June 6 – Twenty-First Annual “Ministering to the Elderly” Conference

Aging: Envisioning a New Future

Keynote Speaker – Bill Thomas, M.D.
Author, entrepreneur, musician, teacher, farmer and physician whose wide-ranged work explores the terrain of human aging.

Aging: Envisioning a New Future

Recently many Baby Boomers have begun entering a new period in their lives for which they have not been prepared. Unfortunately, for at least the past generation or so, adulthood in our American culture has been obsessed with youth and staying young, including being productive in a market-driven economy that rewards outward-oriented “performance” (i.e. “doing” versus “being”). As a result, aging — a natural process of life — has become an existential challenge for older adults who struggle with expectations and roles that may no longer reflect what is reliably possible, or even desirable, physically, mentally and/or emotionally.

Some react with denial, fueling an entire industry that has been created to maintain the illusion that we can prevent aging and claim eternal youth. Others are more realistic, embracing aging but trying to thwart the inevitable process for as long as possible. Still, in both models, aging with all its uncertainties is dreaded — even a failure to be avoided – meaning that In a world dominated by market forces that link dignity to productivity, the aging process becomes highly dehumanizing.

However, there is a third option that fosters a more humane view of aging. Although illness and decline are part of every physical life cycle, aging may also bring deepened understandings of the self, new interests, and a general realignment of values and priorities, often including spiritual perspectives. Many religious traditions affirm the importance and meaning of this stage of life, along with its store of wisdom, but secular contemporary culture has given scant attention to those teachings.

How can we who are actively engaged with the elderly frame this period more effectively for not only those we serve, but for society as a whole? What are the life passages that occur as we grow older, and how do various cultures mark these transitions? How can families, caregivers, medical professionals, and entire communities, help elders feel their lives have dignity, value and meaning at all stages?

In his medical practice that has focused on treating older adults, physician Dr. Bill Thomas came to understand that their later years offer the promise of “a slower, deeper, and more connected life.” While quality medical care is significant, our culture needs to look at the values that shape the environments in which aging takes place. To this end, Dr. Thomas revolutionized elder care through the creation of the Eden Alternative Long-Term Care Facilities in Ithaca, New York, and was one of the founders of the Green House movement, an alternative living arrangement for older adults which encourages community. He has now taken his passion on the road in his “Age of Disruption” program that challenges people to think about society’s values, and how we can together combat unhealthful obsession with youth which dehumanizes some and inhibits building inclusive communities that celebrate all ages.

As our guest speaker for the conference, Dr. Thomas will draw upon his decades of research and invite us to consider how we might apply his insights to our own local settings and clinical practice

Miami Jewish Health Systems
5200 NE 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33137

Monday, June 6, 2016
8:00am – 1:30pm

$36 Per Person

Includes CE credit, continental breakfast and lunch.

MJHS maintains a traditional kosher kitchen but is not under an external kosher supervision agency. Please call 786.866.8621 if you request a kosher certified meal (KM Hashgacha) or if you have a special dietary request.

Click here to register.

Lead Agencies

Our partners include the following lead agencies: AARP Florida, Alliance for Aging, Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, Health Foundation of South Florida, Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization, United Way of Miami-Dade, and Urban Health Partnerships.

Copyright © Miami-Dade Age-Friendly Initiative.