At the 21st International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) World Congress in San Francisco, the floor was filled with innovators in aging, including an entire global community of aging scholars. Most of the posters introduced research on the fundamental biological processes of aging. Sarah, a graduate student at Standford University presented a poster titled, “How and when is Older Age Associated with Emotional Well-being?” She noted how a constrained context, such as having a severe illness, interfered with social goals such as being able to spend time with whom they want, in ways they want. I learned the importance of shifting the aging experience towards the needs and desires of older people, not molding their experience to our set priorities. With this new mindset, I have started to recognize that our society-at-large is very much impatient with the elderly. While I do not see a clear answer to what we can do to deal with the despair, depression, and economic costs on families, this conference has made me more optimistic and hopeful that, with a clear vision and innovative thinking, we can make a significant impact in our communities and across the globe.
-Hana Chung, ’17
I attended the 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics at San Francisco, California on behalf of KILN with Dr. Carina Katigbak. This year there were over 6,000 scholars, practitioners, educators and students from across the world participating in the conference with the theme, “Global Aging and Health: Bridging Science, Policy and Practice”. Performances and presentations were centered on and about age with performers 60 years and over. Through participation in the arts one performer age 92 noted, “I was able to find meaning and friendship through singing.” Through their active lifestyles, many elderly are able to find joy and purpose in life, defying society’s perception of ageism. “Trajectories of care for LGBT Aging Populations”, the presentation sought to examine older LGBT adults’ experiences and perceptions of care towards the end of life. Without their needs being addressed, the overall health of the elderly LGBT population will significantly decline. I had the honor of presenting a poster with Dr. Carina Katigbak on “Chinese immigrants’ views on exercise and using technology to enhance physical activity” amongst other outstanding research studies.
I had an opportunity to network with renowned leaders in the nursing field such as Dr. Barbara Resnick, President of the Gerontological Society of America, Dr. Ann M. Kolanowski , Dr. Marie Boltz and Dr. Yu-Ping Chang. I always had a passion for gerontology and attending the IAGG World Congress has expanded my understanding and appreciation in the geriatrics field.
-Helen Au, ’18