News

As we look back on 2019, we are proud of our activities and accomplishments, a few of which are highlighted below. We are extremely grateful to you, our AustinUP community, as well as our sponsors and business members. Without YOU, none of this would be possible. Thank you and onward to 2020!

Decibel round table on agingKLRU / Decibel Focus on Aging in Central Texas
Decibel, KLRU’s news and public affairs initiative led by esteemed TV journalist Judy Maggio, covers a wide variety of stories that matter to Austinites. For the month of February, Judy and the Decibel team focused on Aging in Central Texas, for which they produced a series of aging-related stories and specials. AustinUP contributed on- and off-screen statistics and information.

Age-friendly Austin Media Briefing
Age-friendly Austin press briefingIn March, we held a press briefing at City Hall to share news about Austin’s age-friendly initiatives. Hosted by AustinUP, AARP Texas and Austin’s Commission on Seniors, it was well attended and well received. CM Ann Kitchen introduced Tabitha Taylor, the City’s new program coordinator for the Age-friendly Austin Action Plan. Mayor Steve Adler spoke, too, commenting that Austin has a role to play in the “longevity marketplace.” The event led to media stories like this one, and later this one, which helped spread the word about our age-friendly goals. (Photo credit: Jessica Alexander)

Chip Conley at SXSW

Aging, Longevity and SXSW
One of our favorite presentations at SXSW this year was, The Digital Economy Isn’t Just for the YoungChip Conley, author of Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder and mentor to Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO and founder, offered words of workplace wisdom to a packed, multigen audience. He noted, “With a variety of generations in the workplace, it’s time to perfect the ability to work together.” He stressed the importance of cross-generational “mutual mentorship,” age-diversity in the workplace, lifelong learning and maintaining our sense of curiosity as we age. Read our article about other SXSW aging-related presentations.

Livability for Longevity Symposium 2019
With more than 150 attendees at the Livability for Longevity Symposium on April 3, the Bass Lecture Hall at the LBJ School of Public Affairs was close to capacity. The symposium was only a half-day event, but it was packed with good insight and information from Council Member Alison Alter (District 10), LBJ School researchers, a panel of service professionals, Livability for Longevity Symposium 2019Jesús Garza, former CEO of Seton Healthcare, and more. What made the event truly impactful was input from the audience (which included Luci Baines Johnson). To learn more about the 2019 Livability for Longevity Symposium, we invite you to read our recap article, which includes links and photos. (Photo credit: Callie Richmond)

Age-friendly Businesses
In June, AustinUP invited business owners and business leaders to attend an Age-friendly Business Happy Hour to learn about the age-friendly progress and momentum happening in our community. AustinUP business happy hourHosted by The Village at the Triangle, this event also served as a silent auction fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Texas. Also in June, we hosted a focus group of business leaders to gather feedback about the feasibility and value of creating an “age-friendly business” designation.

Population Health Summit / Healthy Aging
Health Tech Austin eventAustinUP executive director Teresa Sansone Ferguson participated in the Population Health Summit, presented in August by Health Tech Austin. She was part of the Healthy Aging workgroup, which also included Chris Dauw, Chief Executive Officer, Compassware; Valarie Fleming, PhD, Chair, Department of Communication Disorders, Texas State University; Delia Jervier, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association/Capital of Texas Chapter; and Marcia Ory, PhD, Founding Director, Center for Population Health & Aging, Texas A&M School of Public Health. The group explored challenges to healthy aging, including gaps in connecting people to services, lack of care providers for the growing older adult population and the need to redefine aging and view older people as a resource, not a drain.

ATX Aging & Innovation Summit 2019
Our 2019 ATX Aging & Innovation Summit held in October was our third and largest Summit. It was aSummit 2019 photo gathering of 180+ people who were there to learn about aging-related innovation in Austin with a spotlight on equity, diversity and intergenerational community engagement. Here’s an overview of the event. (Photo credit: Deborah Reinhard)

New LGBTQ Senior Center
LGBTQ senior center grand openingOn October 28th, we celebrated the grand opening of the LGBTQ Senior Center at Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Austin. It’s sponsored by Meals on Wheels Central Texas (MOWCTX) with help from a federal grant administered by the Area Agency on Aging (AAA). The free program, which is the first of its kind in the region, provides a nutritious lunch, fun activities, a welcoming sense of community for the LGBTQ population and its allies, and is open to individuals who are 60+ years of age and their spouses/partners. The group of regular attendees, which calls itself the Golden Generation Social Scene, gathers from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. The program is not affiliated with the church and non-members are welcome to attend.

50+ Job Fairs
In November, AustinUP hosted its first 50+ job fair in Williamson County at Soléa Cedar Park. This event was in addition to our 50+ job fairs held earlier in the year at the Travis County Community Center in Oak Hill, the Brodie Homestead in Sunset Valley, and at the Jewish Community Center in Austin. We also co-sponsored (with LT Senior Services) a 50+ job fair in Lakeway. (Here’s a Statesman article about that event.) Each job fair features speakers/presentations about how to navigate the job search process. This year’s speakers were a hit, and garnered much positive feedback. One example: “I wanted to thank you for sponsoring a very informative, supportive and energy-giving gathering of speakers and job seekers…I left feeling so much energy. You have started a much needed organization!” speaker at AustinUP 50+ job fairAustinUP 50+ job fair

Additional Outreach
Earlier this year, AustinUP joined the Encore Network, part of Encore.org, an organization that “innovates new ideas and models to leverage the skills and talents of experienced adults to improve communities and the world.” We have benefitted and learned as a result of network members sharing connections, proven practices and resources to support innovation and raise visibility for older adults.

In November, Teresa was invited to be a keynote speaker at the National Guild Conference for Community Arts Education. The general topic was age equity in arts education. In her presentation, Teresa highlighted what we’re doing in Austin to promote age-friendly practices.

She also participated in two panels at the Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting, held in November in Austin. One panel was about working with community partners to ensure diversity of research participants, and the other was about researchers’ need for community collaboration. Both presentations were well received by attendees with much praise for Austin’s age-progressive ideas.

AustinUP in the news:

  • Teresa was interviewed by Marc Miller for Career Pivot podcast #155 about the expectations of older adults looking for jobs.
  • AustinUP was featured on KXAN’s Studio 512 about the need for 50+ job fairs (in conjunction with the Soléa Cedar Park job fair).
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Our 2019 ATX Aging & Innovation Summit was our third and largest Summit, aSummit 2019 photo gathering of 180+ people who were there to learn about aging-related innovation in Austin with a spotlight on equity, diversity and intergenerational community engagement. From the comments we heard at the Summit and via an online evaluation, the audience got what it wanted. In fact, 100 percent of our evaluation respondents said that the Summit was relevant/helpful or very relevant/helpful for our community. Many also commented about the need for affordability as we develop innovative solutions. As one attendee put it, “If you have money, taking care of yourself while aging is much easier.” This is a perfect reminder for those who are passionate about aging-related innovation. We must work to make it accessible to ALL older adults.

“Social inequities across the life course impact healthy aging.”

Dr. Jewel Mullen, our keynote speaker, opened the Summit with her presentation, “Assuring Optimal Health for All Older Adults in Austin,” and shared insight from her professional roles as associate dean for health equity at Dell MediSummit 2019 photocal School and director of health equity at Ascension Seton. Her slides included the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation definition of health equity: “Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments and health care.” We’re hopeful that this is something we can achieve here in Austin – for all generations.

Expertise, encouragement and collaboration

Dan Bullock, longtime Austin writer, speaker and leadership consultant, moderated a panel of new-to-Austin businesses that are launching products or services in the aging space. Dan wrote about what he learned during the presentation in a post on his blog, The Mosey Project. I don’t think Dan will mind if I share it with you. Summit 2019 photo

Our venue (Junior League of Austin Community Impact Center) was large enough this year to accommodate afternoon break-out sessions that included tracks for innovators, business leaders and consumers (older adults). Presentations covered the impact of women entrepreneurs in the aging space, new ideas in housing design, results of the Aging Services Council’s recent five-county needs assessment of individuals over age 60, advice for consumers and businesses in the longevity economy, the latest information about CBD and emergency preparedness for those aging in place.

Our closing session featured representatives from Ford Mobility and the City:One Austin Challenge. The City:One Austin Challenge engages residents and decision-makers to envision, design and deploy new mobility solutions, through a five-phase process. The project’s focus is on how to make it easier for East Austin community members to access healthy living.

Here’s a link to event photos taken by our excellent photographer, Deborah Reinhard. You may download any that you like. When prompted for your email address at login, feel free to use ours – info@austinup.org.

And finally, one more round of applause for our wonderful speakers and sponsors!

Our speakers:

Suzanne Adatto, Honor
Edward Arsenault, ReServe, Inc.
Hannah Barron, Austin Transportation Department | Smart Mobility
Jean Anne Booth, UnaliWear
Dan Bullock, The Mosey Project 
Julie Ferguson, CBA, LLC
Ryan Frederick, SmartLiving360.com
Arnold Garcia, AustinUP Board
Jennifer Hammer, Silvernest
Katie Herbek, City Solutions, Ford Motor Company
Emmie Knox, Aging Services Council and Assisting Hands Home Care
Jewel Mullen, MD, MPH, MPA, Dell Medical School and Ascension Seton
Heather Potts, Mature Market Consultant
Kerry Rupp, True Wealth Ventures
Rose M. Saenz, LVN, CALM, LNFA, MBA, RevealSol 
Lisa Sepulveda, Austin-Travis County EMS
Amy Sweet Fichter, Tapestry San Marcos
Tabitha Taylor, City of Austin Age-friendly Austin Program
Amy Temperley, Aging is Cool
Tina Tran, AARP
Amanda Villarreal, Arthritis Foundation Central Texas

Our sponsors:Summit 2019 sponsorsOur exhibitors: AGE of Central Texas, Aging2.0 Austin, Area Agency on Aging – Capital Area, Arthritis Foundation, Austin-Travis County EMS, Austin Public Health (Age-friendly Austin), Bird, Capital City Village, CapTel Outreach, Dignity Memorial, E4 Youth, Eric Stimmel Insurance Medicare Plans, Oasis Senior Advisors Austin/Central Texas, Meals on Wheels Central Texas, The Pavilion at Great Hills Assisted Living & Memory Care, Power for Parkinson’s, Theora Care and U.S. Census Bureau

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As I prepare this issue of the AustinUPdate, I have to admit that much of my head space is consumed with plans and details for our ATX Aging & Innovation Summit, coming up on October 23rd. I’m very excited about the speakers and panels we’re assembling, which will include regional and national perspectives that can help propel Austin’s efforts to enhance livability and healthy aging for our growing population of older adults. I’m also eager for you to see this year’s beautiful new venue, the Junior League of Austin Event Center, which will accommodate many more guests than in past years…Of course, there is much MORE news to share with you, including information about our two remaining 50+ Job Fairs of 2019, university research in need of participants, and other programs sponsored by AustinUP and our community partners…

Click to see our entire September 2019 newsletter.

AustinUP is a proud sponsor of the Grantsmanship Training Program, coming to Austin in December. Are you working to change your community? Will more funding help you create that change? Join generations of social advocates who have achieved success by attending this Texas grant proposal writing course. Learn how to get funding for your nonprofit! Whether you’re an Austin nonprofit or from another region, you’ll learn how to do the research, make a plan and secure the funding you need. Act now to take advantage of early-bird discounts and/or scholarships.

Grantsmanship Training Program
Austin, TX
December 2-6, 2019

Training Hours:
Monday – Thursday, 8:30 a.m. — 5 p.m.
On Wednesday, groups have the option to work until 7 p.m. on-site
Friday, 8:30 a.m. — 1 p.m.

Training Site:
Better Business Bureau of Austin, Inc.
1805 Rutherford Lane, Suite 100
Austin, TX 78754

Registration Questions:
Program Registrar
The Grantsmanship Center
(800) 421-9512
(213) 482-9860
Email: registrar@tgci.com
Register for the Austin program.

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Director’s Report
I had the pleasure of representing AustinUP at the Population Health Summit, presented earlier this month by Health Tech Austin. I was part of the Healthy Aging workgroup, which also included Chris Dauw, Chief Executive Officer, Compasswchallenges ahead graphicare; Valarie Fleming, PhD, Chair, Department of Communication Disorders, Texas State University; Delia Jervier, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association/Capital of Texas Chapter; and Marcia Ory, PhD, Founding Director, Center for Population Health & Aging, Texas A&M School of Public Health.

On the first day of the event, our workgroup outlined a few challenges to healthy aging as well as possible solutions…

Click to see the entire August 2019 newsletter.

We’re excited to report that AustinUP has joined the Encore Network, which is part of Encore.org, an organization that “innovates new ideas and models to leverage the skills and talents of experienced adults to improve communities and the Encore Network logoworld.” The Encore Network is a coalition of organizations and individuals working together to transform longer lives into a force for good and create a better future for future generations. Network members share connections, proven practices and resources to support innovation, raise visibility and build a stronger encore movement. For more information, contact Network lead Betsy Werley, bwerley@encore.org.

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Photo credit: Marcus Lange

Director’s Report: As you may know, the U.S. Census in 2010 indicated that Austin had one of the fastest-growing populations of older adults in the country. That data point kicked into action a series of events, including the formation of the Mayor’s Task Force on Aging (2012), AustinUP (2014) and the City of Austin Commission on Seniors (2014).

summer sunset photo

Photo credit: Marcus Lange

If you are wondering whether that trend is projected to continue in the upcoming 2020 Census, wonder no more! The City of Austin hosted a recent event featuring Ryan Robinson, city demographer, in which he spoke about demographic trends and the political and social impact the 2020 Census might have on Central Texas. It was so informative! And, with respect to our older adult population, Ryan reported that indeed, the City of Austin can now be considered a “retirement destination.”  View the recording of Ryan Robinson’s presentation and download his slides here.

That said – the heat is on, my friends. We have company coming! We need to prepare, and there’s much work to be done!
Click to read the entire newsletter.

With more than 150 attendees at the April 3 Livability for Longevity Symposium, the Bass Lecture Hall at the LBJ School of Public Affairs was close to capacity. Between opening remarks from Council Member Alison Alter (District 10) about Austin’s efforts to create an age-friendly community and a thoughtful symposium wrap-up from Jesús Garza, former CEO of Seton Healthcare – and input from the audience (that included Luci Baines Johnson) throughout – it felt like the right people had assembled to discuss important issues about aging. Livability for Longevity Symposium 2019 panel and audience

But the true stars of the show were Dr. Jacqueline Angel and her team of students from the LBJ School (Alex Abbott, Patricia Hart,Shadhi Mansoori, Gabriela Mordi,Emma Nye and Kathryn Quan) who walked us through the methodology for and results of their recent research in a presentation titled, “Building an Intergenerational Metropolis in the City of Austin.”

A panel discussion, “Policy and Planning for an Age-friendly Austin,” followed the students’ presentation with real-world insight about the opportunities and challenges of aging-related policy implementation. Guest panelists included Janee Briesemeister, Chair, City of Austin Commission on Seniors; Adam Hauser, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels Central Texas; Annette Juba, Deputy Director, AGE of Central Texas; and Larry Wallace, Enterprise Chief Administrative Officer, Central Health.

LBJ School team at the 2019 Livability for Longevity SymposiumReaction to the presentations was overwhelmingly positive, as reflected in these comments from the post-event survey:

  • “I liked the amazing presentation from Dr. Angel’s students and the subsequent Q & A. The attendees of the seminar represented a wide range of professionals and lay persons all working on different parts of the complex issues on aging.”
  • “I liked the variety of new information presented and a generation that’s willing to get on board and lead the way.”
  • “I appreciated knowing that we have partners who are working together to better life for the aging.”

During lunch (and in the post-event survey), audience members shared insight of their own about their current interests and the topics they’d like to see addressed in future symposiums:

  • Support for those “aging in place”
  • Ways to navigate end-of-life decisions and expenses
  • Innovative, but affordable, housing options
  • Employment after 50
  • The role of artificial intelligence as we age
  • Additional intergenerational concepts
  • Expanded transportation options
  • Caregiving
  • The need for affordable, accessible mental and dental services
  • How to advocate for aging-related programs and how to influence the Texas Legislature
  • Support for middle-income older adults
  • Ways to help “elder orphans” i.e., elders who have no family members to help them as they age

AustinUP extends huge thanks and appreciation to our co-hosts (LBJ School of Public Affairs, City of Austin Commission on Seniors), wonderful sponsors (Atria Senior Living, AARP Texas, St. David’s Foundation, Senior Resource Guide and Westminster) and exhibit partners (AGE of Central Texas, Capital City Village, Drive a Senior, Family Eldercare and Meals on Wheels Central Texas). YOU made this event possible!

View more photos from the 2019 Livability for Longevity Symposium, courtesy of photographer Callie Richmond and the LBJ School.

We’re happy to report that the aging / age-tech speakers and panels at SXSW 2019 did not disappoint, and the ideas presented gave us much to think about. One key takeaway that will guide AustinUP as we expand our efforts to make Austin age-progressive: Innovation without implementation is nothing. Let’s do this, Austin!

Here are a few additional SXSW panel notes and links to explore and share.

America’s Got Hidden Talent: Social Impact Hiring
Panelist Kerry Hannon, AARP’s work and job expert, talked about the importance of training and certification to help both younger people who can’t afford college, as well as older workers who need updated digital skills. Another suggestion: Employers could provide career coaches to help workers as they change roles at a company. A list of best practices for employers is featured on the AARP website.

How Midlife Women Work their Entrepreneurial Mojo
This panel was led by Jeannie Ralston, Central Texas-based founder, editor and adventurer-in-chief of NextTribe, a digital magazine for women aged 45+ that has the motto, “Age Boldly.” The panel suggested that older entrepreneurs have knowledge that can serve as a brand. A few additional words of advice: 1) hire your weakness; 2) nurture your network to find resources; 3) don’t dwell on those annoying, negative voices inside your head;  4) don’t burn bridges (keep the peace in your network); and 5) know your purpose. You can watch a video of the presentation here.

A Smart Aging Love Story for All Ages
This diverse panel of “internet of things” (IoT) and aging experts and consumers talked about smart aging lifestyles and options. They suggested that we look to Germany and other “super-aged” societies in the world for ideas to improve the lives of older adults. Examples include more and better promotion of public health services, expanded patient advocacy services provided by insurance companies, personal assistants (upwork.com and care.com) and smart speakers (Google Home, Alexa). Other age-friendly innovations on the rise: voice-tech (a good way for humans to interact with technology); portable medical equipment (e.g., handheld ultrasound devices) that can make elder care easier and cheaper; hologram doctor visits, clinical holoportation and Microsoft “hololens.”

Cities Harnessing the Longevity Dividend
By 2030, there will be more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 10. Cities are on the front lines of this shift and can realize the massive social and economic potential of older adults as they work to improve city services. This panel, that included San Antonio-based Henry Cisneros, discussed age-forward practices and strategies for cities.

slide from presentation

slide from presentation

The Digital Economy Isn’t Just for the Young
Chip Conley, mentor to Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO and founder and author of Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder, offered words of workplace wisdom to a packed, multigen audience. He said, “With a variety of generations in the workplace, it’s time to perfect the ability to work together.” He stressed the importance of cross-generational “mutual mentorship,” age-diversity in the workplace, lifelong learning and maintaining our sense of curiosity as we age.

Additional ideas:

  • We gain emotional intelligence (otherwise known as “emotional quotient” or EQ) as we age, i.e., “the ability to understand, use and manage our emotions in positive ways.”
  • We need to own the word “elder” because most adults gather and gain wisdom as they age.
  • Being a “modern elder” is all about relevance not just reverence, i.e., knowing what’s important and what’s not.
  • The sharing economy also means sharing across generations.
  • How to be a modern elder:
    1. Right-size your ego
    2. Evolve (let go of what’s no longer relevant and be willing to say “this is a new era”)
    3. Be open to learning new things
    4. Collaborate
    5. Learn how to counsel (“Mentor privately; intern publicly.” Nobody wants a priest or parent in the workplace.)

More from Chip’s book and presentation:

  • Research shows that people in their 50s are actually happier than people in their 40s, demonstrating that there’s an incongruity between what we say about aging and the reality.
  • The old work/life model, “learn, earn and retire” is going away. Lifelong learning, career adaptation and senior internships are the wave of the future.
  • The term “middle-essence,” like adolescence, should be a thing. There is much research and discussion about human behavior during adolescence, but nothing to describe what happens in middle-life. It’s a time of transitions, menopause, career change, empty nest, etc., but there is little in society to help or address it. Women sometimes talk about it and share observations, but men often don’t. The consequences often are tragic, i.e., an increased suicide rate in the U.S.

To learn more, watch a conversation between Chip Conley and Brian Chesky, CEO and founder of Airbnb.

Decibel, KLRU’s news and public affairs initiative led by esteemed TV journalist Judy Maggio, covers a wide variety of stories that matter to Austinites. In February, Judy and the Decibel team focused on aging. They hosted a roundtable discussion, which included AustinUP Executive Director Teresa Sansone Ferguson. They also produced a series of aging-related stories and specials. You can see the individual stories, including interviews with Janee Briesemeister, Chair, Commission on Seniors, and Jean Anne Booth, CEO and Founder, UnaliWear, on Decibel’s Facebook page. Their half-hour special aired on KLRU TV during the last weekend in February. AustinUP was proud to be part of this coverage, along with some of our community partners. Please watch and share!

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