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Age Positive Conference

2017 Age Positive Conference - April 18

The 2017 Age Positive Conference will be held on April 18, 2017, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Kauffman Conference Center. The conference will once again provide a forum for innovative program ideas for professionals and volunteers working in senior centers, community centers, libraries, park districts and other venues that offer social, cultural, physical exercise and lifelong learning programming to older adults.

The Age Positive conference will offer a great opportunity to share program developments and new ideas with other professionals and volunteers who are working to improve the lives of our region's older adults.


  • Early bird registration prior to April 7: $35 per person
  • After April 7: $50 per person
  • Limited scholarships are available - application

Luncheon Keynote speech — “Dignity”

Kathy Greenlee, J.D., Vice-President of Aging and Health Policy at the Center for Practical Bioethics, and former United States Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administration for Community Living Administrator

Track color coding:
  • PWHA = Programs Worth Hearing About
  • EBP = Evidence-Based Program
  • ML = Management and Leadership

Workshop schedule and descriptions:

9:15 to 10:15 a.m.

10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

1:15 to 2:15 p.m.

Best of the Best — North, South, East, West (PWHA)

This workshop will present a variety of the best active adult programs from across the United States. Topics include best trips, special events, classes, health and fitness, and art and culture activities for adults 50 years and older.
Presenter: Michelle Alexander, B.S., 50 Plus and Northeast Recreation Manager, Johnson County Park and Recreation District

Capturing the Energy and Expertise of Boomers (ML)

Every month, 2,200 people turn 65 in the Kansas City region; 10,000 per day in the United States. The research is clear — the vast majority of Baby Boomers will live happier, healthier lives if they are active and engaged. Through volunteerism, Boomers offer a valuable resource to non-profits to help them achieve their mission. Are nonprofits prepared and equipped to successfully engage Boomers? This workshop will help participants learn how to successfully communicate with, recruit, train and retain Boomers.
Presenter: Sandra Mellinger, B.S., CEO, Coming of Age Kansas City

Creative Aging Movement: Model Programs, Community Partnerships and Brain Health Research (PWHA)

This workshop will highlight current trends and groundbreaking research that supports the health benefits of creative aging. Attendees will develop an understanding of how creative aging programs connect to age-friendly and dementia-friendly community initiatives; gain knowledge about key developments and innovations in the field; and identify ways to access local and regional creative aging programs in museums, libraries, community centers, schools and other venues.
Presenter: Debra Campbell, M.S., Founder and Executive Director of Arts & AGEing KC

Lifelong Learning Panel — Exemplary Programs in the Kansas City region (PWHA)

Learn about exciting local programs that promote and engage older adults in lifelong learning activities.
Moderator: Kay Barnes, former mayor, Kansas City, Missouri

  • Road Scholar — Lynda Dowling, Road Scholar Ambassador
  • Senior Peers Actively Renewing Knowledge (SPARK), University of Missouri – Kansas City — Jan Parks, SPARK Marketing Chair
  • Aging Mastery Program (AMP) — Paula Zigmond, Clay County Senior Services
  • Adventures in Learning — Pamela Seymour, Shepherd’s Center Central
  • Libraries — Teresa Bolton, Kansas City Public Library

Restoring Balance, Flexibility, Muscle Mass and Physical Vitality through “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy” and “A Matter of Balance” Programs (EBP)

Research shows that loss of muscle strength, flexibility and balance are strong predictors of falls in the elderly. During this workshop, presenters will provide a rationale for strength training and falls prevention, and the reasons behind the exercises that Stay Strong, Stay Healthy and Matter of Balance programs promote. Presenters will demonstrate exercises during the workshop and encourage attendees to participate.
Presenters: Amy Vance, M.S., D.T.R., Regional Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension — Clay County, and Lydia Kaume, Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D., Assistant Extension Professor, University of Missouri Extension — Jackson County

Surviving Change (ML)

Change is inevitable. Staff are asked to do more with fewer resources, to learn new technologies and to lead organizational change. The real question is, will you survive change, succumb to it, or thrive in it? This workshop will focus on the myths and realities of change, common change errors and common reactions to change.
Presenter: Novella Perrin, Ph.D., Consultant and Speaker, and Retired Professor from the University of Central Missouri

Bridging the Gap: Managing Multiple Generations in the Workplace (ML)

Why does understanding generational age matter in the workplace? This session will highlight different life stages and generational stereotypes, and provide tips to lead a team through generational clashes and effective communication strategies.
Presenter: Kirsten Barnes, B.S., President, Five Star Recreation

Bringing Arthritis Relief to our Community: “Enhance Fitness” at the YMCA — an Evidence-Based Therapeutic Arthritis Program (EBP)

Enhance Fitness is a 16-week, evidence-based senior fitness and arthritis-management program designed to improve strength, balance and cardiovascular health. Its purpose is to help older adults become more active, energized and empowered for independent living. Participants will learn about the program components and implementation plans, pre- and post-program assessments required for participation, as well as the evidence that supports Enhance Fitness.
Presenters: Dr. Daphne Bascom, M.D., Ph.D., and Kathy Armitage, YMCA of Greater Kansas City

Community Health Worker: A Trusted Person and Advocate that Makes the Difference in Extending Support to Individuals, Families, and Communities (EBP)

Community Health Workers (CHW) are a link between the health and human service system. This workshop will describe CHWs, why they are needed, and services provided by CHWs. Attendees will learn about opportunities for CHWs in a variety of settings, cost savings to organizations and how to implement this role into existing services and programs. Through examples and evidence-based outcomes, real life stories and problem solving scenarios, participants will explore how to use a CHW in their settings.
Presenter: Barbara Wiman, B.S.N., President, B.E. Education Group, LLC

Connecting to the Land of Dementia: Surprising Ways to Incorporate Meaningful Activities (PWHA)

Experience the many benefits of using creativity and expressive arts to engage people living with dementia. Learn how to adapt peoples’ hobbies and interests to their changing abilities. Participants will learn how meaningful arts activities can increase communications, reduce anxiety and enhance a sense of purpose. This lively workshop will demonstrate how designing an inland beach, swing dancing to the shower, and creating a list of favorite songs can tap into one’s imagination and creative spirit.
Presenters: Deborah Shouse and Ron Zoglin

Elder Abuse: Creating a Community Response (ML)

This workshop will provide an overview of the signs of elder abuse, mandated reporter laws and the supports available to victims as they move through the investigative process. Attendees will learn the signs of elder abuse, their legal responsibilities to report suspected abuse, the changes in elder abuse laws, and where to turn to support an older victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Presenters: Judy Gibbs, Asst. Kansas City, Missouri, City Prosecutor; Megan Phillips, Supervisor, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Adult Protective Services; and Michelle Brown, MARC Department of Aging and Adult Services

Lifelong Kindergarten — The Joy and Wonder of Digital Literacy for Seniors (PWHA)

The best ways to teach computer skills to seniors have revealed themselves as being quite similar to the tried and true techniques for early childhood learning. Patience, creativity, repetition and reward all factor into creating sustainable mastery of digital literacy skills among older adults. In this session, participants will learn best practices in teaching computer skills to seniors and have a chance to share program ideas with a nationally recognized leader in digital inclusion.
Presenter: Tom Esselman, CEO, Connecting for Good

Working with Difficult People (ML)

Although anyone may be difficult at times, some coworkers adopt difficult behaviors in all interactions. This session helps identify difficult behaviors, why people engage in such behaviors, and how to best interact with these behavioral types.
Presenter: Novella Perrin, Ph.D., Consultant and Speaker, and Retired Professor from the University of Central Missouri

Alzheimer’s Treatment and Prevention Program: What We Know and Where We Are Headed (EBP)

This workshop will cover the essentials of Alzheimer’s diagnosis and treatment, as well as advances in early detection and prevention. The presenter will cover current evidence for lifestyle modifications likely to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Presenter: Eric Vidoni, P.T., Ph.D., University of Kansas Medical Center

Beyond Entertainment: Making Music A Meaningful Part of Healthy Aging (PWHA)

A growing body of research shows that music is a vital part of healthy aging. Although the internet offers all the music ever recorded right at our fingertips, many older adults still have difficulty accessing the music experiences that will make a positive difference in their lives. This presentation will discuss how and why music programs can contribute to healthy aging. Participants will hear about two successful community-based programs and experience music first hand.
Presenter: Rachelle Norman, M.A.-B.C., Founder, Soundscaping Source

The Cost of Caring for Others: An Evidence-based Look at the Science of Self-care for Caregivers and Professionals (ML)

Most professionals and caregivers feel overwhelmed by their job and family responsibilities, and self-care — understandably — ends up at the bottom of their list. Unfortunately, large numbers of health care providers and caregivers are falling prey to clinical anxiety and depression, often directly related to the modern work and caregiving phenomenon of being tethered to a smart phone, or choosing to care for others instead of themselves first. Participants will learn how to prevent mental health vulnerability, and how to bolster resilience and immunity, when constantly needed by others.
Presenter: Sally King, M.S.W., L.S.C.S.W., L.C.S.W., RYT 200 – Sally King Consulting

Death is Not Optional: Peace of Mind is — How “Having The Conversation” Can Make All The Difference (PWHA)

This session will highlight aspects of the end of life, why people are reluctant to talk about death, and why “having the conversation” is important for people of all ages. Provided materials will help participants begin the process of thinking through their own values and wishes — and with whom they would like to have the conversation.
Presenter: Linda D. Ward, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Center for Practical Bioethics

Improving Diabetes-Related Outcomes Where Adults Live, Work and Play (EBP)

Stanford University’s Diabetes Self-Management program is an effective diabetes education program, which can be delivered in-person or online. Studies show six- and 12-month improvements in A1c levels and other behavioral measures, supporting this community-based model as a practical, cost-effective solution to the diabetes epidemic. This presentation will share information on research studies and current efforts to create program sustainability through partnerships with healthcare payers.
Presenter: Sarah Lovegreen, M.P.H., M.C.H.E.S., National Health Director, OASIS Institute

Leading The Way for Your Team: Creating a Winning Culture for Your Department (M/L)

Whether it’s the Disney Way, the Cardinal Way, the Army Way or even how they do it at the Ritz Carlton, organizations across the country can be great examples of how to establish, embed and engage a way of thinking and execution that can make your department and programs shine. Using some of the best-known organizations in the country, this workshop will discuss how to build a culture that focuses on the things you think are most important, like safety, customer experience and guest retention.
Presenter: Kirsten Barnes, B.S., President, Five Star Recreation

Together Everyone Achieves More (ML)

This workshop is designed for people looking for ways to energize their teams and build stronger relationships on their staff. Participants will learn team-building activities to help unite a group, develop strengths and address issues. Attendees will learn how to determine what challenges teams are facing, and how to make their team a success. Attendees will participate in interactive activities to experience the fun first hand.
Presenters: Kari Baesel, M.S., and Libby Scarborough, B.S., Recreation Specialists, Johnson County Park and Recreation District