The conference looked at ways to cultivate healthy aging. Topics ranged from eating foods that suit your genetic make-up, to creating online communities that are more senior-friendly than Facebook. One session was on designing age-friendly living spaces. Think fashionable grab bars: the stainless steel bars that help you get up from the toilet or bath tub, but in sleek designs or bright colors.
That topic was particularly relevant to attendee Gladys Guenther. She's president of the Sisters of the Holy Family in Fremont and wants to create a living space that will suit her aging nuns.
“We did a poll and talked about aging and what some of their expectations were,” Guenther said. “And by and large the concept of the care was ‘we want to die at home’.”
Guenther was one of more than two hundred doctors, dieticians, social workers and senior housing advocates who gathered at San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus for the day-long conference by On Lok. The program is a pioneer in the area of coordinated, all-inclusive elder care.
“This conference is geared toward prevention,” On Lok's CEO Bob Edmonson said. “Before people are frail, what do we need to think about?”
Edmondson said the benefits of addressing that question go further than ensuring a long-term quality of life.
“It saves society money -- let's do that.”