BY MAJA GAWRONSKA
The special symposium hosted by the UC San Diego Center for Healthy Aging drew four hundred researchers, staff, and members of the public.
Among the topics presented and discussed June 12 were senior living, finances, planning, and successful aging. The symposium, held in the Atkinson Hall Auditorium at the Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego, featured keynote speakers and panels with prominent experts.
“It is important to study ways to improve the quality of well-being of the growing older population. Senior housing is an important aspect of one’s happiness and overall health, and more research is needed to determine the models that really work,” said Dilip V. Jeste, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Healthy Aging and Senior Care at UC San Diego, in his talk. “This important symposium brought together a range of experts, from researchers to senior living industry leaders from all over the country to begin the discussion.”
One such expert was Joy Loverde, author of The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help. “As we age, at some point, we all approach a fork in the road,” she said. In her keynote address, “Move or Stay Put: How to Age in Place,” Loverde addressed a question that many older adults tackle as they ponder their housing arrangements.
“Make sure to do good research on aging in place versus a senior living community. There are costs related to both choices, whether you decide to move or stay put,” she said. “We tend to underestimate the costs of staying home. You are going to need to retrofit your house so it becomes age-friendly.”
What should the senior industry do for those older adults who decide to move?
“We need to focus on the health and happiness of residents and less on the real estate aspect of the business,” Margaret Wylde said in her keynote address, “Senior Living: a Vision for Tomorrow.” Wylde is president and CEO of the research and advisory firm ProMatura Group and one of the most-sought-after experts on the topic.
“Senior living should be about the community, not adding another amenity,” she said. According to a survey of nearly seven thousand seniors recently conducted by ProMatura and the American Seniors Housing Association, feeling at home is the dominant attribute that makes people say they are satisfied with their senior living arrangement.
The event was co-sponsored by Paradise Village, Belmont Village, Continuing Life, Monarch Cottage, Vi at La Jolla Village, the San Diego Foundation, West Foundation, UC San Diego Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, School of Medicine, Qualcomm Institute, Institute of Engineering in Medicine, and the Stein Institute for Research on Aging.