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Breakout Sessions: Tuesday, November 13

2018 AARP Livable Communities National Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina

2018 Livable Conference Banner

Sessions are listed in alphabetical order. The bracketed text indicates the conference track.

CM indicates the certification maintenance credits approved by the American Planning Association.


Advancing an Age-Friendly Public Health System

[Putting It All Together] The public health system implements and supports the community-wide conditions necessary to make the healthy behavior the easy behavior. Yet public health has not fully embraced the age-friendly movement, despite its focus on population health. In 2017, the Trust for America’s Health and The John A. Hartford Foundation convened key public health and aging experts to explore the potential contributions of public health in improving the health and well-being of older adults. Presenters will review the resulting framework in the context of the AARP Livable Communities initiative and weave together health care system, public health and community age-friendly efforts. Presenters will describe the emerging age-friendly models and show how the efforts can be integrated to maximize community assets and skills and accelerate the implementation of age-friendly communities. [CM 1.0]

  • Megan Wolfe, Policy Development Manager Trust for America’s Health
  • Kathy Black, Professor of Aging Studies and Social Work, University of South Florida/Sarasota-Manatee
  • Laura Cantwell, Associate State Director, AARP Florida
  • Jane Carmody, Program Officer, The John A. Hartford Foundation

Are Communities Becoming More Livable? The 2018 Livability Index

[Putting It All Together] The AARP Livability Index measures the aspects of community life that best support people at any life stage. The index helps community leaders and key stakeholders identify where their strengths are and where gaps exist to create strategies that improve the quality of life for all community members. This interactive online tool, found at AARP. org/LivabilityIndex, is especially useful given the rapid growth of America’s age-65 or older population, which is expected reach more than 20 percent by 2030 and surpass the number of individuals ages 18 or younger by 2035. With the majority of older adults wanting to remain in their homes and communities as they age, today’s decision makers have the opportunity to take action in order to meet needs of older adults and their families. In this session, experts from the AARP Public Policy Institute will present an analysis of the index’s new data and demonstrate its new features. Participants will use their mobile devices to try the AARP Livability Index for their own communities. [CM 1.0]

  • Shannon Guzman, Policy Research Senior Analyst, AARP Public Policy Institute
  • Rodney Harrell, Director, Livability Thought Leadership AARP Public Policy Institute
  • Brad Gudzinas, Senior Methods Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute

Autonomous Vehicle Integration in the Community

[Putting It All Together] This session looks at recent autonomous vehicle pilots throughout the nation and the valuable insights gained from these deployments. [CM 1.0] 

  • Corey Ershow, Transportation Policy Manager, Lyft Inc.
  • Mike Watson, Senior Advisor, AARP Livable Communities

Changing Culture in Age-Friendly Communities

[Engaging Policy Makers] Engaging elected officials, staff and community members in the work to plan and implement age-friendly policies requires that organizational cultures and community narratives evolve. The panelists will share their insights, strategies and experiences of putting words to action and building partnerships that support a culture of change. [CM 1.0]

  • Jerry Cohen, State Director Emeritus, AARP Oregon
  • Kaarin Knudson, Project Lead, Better Housing Together
  • Connie Saldana, Planner, Rogue Valley Council of Governments
  • Carmel Snyder, Director of Advocacy and Outreach, AARP Oregon

Collaborating With Nurses to Create a Culture of Health

[Putting It All Together] With more than 3.6 million nurses in the United States, there’s an opportunity to engage members of the profession in health promotion through livability activities and leadership. AARP and the North Carolina Future of Nursing Coalition are working together in seven communities committed to age-friendly initiatives. In addition to discussing the Future of Nursing Coalition network and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-inspired movement to create a culture of health, this session will explain how the North Carolina coalition is looking to utilize nurse volunteers. Working in small groups, attendees will talk about fostering a culture of health, setting goals that impact policy and practice, and developing innovative strategies to recruit and deploy nurses as volunteers and leaders. [CM 1.0]

  • Catherine Sevier, Co-Chair, North Carolina Future of Nursing | State President, AARP North Carolina
  • Donna Lake, Co-Chair, North Carolina Future of Nursing Clinical Associate Professor, East Carolina University
  • Karen Kafantaris, Associate State Director, AARP Michigan
  • Lynn Mertz, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP

Complete Streets and Vision Zero: How Community Organizations Are Working to Make Philadelphia a More Livable Community

[Engaging Policy Makers] Since the inception of the Philadelphia Vision Zero Action Plan in 2016, a coalition of organizations, including the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and AARP Pennsylvania, has partnered with Philadelphia’s Complete Streets director to reduce traffic accidents and deaths. Learn how the coalition is working with state and local government officials, community leaders and advocacy groups to recommend improvements to the city’s road design, traffic safety education and enforcement and overall safety and accessibility to multimodal transportation. Speakers will share how volunteer and community engagement impacted local advocacy efforts that garnered state-level attention, culminating in the passage of legislation that would automate speed enforcement systems in active work zones and establish a pilot program for automated speed enforcement systems on designated highways. [CM 1.0]

  • Sarah Clark Stuart, Executive Director, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
  • Yocasta Lora, Associate State Director, AARP Pennsylvania
  • Marge Chance, Volunteer, AARP Pennsylvania

Creative Placemaking in Rural America

[Putting It All Together] How can placemaking help grow strong economies; support healthy, active lifestyles; and strengthen rural communities in the midst of change? Rural communities face a range of issues that include a rapidly aging population, increased isolation and sprawl, a lack of transportation options, struggling local economies and a limited capacity for development. The long-term vitality of small towns depends on finding locally driven solutions to improve livability. This session explores how a small town in Vermont is doing just that “and sparking a wave of reinvestment,” thanks to a host of placemaking projects. Learn how Bethel, Vermont, is leveraging its existing assets through a recent Better Block project, pop-up shops, traffic-calming measures and public art installations. The town’s community-driven approach is helping to support local businesses, add local jobs and create a positive future. The Bethel experience is a model for how traditionally urban placemaking approaches can be scaled and adapted for rural communities nationwide. [CM 1.0]

  • Kelly Stoddard-Poor, Associate State Director, AARP Vermont
  • Rebecca Stone, Principal, Community Workshop LLC
  • Andrew Howard, Principal, Team Better Block

Cross-Sector Collaboration to Facilitate LGBT Culturally Competent Real Estate Services

[Engaging Partners] Is more than seven million LGBT individuals reach older adulthood over the next 20 years, cross-sector collaboration will be necessary to provide LGBT-culturally competent aging-in-place strategies. In this session, participants will hear about innovative collaborations between the nonprofit, public policy and real estate industry sectors to ensure that communities are able to meet the growing needs of LGBT older adults. [CM 1.0]

  • Elise Colomer-Cheadle, Director of Institutional Partnerships, SAGE
  • Jeff Berger, Founder, National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals
  • Nii-Quartelai Quartey, Senior Advisor/National LGBT Liaison, Multicultural Leadership, AARP

Cultivating Entrepreneurship in Culturally Identified Commercial District

[Engaging People] Small businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises play an important role in defining the fabric of communities, helping fuel local economies, leveraging walkable environments and inspiring innovation. The significant growth of the small business economy — particularly among women and people of color — has shown a significant impact on commercial districts nationwide. The concept of entrepreneurial ecosystems has emerged as a way of organizing the resources and support systems required to help entrepreneurs thrive. Place-based entrepreneurial ecosystems promote local business ownership by equitably engaging stakeholders and leveraging distinct cultural assets. In this session, the panelists will discuss trends in entrepreneurial ecosystems and present a case study about Danville, Virginia. [CM 1.0]

  • Matt Wagner, Vice President of Revitalization Programs National Main Street Center
  • Dionne Baux, Director of Urban Programs, National Main Street Center
  • Diana Schwartz, Executive Director, Danville River District, Inc.

Engaging Local Planners: Lessons and Best Practices from Around the World

[Putting It All Together] The professionals who envision the form and future growth of communities are shifting their approach to planning in order to address the rapidly changing demographics in their communities. Yet age-friendly advocates in many places have difficulty engaging their local planners and helping them understand how to use the tools at their disposal (e.g., zoning codes, public planning processes) to better plan for these population shifts. This session will present findings from a survey of planners and share best practices. It will also highlight a case study documenting the journey of the city of York in the United Kingdom to become a genuine asset-based city. [CM 1.0] 

  • Stephanie Firestone, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP
  • Michael Amabile, Senior Planner, ARUP
  • Joe Micheli, Head of Commissioning, Early Intervention, Prevention and Community Development City of York Council, United Kingdom

Expand Your Reach and Impact: Tips on Finding and Developing Volunteer Leaders

[Engaging People] Volunteers can be extensions of your team, increasing capacity and the ability to fulfill your organization’s mission. Get tips for recruiting volunteers of various skill levels and learn how to develop volunteers for future leadership roles. Case studies from AARP and select community partners will showcase how recruitment and development challenges were addressed to get the “right” volunteers. [CM 1.0] 

  • Carole Ricks, Advisor, Service Engagement, AARP Office of Volunteer Engagement
  • Patricia Oh, Age-Friendly Communities Consultant, AARP
  • Helen Mack, Volunteer, AARP Volunteer Facilitation and Training Team
  • Robert Hoffman, Volunteer, AARP Volunteer Facilitation and Training Team
  • Will Stoner, Manager of Outreach, Training, Development and Innovation, AARP Office of Volunteer Engagement

Home for a Lifetime:
The Power of Collaboration in Promoting Universal Design

[Putting It All Together] A collaboration between the University of Southern California and The Hartford led to a multi-year public education campaign, home insurance coverage innovations and an online program that equips home improvement contractors to introduce and implement solutions for aging in place. The Dakotas Aging in Place Study is a partnership between university extension programs in North and South Dakota to explore gaps in consumer knowledge, motivation and barriers to universal design implementation. The findings will inform the creation of programming to engage people, partners and policy makers for increasing the implementation of universally designed housing in rural communities. [CM 1.0]

  • Cynthia Hellyar, Gerontologist and Director of Customer Engagement, The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence
  • Emily Nabors, Program Manager, University of Southern California, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
  • Leacey Brown, Gerontology Field Specialist, South Dakota State University Extension

How Does Cohousing Support Livable Communities?

[Engaging People] Cohousing presents a unique, self-managed living arrangement that is intentionally designed to promote social participation and a sense of community. Neighborhoods typically comprise about two-dozen units that offer a mix of privacy and community. Residents have their own homes but share outside and inside spaces where they can gather. Although intergenerational cohousing has existed in the United States for a few decades now, senior cohousing is newer and represents a growing trend. [CM 1.0]

  • Anne Glass, Professor and Gerontology Coordinator, University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • Nancy Francis, Coordinator, The Center for Volunteer Caregiving
  • Suzanne LaFollette-Black, Associate State Director, AARP North Carolina

Hurricane Maria:
Reflecting on Relationships and the Role of Community Nursing

[Putting It All Together] What happens to people when modern infrastructure collapses and the luxury of space and privacy transform into isolation and vulnerability? This was the case in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, which hit the island in September 2017. Electricity and the internet went down. Propane for cooking was scarce, and there was no running water. This session will highlight the importance of building neighborhood connections and leveraging community nursing during an emergency. José Acarón, the state director of AARP Puerto Rico, and Gina Miranda-Diaz, a community nurse and public health director who led a relief delegation in Puerto Rico, will share their firsthand experiences and lessons learned. The panelists will discuss opportunities for incorporating community nursing strategies and nurse leadership so neighborhoods are better prepared to mobilize diverse partnerships, build trusted relationships and navigate a patchwork of local resources when a crisis strikes. [CM 1.0]

  • Claudio Gualtieri, Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute
  • Jose Acaron, State Director, AARP Puerto Rico
  • Gina Miranda-Diaz, Public Health Officer, DNP, MPH, APHN-BC

Lean Livability: Making Lovable Places for $500 or Less

[Putting It All Together] Making big changes doesn’t always require millions of dollars and years of work. This session presents more than 50 ways — each costing less than $500 — communities can inject “A Little Bit of Happy” and create places people love. (Attendees who want to help implement some lean livability solutions in Charlotte will be able to do so immediately after this session at a location near the hotel.) [CM 1.0] 

  • Isaac Kremer, Executive Director, Metuchen Downtown Alliance
  • Seanette Corkill, Consultant, Frontdoor Back
  • Christine Newman, Manager of Community Outreach and Volunteer Engagement, AARP New Jersey
  • Scott Curry, Active Transportation Coordinator, Department of Transportation, Charlotte, North Carolina

Leveraging Utilities and Livable Communities Advocacy

[Engaging Policymakers] AARP works nationwide to ensure that residential electric and natural gas utility rates are just and reasonable. AARP also advocates for access to reliable, high-quality telecommunications services, including broadband. Attendees will learn about the multi-state framework of AARP’s campaign for affordable utilities and how AARP state offices are leveraging their work in this important issue area. This session will help participants assess ways to incorporate utilities-related advocacy work into their livability efforts (and vice versa) to achieve successful advocacy outcomes. [CM 1.0] 

  • Coralette Hannon, Senior Legislative Representative, AARP
  • Gerri Madrid-Davis, Director, Financial Security, AARP
  • Greg Marchildon, State Director, AARP Vermont
  • Blanca Castro, Advocacy and Sacramento Metro Manager, AARP California

Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper: Changing Your Built Environment to Increase Livability and Investment

[Putting It All Together] Tactical urbanism or pop-up demonstrations are great ways to test the viability of long-range plans and investments in a community. Bismarck, North Dakota, formed private/public partnerships (P3) to test elements of downtown master plans and transportation initiatives that increase community livability. Whether it’s a temporary bike lane, brightly painted crosswalks or road improvements with lane configurations, Bismarck is applying a tactical urbanism style of community development. (A Bismarck P3 received a 2017 AARP Community Challenge Grant for a pop-up pathway project.) This session will cover do’s and don’ts, best practices and ideas for how to transform a community on a budget. [CM 1.0] 

  • Kate Herzog, President, Downtown Bismarck Community Foundation
  • Dawn Kopp, CEO, Downtown Business Association of Bismarck
  • Josh Askvig, State Director, AARP North Dakota
  • Tanya Jo Smith, Coordinator, GO! Bismarck-Mandan

Livable Communities and the Ethnic and Racial Disparities Intersection

[Putting It All Together] The panel will discuss how AARP New York and AARP Michigan are drawing critical attention to key disparities affecting older adults, especially within communities of color. The session will take a deep dive into this work and policy recommendations. An audience Q and A will address how issues of racial and ethnic disparities can be incorporated into livability work in an ongoing effort to make communities of color more livable and age-friendly with livability features and access to critical services. [CM 1.0] 

  • Coralette Hannon, Senior Legislative Representative, AARP
  • Gerri Madrid-Davis, Director, Financial Security and Consumer Affairs, AARP
  • Paula Cunningham, State Director, AARP Michigan
  • Beth Finkel, State Director, AARP New York

Livable Communities in Rural America:
Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions

[Putting It All Together] Rural communities and small towns face unique challenges and opportunities when working to become more livable. In this session, AARP leaders and partners from Oklahoma and South Dakota explore rural issues and the practical solutions they’re developing in their communities. Come prepared to ask questions, share experiences and take home resources and ideas. [CM 1.0] 

  • James Brooks, Director, AARP Office of Community Engagement
  • Sean Voskuhl, State Director, AARP Oklahoma,
  • Erik Galkowski, State Director, AARP South Dakota
  • Joe Bartmann, President, Dakota Resources
  • Kelly Wismer, Public Relations Manager, NCTA-The Rural Broadband Association

Rural Transportation:
Engaging Philanthropy, Local Providers and Promising Partners

[Engaging Partners] In rural America, which is home to one in four older Americans, access to health care and transportation can be difficult, and aging in place can be particularly challenging. Although local programs are working to provide necessary services, budgetary and regulatory challenges are paramount. Learn how Grantmakers in Aging, the Maricopa Association of Governments and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society at the University of California Berkeley brought together stakeholders to learn from different perspectives, explore technology opportunities and forge new partnerships to strengthen rural transportation programs. [CM 1.0]

  • John Feather, Chief Executive Officer, Grantmakers in Aging
  • Amy St. Peter, Deputy Executive Director, Maricopa Association of Governments

So You Need to Write an Action Plan?

[Putting It All Together] Are you ready to take the leap and begin crafting an age-friendly action plan for your community? Great! Now what? In this session, directors from Age-Friendly Boston, Age-Friendly Columbus and Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh share tips and tricks about the process and lessons they’ve learned the hard way. The session will address the Planning Phase (how to engage residents, policy makers and other community partners) and the Writing Phase (where to start as you outline, write, edit, design and gather feedback). The discussion will address how to launch an action plan once it’s published. Learn what to do and what not to do from colleagues who’ve been there. Participants will be invited to ask questions, share unique challenges and brainstorm solutions. [CM 1.0]

  • Laura Poskin, Director, Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh
  • Andrea Burns, Director, Age-Friendly Boston, Commission on Affairs of the Elderly
  • Katie White. Director, Age-Friendly Communities Columbus and Franklin Counties, The Ohio State University, School of Social Work

Strategic Partnerships:
The Strength of Age-Friendly Communities and Universities

[Engaging Partners] This session will explore the transition of Age-Friendly Columbus from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to the Ohio State University College of Social Work. The decision process, influencing factors, major strengths and innovations in implementation will be outlined. Specific examples of student internships, research and interdisciplinary projects will be detailed. [CM 1.0]

  • Katie White, Director, Age-Friendly Communities Columbus and Franklin Counties, The Ohio State University, School of Social Work
  • Marisa Sheldon, Assistant Director, Age-Friendly Communities Columbus and Franklin Counties, The Ohio State University, School of Social Work
  • Ernestine Jackson, Lead Volunteer, AARP Ohio

Transportation Momentum: How to Keep it Moving

[Putting It All Together] Representatives who engage in planning, designing and delivering innovative transportation solutions for older adults will discuss the successes, barriers and pitfalls involved in facilitating mobility solutions for older adults. Panelists represent private and nonprofit perspectives from three Colorado counties, each a member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. Panelists will share their experiences in conducting a community needs assessment, effectively engaging older adults in designing transportation solutions and creatively providing safe, affordable transportation. [CM 1.0]

  •  Jim Becker, Executive Director, Partnership for Age-Friendly Communities in Larimer County
  • Chad Federwitz, Manager, Senior Services, Pitkin County Senior Services
  • Carly Rietmann, Healthy Aging Supervisor, Eagle County Public Health and Environment
  • Bob Murphy, State Director, AARP Colorado

Video Premiere: Lifelong Housing Across Generations

[Putting It All Together] Mike Sylvester, who has physical disabilities; his wife, Beth; and her parents share a home. The “lifelong housing” amenities contained in their homes make it possible for Beth to work full-time while her parents assist with Mike’s care. Interviews with the family, the home designer, the mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and a representative of AARP Arkansas appear in the film and relate the family’s story to the need for more lifelong housing throughout the United States. Breakout groups will focus on how best to use the video to educate individuals, community partners and policy makers about the need for lifelong housing. The groups will report back, and the results will be compiled into a guide for communities to use with the video. [CM 1.0]

  • Beth Barham, Vice President, League of Women Voters of Washington County, Arkansas
  • Lou Tobian, Associate State Director, AARP Arkansas
  • Connie Saldana, Planner, Rogue Valley Council of Governments

Volunteers Can Put It All Together!

[Putting it All Together] The development of livable communities throughout the country often depends on the involvement of highly responsible and committed volunteers. Such individuals take on responsibilities that require the capacity to influence others to become involved and act with some degree of autonomy and flexibility. This session will share a guide AARP developed to illustrate four distinct volunteer roles in age-friendly activities: community volunteers who coordinate a variety of activities and participate in outreach and advocacy, experts, the community volunteer leaders who head planning efforts and statewide volunteer leaders. The roles of these volunteers often evolve. Six volunteers will discuss their work in these varying roles, their relevant prior experience, the ways they ensure a collaborative approach, the methods they use for completing their tasks, their time commitments and lessons learned.  [CM 1.0]

  • Jane King, Chair, Strategic Planning Committee, Alexandria, Virginia, Commission on Aging
  • Jim Foulds, Chair, AARP Livability Council and Executive Council Member, AARP Tennessee
  • Ken Reinhardt, Volunteer Leader, AARP Florida
  • Elaine Friesen-Strang, State President, AARP Oregon
  • Dee Ann Caudel, Volunteer Leader, AARP Alabama
  • Bob Prath, Chair, Livable Communities Advisory Team, AARP California

2018 AARP Livable Communities National Conference 

To return to the main conference page, visit or bookmark: AARP.org/Livable2018

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A red pin marks Charlotte, North Carolina, site of the 2018 AARP Livable Communities National Conference

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