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Aging With Energy: Conference Highlights Secrets to Active Senior Years

Simmons College Conference April 16 to Address Ageism and Healthy Ways to Combat it

BOSTON (March 17, 2004) — From running races to braving river rapids, a rapidly increasing number of today's "new elderly" are proving that growing old doesn't have to mean life on the sidelines.

Some of these seniors will share their secrets to longevity and enjoying the aging process Friday, April 16 at Simmons College conference, "Building a Healthy Journey: Aging with Energy," sponsored by the Simmons School of Health Sciences.

A 79-year-old marathon runner, a 63-year-old downhill slalom skier, and a 66-year-old triathlon winner are among panelists who will exemplify healthy aging at the Simmons conference. The conference is from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Simmons College Main College Building, third floor conference center, 300 The Fenway.

The 9:30 a.m. panel will feature older Simmons alumnae who are active and athletic, and their thoughts on how they have been successful in maintaining a healthy and energetic life.

The Simmons conference also features a series of workshops with aging experts, nutritionists, nursing instructors, and social workers, who will advise the elderly and those who work with them how to maintain a healthy mind and body during the aging process.

Keynote speaker Margaret Morganroth Gullette, a pioneer in age studies in the humanities and author of the newly released book Aged by Culture and Declining to Decline: Cultural Combat and the Politics of the Midlife, will speak at 8:45 a.m. on today's largely negative cultural view on aging. Gullette says that age should not be the "difference that makes the difference." The problem, she says, is that younger people, fueled by media images, are becoming more and more afraid of getting older, many of them frantically searching for gray hairs in their early 30s.

Gullette, who will exhort people not to be "aged by culture," argues that getting older shouldn't be viewed as a decline towards death, but as an opportunity for further growth. Older Americans should be respected and honored for their long experience and knowledge, she said, adding that we must "reclaim ourselves so we can age with authority."

There will be conference breakout sessions from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on topics that include sexuality and aging, spirituality and aging, what seniors need to know about community services, recommendations for the best health screenings for those over 50, how to use nutrition and physical therapy to help maintain an active lifestyle, and a special session for Caribbean and Latino elders.

For more information about the conference or to register go to http://www.simmons.edu/shs/about/conferences/ or contact Sandra Northrup at 617-521-2653 or at Sandra.Northrup@simmons.edu. Conference fee is $75 for those who are not Simmons College graduates, and $50 for Simmons graduates.

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