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Event Details


Sept. 22-24, 2011

LA Convention Center
1201 S Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015



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AARP University
Session Details

The AARP University was created to be the center of education for Life@50+ attendees. The goal of the University is to provide interactive, educational sessions by AARP staff experts on the latest AARP research, programs, services, benefits and larger issues of interest that affect our members and society.


Review the list of sessions and learn more about what was offered as part of the University at the 2011 Life@50+ event.


AARP and the NFL Player Association’s College Playbook: Financial Security through a College Degree in Every Home

Saturday, Sept. 24, 10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.


  • Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, Executive Vice President, Multicultural Markets and Engagement, AARP
  • Julie Fitzpatrick, Senior Manager, Multicultural Markets and Engagement, AARP
  • Reggie Berry
  • Ron Brown
  • D’Wayne Edwards
  • Araceli Sandoval


A college education for one individual can help increase financial security for an entire family. This session will explore how AARP and the NFL Players Association are working together through the College Playbook curriculum to make it easier for first-time college applicants from multicultural backgrounds to apply for college. Come learn how community partners including NUL and ASPIRA are working with AARP and the NFL Players Association to support the Go-to-College Movement and, by doing so, advancing higher education and greater financial security among multicultural families.


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Attendee Choice – Lose Weight: Have Fun with Friends Going from Fat to Fit

Friday, Sept. 23, 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


  • Carole Carson, Coach, AARP Fat 2 Fit Online Community and Author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction and The Meltdown Manual: Create Weapons of Mass Reduction in Your Community


Are you ready to lose weight and gain friends? Team up with others to create a personalized weight-loss and fitness program. Hundreds of AARP members have done so through the AARP Online Community’s Fat 2 Fit “NO DIET” zone. You’ll find ways to exercise that make you feel like a kid again. Members report life-affirming benefits: reduced medication, increased energy, greater flexibility and clothes that fit better. Best of all, you’ll recover your self-esteem. “Coach” Carole Carson hopes to see you this session so she can personally encourage you to join the community at


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E-Reading for Dummies

Friday, Sept. 23, 10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.


  • Cathy Ventura-Merkel, Senior Vice President, AARP Publications (Moderator)
  • Mike S. Lee, Senior Advisor, AARP Digital Strategy and Operations


Digital books have ushered in an exciting new era for readers.  No longer do you have to lug travel guides around the world or cart a heavy hardback during your daily commute. Electronic reading is light, accessible and, in many cases, inexpensive. This session will help you explore the pros and cons of switching over to this new way of reading.  AARP publishing and digital experts will help you understand the various features of e-readers available in the marketplace.  Through a discussion and Q&A, they’ also cover options for buying books and obtaining them through libraries.


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Five Things Women Should Know About Retirement Security

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


  • Lee Woodruff, New York Times best-selling author
  • Kelley Coates-Carter, Senior Advisor States, AARP
  • Susan Lutz, Senior Project Manager, AARP


Join New York Times #1 best-selling author Lee Woodruff and AARP experts Kelley Coates-Carter and Susan Lutz for this must-attend session on tools and tips for a better retirement.  Lee Woodruff, with her notable poignancy and wit, will share some of her wisdom from having traveled on the "grittier pavement in life.”  AARP staff will provide valuable information on how to: get the most from Social Security whether married or single, maximize retirement savings, and create a retirement budget.  You’ll hear why women need to think about and plan for long-term care; and learn about long-term care options. Walk away with great resources you can use to make your retirement or whatever you pursue a little more secure.


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Five Things You Must Know About Facebook

Friday, Sept. 23, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


  • Sami Hassanyeh, Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy, AARP
  • Irene Koehler, Social Media Speaker, Strategist and Consultant,


People over 50 are the fastest growing segment on Facebook. Learn from a social strategist and a social media expert everything you need to know to have fun, stay safe and understand what the heck people are doing on this wildly popular social network. Bring questions, ideas and suggestions. This will be a practical, highly interactive session!


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Get Your MFA: Masters of Frugal Arts

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


  • Jeff Yeager, “The Ultimate Cheapskate” and host of AARP’s online Savings Challenge


Jeff Yeager, “The Ultimate Cheapskate” and host of AARP’s online Savings Challenge, will show you how to stretch your money while having some laughs along the way.  The secret to financial freedom has at least as much to do with smart spending as it does with savvy investing, and this crash course in how to be a happy cheapskate will help you master the art of frugal living.  Yeager shares the secrets – large and small - he’s discovered from surveying and interviewing hundreds of “cheapskates” who are living very happily below their means, and will answer questions about how make your money go farther without sacrificing th!e true joys in life.  A must-attend for anyone who spends money!


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Grandma’s Table

Friday, Sept. 23, 2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.


  • Marita Golden, Best Selling Author and Workshop Leader
  • Angela Oh, Attorney and Community Activist
  • Denisse Oller, Chef, Journalist and Community Leader, AARP's Cooking and Nutrition Expert
  • Terry Edwards, Project Manager Volunteer Engagement, State and National Group, AARP


The kitchen is the heart of the home in almost every culture. Family and friends often gather to share ideas, tell stories and work out problems at the safe, warm place called Grandma’s kitchen table.  You’re invited to our own “Grandma’s Table” to share a bite to eat and get some sage advice on how to keep your mind, body and wallet in tip-top shape. Grandma and the many neighborhood characters who plan to drop by for her special potluck luncheon welcome you for a friendly discussion and even a surprise you may win.  You will leave nourished!


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Great Gadgets – Cutting Edge Tech for Living Life

Saturday, Sept. 24, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


  • Panel of experts


Technology, gadgets and gizmos often seem to be more trouble than they are worth.  Wasn’t technology supposed to make life more simple? Yes, and it can. Come hear a panel of experts highlight a range of cutting edge technologies that can actually bring more joy to your life and make everyday tasks easier.  From smart phones and tablets to video conversations with loved ones – some of this stuff is pretty cool!


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Managing the Medicare Maze: Your Questions Answered

Thursday, Sept. 22, 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


  • Nicole Duritz


Are you confused about Medicare? How does it work? Are there changes this year that could impact the decisions you need to make? Join us for a lively discussion that will cover many of the frequently asked questions that AARP and Ms. Medicare have received over the years. Learn about the different parts of Medicare, when the best time is to enroll, how to avoid paying penalties and what to consider when selecting the right plan for you. We’ll also give you the opportunity to ask your questions about the Medicare program. Medicare experts will also be available at the Education & Outreach booth throughout Life@50+.


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Marketing Yourself - The Essentials of What's Next for You

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


  • Steve Cone, EVP Integrated Value & Strategy, AARP


Whether you are an entrepreneur or just starting to think of your “What’s Next,” this university session will help you take the first – and next -- steps toward reinventing yourself and your business. From financing your idea to selling it, from creating a business plan to evaluating the market – you will learn from one of the best how to build your brand and reach the audience you’re after.  In short, this is the place to learn the essentials for success.


Steve Cone, marketing guru, author, marathoner, and AARP’s Executive Vice President of Integrated Value and Strategy, will share insights from his 35 years of senior-level marketing and brand communications experience. Cone has lectured worldwide at leading universities and business groups on proven marketing principles. He has written two books published by Bloomberg Press: Steal These Ideas! and Powerlines: Words That Sell Brands, Grip Fans, and Sometimes Change History.  Reinventing yourself has never been easier!


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Medicaid: A Lifeline for Millions of Older Americans

Thursday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


  • Lynda Flowers, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute
  • James P. Leddy, Member, Health Committee, AARP National Policy Council
  • Leigh Purvis, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute
  • Fernando Torres-Gil, Member, AARP Board of Directors


This session will explain the differences between Medicare and Medicaid. A panel of experts will discuss how Medicaid helps millions of low-income seniors and persons with disabilities pay their Medicare cost sharing. They will also explore Medicaid’s role in paying for long-term services and supports for millions of Americans who have exhausted their savings, and Medicaid’s role in helping seniors and persons with disabilities pay for their prescription drugs. Finally, they will discuss how recent federal proposals to cap funding for Medicaid or turn it into a block grant program could affect seniors.


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Medical Tourism: Is It for Me, and What Do I Need to Know?

Friday, Sept. 23, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


  • Cheryl Matheis, Senior Vice President, Policy, Strategy and International Affairs, AARP
  • Josef Woodman, Author, Patients Beyond Borders
  • Dr. William Ruschhaupt, Chair, Global Patient Services, Cleveland Clinic
  • Marco Juarez, Trade & Investment Commissioner, Proméxico
  • Paul Hambleton II, AARP Member and Medical Traveler


As medical treatment costs continue to rise here at home, a half million Americans will travel this year for safe, affordable medical procedures. Costa Rica, Mexico, Barbados, India, Malaysia and Thailand are among the countries that offer treatments—such as orthopedic, heart, cosmetic, dental—in American-accredited hospitals at 40-70% savings!


Josef Woodman, author of Patients Beyond Borders, will lead health professionals and patients from popular medical-tourism destinations in a discussion about the benefits and risks of getting medical treatment abroad. You’ll learn where to go for the highest quality care, how to negotiate the best prices, insurance coverage, and what to do if something goes wrong.


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Pride Comes in All Ages: Out and Living Life to Its Fullest

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


  • B.D. Wong, Stage, Film and Television Actor
  • Michele Balan, Finalist on NBC's Last Comic Standing
  • Natalie Chin, Staff Attorney, Lambda Legal
  • Dave Singleton, creator of AARP's award-winning LGBT multimedia presentation on the Stonewall Riots, and active member of the AARP PRiSM Network
  • Catherine Thurston, Senior Director for Programs, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)


Once all but invisible, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans are leading more open and proud lives. As the early generations of Out LGBT pioneers journey through the second half of life, they will continue to forge new roads for themselves and for society. Many will insist on remaining vibrant participants in the LGBT community, while some will struggle about remaining out as they begin to utilize local health and aging services providers in mainstream settings. AARP’s Dave Singleton and lesbian comedian Michele Balan will engage panelists and the audience in a fun, frank and fast-paced discussion about being Out, connected and fully secure in the second half of life.


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Social Security: Will It Be There When I Need It?

Saturday, Sept. 24, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


  • John Rother, Executive Vice President; Policy, Strategy and International Affairs, AARP
  • Carla Penny, Chair, Economic, Employment and Low-Income Issues Committee; AARP National Policy Council
  • Sarah Lock


If you listen to news reports, you might be getting anxious about the future of Social Security. Commentators warn that Social Security will “going broke” within 20 years. Some deficit hawks suggest Social Security benefits must be cut in order to address the federal government’s huge budget deficits. It’s enough to scare anyone who is at or near retirement age. Come to this session and hear the real story about Social Security from AARP’s Social Security experts. You’ll hear the truth about the system’s financing, options for strengthening the program for the long-term and how AARP is fighting on your behalf.


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Successful Multicultural Engagement: Write Your Story with AARP Chapters

Thursday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.


  • David L. Kim, Vice President, Multicultural Markets and Engagement, AARP
  • Donna Wang, Volunteer, AARP Driver Safety Program in Chinese language
  • Susan Wang, Manager, Information Technology Services, AARP, and staff mentor for AARP’s all-Chinese chapter


AARP’s only all-Chinese chapter – the Greater Chinatown Chapter in Los Angeles – has grown to 500+ members since it was established in 1999. Chapter members participate in community service, communicate about AARP’s mission and vision and organize fun activities. With members’ ages ranging from 50 to 90, how do they address members’ different needs and wants? What are their challenges and lessons learned? Come learn how being a chapter member can make a positive difference in your life and your community by hearing stories from this chapter about friendship, fellowship and fun.


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Tackling Home Remodeling Projects with Style

Thursday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


  • Jeannine Clark, Interior Designer and Remodeler, Mannigan Design, Inc.
  • Leah Thayer, Editor and Founder, daily5remodel
  • Esther Greenhouse, Environmental Gerontologist, Cornell University
  • Amy Levner, Manager of Education and Outreach for Home and Family, AARP (Moderator)


Is your home not aging as well as you are? Are you unclear about where to start on a remodeling project, or wondering about the hottest trends in home design? This session will help remain happy where you live – in a familiar community, near family and friends – in comfort and style. Interior design and remodeling experts and a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist will help you plan for a successful home makeover project. You’ll learn how to approach the process, and hear advice and tips about maximizing your dollars with the future firmly in mind.


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Telling Your Story – How Life Review Heals the Soul and Leaves a Legacy

Saturday, Sept. 24, 12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.


  • Joyce DeMonnin, Associate State Director for Public Outreach, AARP Oregon
  • Robert Miller, MFA, Retired Professor of Fine Art, Lewis and Clark College


How does a daughter handle the grief and loss when moving a parent to long-term care? By capturing a lifetime of memories. As Joyce DeMonnin prepared to move her mother from her home of 40+ years to a long-term care facility, Joyce’s husband, Robert Miller, photographed the home to record the archeology of a family. As he prepared to exhibit his work, he asked Joyce to share her reflections. Come experience their writing and photography, and learn how to capture precious moments in time. These unique “life reviews” can help deepen our understanding of aging and leave a legacy families will cherish.


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The Beat Goes On ... Women’s Heart Health

Saturday, Sept. 24, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


  • Charlotte Yeh, M.D., Chief Medical Officer AARP Services, Inc.
  • Ron Ozminkowski, PhD, Vice President, Optum Insight
  • Kathleen Alsgaard, RN, Director Clinical Services United Health Care Medicare and Retirement Group
  • Michael D. Horowitz, M.D., National Medical Director, Optum Healthcare Solutions
  • Suzanne Haynes


Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. More often than not, heart attack symptoms are different between women and men. Join us for a dynamic, informative session about heart disease.  You’ll learn to recognize the warning signs of coronary heart disease and respond in the event of a heart attack.  Medical professionals will share tips on how to have a healthier heart, and help you understand when and why to call 911 for emergency response to heart-related symptoms. Bring your questions, and learn how to promote healthy hearts – especially among women.


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The Implications of the Changing American Landscape:

A Societal and Cultural Reset
Thursday, Sept. 22, 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.


  • Andres Ramirez, President, Ramirez Group
  • Steve Moya, Senior Strategist, Santiago Solutions Group
  • Carlos Santiago, President, Santiago Solutions Group


The recent release of the 2010 Census has provided a Societal & Cultural Reset on the current U.S. demographic composition as well as provided necessary perspective on real expectations for the future of our nation. With the Hispanic/Latino population continuing to grow in all areas of the U.S. and all sectors of our economy, it is necessary to examine the social, cultural and financial implications that accompany this considerable growth and AARP’s role in meeting the needs of this blossoming community. Our experts addressing this topic include Andres Ramirez who brings years of experience and a wealth of knowledge on the demographic realities of our changing American culture as well as Steve Moya and Carlos Santiago, who will provide unique insights on the implications of this revolutionary Societal Reset and opportunities to make a real impact in the Multicultural community now and in the future.


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The Price is Right!  Or is it? – Let’s talk about Drug Safety, Effectiveness and Cost

Friday, Sept. 23, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


  • Allen Douma, M.D., Member of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute and Member, AARP Board;
  • Bradley R. Williams, Professor, Clinical Pharmacy & Clinical Gerontology;
  • N. Lee Rucker, M.S.P.H., Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute;
  • Lauren Grider, M.S.:  Project Manager, Education & Outreach, Health;
  • Jane Lincoln, MSW: Project Manager, Education & Outreach, Health


If you’re frustrated at the pharmacy counter, this interactive session is for you…


Participants will guess the cost of common medications to treat blood pressure, cholesterol or pain to show the price differences between drugs. Learn what else (besides price) you need to ask your doctors and pharmacist.  Peek at trends in what prescription drugs older adults are using, and in how patient medicine information is changing.   Hear first-hand from an AARP board member and physician who pioneered many of the programs that AARP uses today to help you better understand choices in commonly-used prescription medicines.  Also, learn how community pharmacists are developing new tools to help you make the most of your medicines.  Finally, with videos and a compelling personal story, take a ‘virtual’ journey using AARP’s Drug Savings Tool.


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Tips from the Money Coach

Thursday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.



Personal finance expert and television/radio personality Lynnette Khalfani-Cox once had $100,000 in credit card debt. She paid it off in three years and turned her financial life around. She will describe how she made it happen and, more importantly, how you can get your finances in order. Lynnette will share tips from her New York Times best-selling book, Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom. She will also provide insights about her work with the “Pay Down Your Debt Challenge” on AARP’s website.


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Volunteer: Anyone, Anywhere!

Thursday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


  • David Levinson, Founder and Executive Director, Big Sunday
  • Ken Budd, Executive Editor, AARP The Magazine
  • Gwendolyn Hudson, International Volunteer


Everyone has a skill, talent or passion that can help somebody else, whether in a local community or around the world. Learn how to tap into yours. A self-described “accidental activist,” David Levinson, author of Everyone Helps, Everyone Wins, will discuss how his nonprofit organization involves 50,000 California volunteers in community service over a single weekend each year. Ken Budd, executive editor of AARP The Magazine and author of the forthcoming memoir The Voluntourist (HarperCollins, 2012) will share his experiences volunteering in six countries. International volunteer and 2010 AARP Create the Good
Raffle-winner Gwendolyn Hudson will share her unique experiences as an older volunteer, how her volunteer trip to Costa Rica has impacted her life and insights about linking international travel with service.


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Your Key to Health and Happiness: Your Own Neighborhood

Friday, Sept. 23, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


  • Dan Burden, Executive Director, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute
  • Amy Levner, Manager of Education and Outreach for Home and Family, AARP


You deserve to live in a great place – your own neighborhood! Hear examples of “best” places to live and uncover what they offer, including features that foster social interaction, facilitate access to services, encourage physical fitness and protect natural resources. Dan Burden of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute has worked in over 3,000 North American villages, towns and cities that were transformed into ideal places to live for people of all ages. By sharing stories about them, Dan will inspire you to help change your neighborhood for the better.


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