Stay healthy and happy while aging

Social Work Day 2014, which will feature the State Your Independence Conference on Aging, will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Brown Ballroom.

“Social Work Day has been going on for about 20 years now,” Tuwana Wingfield, director of MSW student services, said.

The conference is presented by Kirk Haney Fund, ISU School of Social Work, Illinois State University, Network on Aging Health and Disability, ISU Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Mennonite College of Nursing and the National Association of Social Workers.

It will include panels and discussions about staying healthy while aging, independent living and understanding and adjusting to transitions in the later stages of life, both as a caregiver and an aging individual.

“This year’s topic was selected to focus on our growing aging population and persons with disabilities to raise awareness of how services are delivered to each group with an interdisciplinary focus in the following areas: challenges and solutions to independent living, supporting independent living and enhanced quality of life, organizational strategies to prevent hospitalizations, understanding diverse needs and transitions through the continuum of care,” Wingfield said.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Martha (Marty) Sparks. Dr. Sparks has worked in the adult health arena for much of her life, as well as teaching courses on gerontology and nursing. She is an active member of Sigma Theta Tau and the National Gerontological Nursing Association, receiving the Distinguished Service Award in 2012.

Dr. Sparks will lead a discussion on diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia and the challenging behaviors that may accompany them, as well as providing caregiver approaches that prevent them or make them non-problematic.

Speakers for the other presentations were selected via call for abstract proposals.

A continental breakfast will be served from 8:30-8:50 during registration, and there will be breaks throughout the day, including a lunch break; however, lunch will not be provided.

Attendance is free, but registration is required. Those who wish to attend can register online by visiting

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