It has been three years since we last connected in person at an ASA conference. And while I can’t wait to meet and reunite with many of you, I’m particularly excited at the thoughtful focus of On Aging 2022. If you’ve ever attended an ASA conference, you know that there are so many sessions and workshops and posters as to be a tiny bit overwhelming. And it’s partially true, as this year we have 320 60-minute sessions, 98 posters, 38 90-minute workshops, 18 Roundtables, 8 peer groups, 5 films and 4 keynotes. However, it’s easy enough to filter through sessions by topic to choose those of most interest to you.
In this post, I’m recommending my personally curated top 5 must-attend sessions at ASA’s On Aging 2022.
- Don’t Miss All the General Sessions: I know I’m cheating here, as there are 4, but really, you’d be remiss if you didn’t attend every single General Session. First, I’ll catch everyone up on the State of ASA. Then we’ll hear what should be a provocative and illuminating conversation with Raymond Jetson in which Jetson, who is president and CEO of MetroMorphosis (which focuses on systemic change at the community level), will reflect on how we define economic security and the power of community in lifting each of us up. Mon., April 11, 4–5:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, Edward Jones’ Lamell McMorris will lay out the current retirement landscape in the U.S. and advocate for two bills that could go a long way to strengthen our retirement savings system and help millions of Americans achieve a secure and dignified retirement. McMorris will then sit down with Wendi Burkhardt, co-founder of Silvernest, and Elizabeth White, author and entrepreneur, to address economic security for women and the racial wealth gap. Tues., April 12, 9–10 a.m.
Wednesday’s General Session will be really fun for me as I get to hand out the ASA Awards to all of the stellar winners, and then we’ll hear from Honor Technology’s CEO Seth Sternberg, who is aiming to do nothing short of blowing up the current way we care for older adults, via networking and technology. Wed., April 13, 9:30–10:30 a.m.
Perhaps the title of the “most critical to our daily lives” General Session goes to the final one, on Thursday, in which we hear a rousing call to action from both Ai-jen Poo, who runs the National Domestic Workers Alliance and has many insights and no small amount of passion about improving the lives of the workforce that makes the rest of our lives possible, as well as from renowned environmental writer and long-time activist Bill McKibben, who will urge all older adults, and others, to immediately get involved in the fight to save our planet. Thurs., April 14, 10–11:00 a.m.
- Panel of Pundits: Really, this event always proves to be one of the most memorable sessions at On Aging. This year’s panel of Ramsey Alwin (NCOA), Paula Basta (Illinois Department on Aging), Josie Kalipeni (Family Values at Work) and Joel White (Horizon Government Affairs), will take questions from the inimitable Bob Blancato, answering them rapid fire–style and never holding back on what they really think. Wed., April 13, 4:30–6 p.m.
- Eager to learn what real older adults really think about the work we do? “Real Talk from Those We Serve,” with speaker Kelly O’Connor, founder of Calhoun Legacy, features a panel of older adults unveiling what they know about aging in America. Definitely check out this session, to help growing in the great work you do. Tues. April 12, 10:30–noon.
- Hear from a renowned researcher on LGBTQ+ issues Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen and other LGBTQ+ researchers on the first federally funded clinical trial to test an intervention for LGBTQ+ older adults with dementia and their caregivers. They do groundbreaking work that is held up as the gold standard for years, it’s well worth a listen. Wed., April 13, 10:30–noon.
- Finally, do not miss the 60-minute session on Advancing Economic Security, with Denny Chan from Justice in Aging, Karyne Jones from the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging and Alex Camardelle from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies as they examine economic security for older adults of color and the state of economic security for older black workers. It’s the topic for our time, and you should attend. Wed., April 13, from 3–4.