULD THINK WOULD BE, CONNECTING SOMEONE TO A PURPOSE LATER IN LIFE.

LUEDTKA: THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT. BECAUSE IF WE DON'T HAVE A PURPOSE, YOU DON'T HAVE A REASON TO GET UP EVERY DAY. THERE’S ALSO SOMETHING THAT GOES ALONG WITH THAT, AND THAT’S SOCIAL ISOLATION. AND REALLY THE STATISTICS SHOW NOW- THEY HAVE ALL THE DATA THAT SHOWS- SOCIAL ISOLATION IS WORSE THAN SMOKING 15 CIGARETTES A DAY. IT'S WORSE THAN BEING OBESE. SO THAT SOCIAL ISOLATION AND NOT GETTING OUT AND BEING PART OF COMMUNITY IS TERRIBLE ON YOUR HEALTH.

TED: AND THESE ARE THINGS WE'RE LEARNING ALL THE TIME.

LUEDTKA: YES.

KASUNIC: YES.

KASUNIC: AND TRYING TO -- NOT ONLY JUST LIVE LONGER, BUT BE HEALTHY UNTIL -- YOU KNOW, AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. YOU DON'T WANT TO JUST BE 90, BUT YOU WANT TO BE REALLY HEALTHY AND VIBRANT IN YOUR 70S AND 80S, AND SO THAT'S -- YOU KNOW, A REAL FOCUS ON THIS.

LUEDTKA: AND 90S AND BEYOND. MOST OF THE BABIES THAT ARE BORN TODAY ARE GOING TO LIVE TO BE IN THEIR HUNDREDS.

TED: I WAS GOING TO ASK ABOUT THAT. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT HEALTHY AGING, WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE GETTING TO THEIR 70S AND 80S ANYMORE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT 90S, OVER 100.

LUEDTKA: YES, WE ARE, AND HOW IS THAT GOING TO CHANGE US SOCIALLY, AND THINKING ABOUT HOW ARE WE GOING TO KEEP THAT PURPOSE? DO YOU WANT ANOTHER CAREER? DO YOU WANT TO KEEP THAT CAREER? AND WE OFFER A LOT OF VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AS WELL -- IF PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO WORK FOR MONEY, THEY COULD ALSO GIVE THEIR MOST PRECIOUS COMMODITY AND THAT'S TIME.

TED: WHEN IS THE SUMMIT AGAIN?

KASUNIC: IT STARTS NEXT THURSDAY THE 20TH, AND GOES THROUGH THE 21ST ON FRIDAY.

TED: AND PEOPLE LISTENING NOW, I WANT MORE INFORMATION, WHERE DO THEY GO?

KASUNIC: THEY COULD GO TO AGING SUMMIT --

LUEDTKA: THEY ALSO COULD CALL TOLL FREE AT 877-521-3500 AND ASK ABOUT IT. AND THEY COULD GO ONLINE, AGING SUMMIT 2018.

TED: AGING SUMMIT 2018 SHOULD DO IT?

LUEDTKA: YES.

TED: AND THE ARIZONA ASSOCIATION OF AREA AGENCIES -- THAT'S A BIG TITLE. REAL QUICKLY: WHAT IS IT?

KASUNIC: THERE ARE SEVEN AREA AGENCIES IN ARIZONA, SO WE HAVE FORMED AN ASSOCIATION, SO EVERY TWO YEARS WE'RE DOING AN AGING SUMMIT, SO WE'RE GEOGRAPHICALLY LOCATED -- AND WE WORK TOGETHER IN TRYING TO PROMOTE HEALTHY AGING IN ARIZONA.

TED: IT SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT DEAL, A VERY INTERESTING CONFERENCE. THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING HERE.

BOTH: THANK YOU.

An Aging Well Summit will be held September 20 and 21 for aging network professionals and those interested in learning about healthy aging. The summit is hosted by the Arizona Association of Area Agencies at the Mesa Sheraton. Those attending will gain insight and knowledge about a variety of topics that impact older adults. We hear more from Mary Beals Luedtka, the director of the Area Agency on Aging, and Mary Lynn Kasunic, president and CEO of the Area Agency on Aging for region one.

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In this segment:

Mary Beals Luedtka, the director of the Area Agency on Aging and Mary Lynn Kasunic, president and CEO of the Area Agency on Aging, Region One.

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