Photo: Previous Seniors Blue Book Symposium

Aging in the Right Place: Events can help you prepare for the future

Posted on January 27, 2020 by Michael Moore Jr., Herald-Tribune Media Group

The “Planning for Aging Symposium,” held at Venice Community Center on Jan. 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will have several panel discussions as well as over 50 exhibit tables.

Planning ahead is an essential ingredient when it comes to aging successfully. That’s why it is essential to take advantage of resources within the community that can help guide your planning.

Sarasota and the surrounding areas have access to many tools and resources that can help prepare you for your aging journey — things like the “Planning for Aging Symposium” on Jan. 29 at the Venice Community Center. The free seminar, which is presented by Seniors Blue Book, will have a variety of panel discussions about different topics surrounding aging, as well as more than 50 exhibit tables sharing information.

It may be the perfect starting point for those looking to find more information but don’t know where to begin.

“I always recommend the symposium because it’s honestly an all-in-one event where all the resources are there in one setting,” said Sandra Jensen, chief operations officer for Seniors Blue Book in the area. “We cover every single topic that you can think of, from your health and wellness options to different preplanning stuff, such as elder law, finances, and more. Every topic is covered one at a time and in one sitting. You just have to devote a couple hours of your day to get an excellent snapshot of everything, which is a lot easier than having to go out and find each one of those resources on your own individually.”

On top of regularly putting out a comprehensive publication that serves as a guide for older adults in the area — a guide that Don Fitts, president of Cornerstone LifeCare and spokesperson for retirement residence Alderman Oaks in Sarasota, once said: “just might be the best resource around for those who are aging within our community” — Seniors Blue Book holds frequent events all over called SBB University, which consist of similar panel discussions aimed at educating older adults and connecting them with helpful resources.

The symposium is basically like a bunch of SBB University events combined, only bigger, said Jensen. It takes a variety of discussions, many vendors, and resources, and puts them in one setting, giving those in attendance a sea of information at their disposal.

“You don’t know what you don’t know, and even though you might think you have it all figured out, we always have people attending these things that tell us they learned things when they attended that they had no idea about,” said Jensen.

In addition to a variety of question-and-answer settings and opportunities to speak individually with experts at exhibit tables, there will also be more than 50 door prizes, as well as a raffle.

The “Planning for Aging Symposium” is one of two symposiums this year. A few weeks later, on Feb. 11 at the Circus Arts Conservatory, is the “3rd Annual Senior Living Symposium,” which will feature panels such as Aging in Place — Services in Your Home, Preparing For Your Move, Planning For End of Life Services & Care, CCRC/Independent Living, Assisted Living/ Memory Care and Innovations in Health.

Jensen said that the Venice symposium has more of a rounded focus. In contrast, the 3rd annual Sarasota/Manatee symposium will have more of a concentration on the planning stages — so depending on your interest or your location, both could be great opportunities to grab some valuable information in regards to aging.

“There are constantly new resources, and we stay up to date with all that information. That’s why we hold these things. We do it to share those excellent resources with the community and let people know what’s out there,” said Jensen.

The “Planning for Aging Symposium” will be held at the Venice Community Center on Jan. 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., while the “3rd Annual Senior Living Symposium” will be at the Circus Arts Conservatory on Feb. 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both events are free and will feature a complimentary continental breakfast and lunch. But so they know how much food to provide, RSVP is required by calling 941-220-5098.

This story comes from Aspirations Journalism, an initiative of The Patterson Foundation and Sarasota Herald-Tribune to inform, inspire, and engage the community to take action on issues related to Age-Friendly Sarasota, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, National Council on Aging and the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition.

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