Skip to content

Breakout Sessions: Thursday, June 20

2019 AARP Livable Communities Rural Livability Workshop, Portland, Maine

Download the Presentation

Infrastructure (Health)

Access to quality, affordable, convenient health care is one of the challenges of living in a rural area. Learn how partnerships (and celebrations!) can connect people to medical care and family caregiving supports. 

Connections, Coordination and Celebration

  • Sarah Toevs, Professor and Director, Center for the Study of Aging, Boise State University (Idaho)

Age-Friendly Rural Communities: The Role of Collaboration and Partnership

  • Randall Hoak, Associate State Director, AARP New York
  • Donna Beal, Executive Director, Mercy Care for the Adirondacks

Engaging Native Americans

  • Mashell Sourjohn, Associate State Director/Community Outreach, AARP Oklahoma

Download the Presentation


Finding the best transportation program for a rural community takes good planning by dedicated partners. Hear how communities are identifying the best transportation services for their area.

Moderator: Alan Ormsby, State Director, AARP Utah

Getting Around in the Sticks

  • Amelia Bland Waller, Chair, Senior Advocacy Committee, Grayson County, Virginia

Stranded in the Berkshires: A Multi-Sector Approach to Filling Transportation Gaps

  • Margaret “Peg” McDonough, Planner and Regional Coordinator, Age-Friendly Berkshires (Massachusetts)
  • Wendy Krom, Lead Organizer, Berkshire Interfaith Organizing

Strengthening Local Transportation Options

  • Ivory Craig, Associate State Director/Community Outreach, AARP Mississippi

Download the Presentation

Infrastructure (Economic Development)

To attract and retain a vibrant workforce, rural communities are creating policies and development strategies to ensure that employees have the housing and amenities they need, that economic advances are sustainable and the environment is protected. Panelists will talk about creating vibrant downtowns, developing workforce housing and engaging young people in community planning and governance.

Moderator: Erik Gaikowski, State Director, AARP South Dakota

Affordable Housing in a Tourism Economy

  • Harrison Rue, Community Building and Transit-Oriented Development Administrator, City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii

Housing Development Post 2008

  • Bob Jones, Economic Development Director, City of Cuba, Wisconsin

Engaging Youth in North Dakota

  • Emily Brown, Community Engagement Manager, Main Street Initiative, North Dakota Department of Commerce

Download the Presentation


Manufactured housing, accessory dwelling units, "missing middle" housing and home maintenance and renovation programs all have a direct impact on the ability of people to age safely and comfortably in rural communities. Learn about the tools and innovative programs that support housing advocacy efforts.

Moderator: Nikki Hutchison, Associate State Director/Advocacy, AARP South Carolina

Housing Solutions for All Ages: Small Towns and Rural Communities

  • Rodney Harrell, Ph.D Director, Livability Thought Leadership, AARP Public Policy Institute

Aging Homes, Aging Alaskans: Why Renovating Makes Sense

  • Jim McCall, Officer, Housing Relations, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation

Community Aging in Place: Low-Cost, High-Impact Home Modifications

  • Denise Lord, Senior Director of Communications and Planning, Maine State Housing

Download the Presentation


Advocacy requires motivating and organizing individuals and groups to work for a common goal. Effective advocacy moves the livability agenda forward at the local level by implementing changes that residents want and need to thrive. Hear about livable advocacy victories and challenges.

Moderator: Martin Burns, Senior Advisor, AARP Campaigns

An Appalachian Approach to Advocacy

  • Sandy Troth, Volunteer Livability Ambassador (Virginia)

Age Friendly Inclusion in Local Budgets

  • Jessica Lemann, Associate State Director/Local Advocacy, AARP Texas

Winning at the Local Ballot Box

  • Brad Anderson, State Director, AARP Iowa

Download the Presentation


Pedestrian safety and bicycle-friendly roadways are key to encouraging people of all ages to be as healthy as possible. Programs that help people who don't drive get to the places they need to go are vital for health and well-being. Learn how communities in Maine are creating transportation options and making roadways safer for people who bike, walk, drive or roll.

Moderator: Jane Margesson, Communication Director, AARP Maine

A Taxi to the Bus?

  • Sue Lessard, Town Manager, Bucksport, Maine

Enhancing Bike and Pedestrian Safety

  • Pam Chenea, Coordinator, Wayne Aging at Home (Maine)

Volunteer Transportation: Partnering with Regional Organizations to Meet Local Needs

  • Candy Eaton, Chair, Age-Friendly Sullivan (Maine)

Putting Rubber on the Road in a Rural Setting

  • Al Cressy, Fellow, UMaine Center on Aging

2019 AARP Livable Communities Rural Livability Workshop 

To return to the main conference page, visit or bookmark:

Route 424 South, Maryland

Illustration by 123rf

Our Free Publications!

See the complete list at

Follow Us

Contact Us

  • Email AARP Livable Communities at

  • Ask about the AARP Livability Index by completing this online form.

  • AARP Members: For questions about your benefits, AARP The Magazine or the AARP Bulletin, visit the AARP Contact Us page or call 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277).