Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Thinking Bigger at Aging and Disability Conference

Story by Richard D. Ackley, Jr.

Three Mole Lake Tribal representatives joined nearly 500 people gathered at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in the Wisconsin Dells for the 5th Annual Wisconsin Aging and Disability Network Conference last week.

The annual two-day conference focused on the concept of “Thinking Bigger” in addressing and recognizing the needs of our older population who are faced with issues surrounding disabilities which come with age.

Carli Quade, Elderly Director, Stephanie VanZile, Aging and Disability Resource Specialist, and Richard D. Ackley, Jr., Board Chair of the ADRC of the Northwoods in Crandon, participated in many of the 40 workshops offered, sharing a common purpose to serve individuals in the aging and disability community.

The intent was to strengthen their knowledge and expertise to better serve those with challenges and to enable older individuals to live their best. Some of the benefits offered at the conference were ways to broaden thinking in a “bigger” way in meeting many of the challenges our aging population faces on a daily basis.

In 1988, the first aging and disability resource programs gained funding, followed by family care to create today’s aging network according to Carrie Molke, Director of the Bureau of Aging & Disability Resources. Molke stated, “We are one of the first states to offer managed long-term care, offering managed care in every county of our state!”

“We have been on a quest for greater health care security for all ages 50 and older,” said keynote speaker, Dr. Catherine Alicia Georges. Georges serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Retired People (AARP), is the AARP National President of Volunteers and had a career in nursing.

Georges offered many ways to “think bigger” when addressing the needs of an aging America. “Today, the AARP has over 38 million members. In 2014, the world’s oldest ‘baby boomer’ turned 50 years old, and by the year 2030, those age 65 will double.”

The annual conference had 42 exhibitors on hand to meet and talk with attendees as well as nine different sponsors who all serve America’s aging population.

Robert Kellerman, Executive Director of the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, said, “Our common purpose presents shared opportunities and challenges; with support and cooperation, we can build collaborative solutions to better help all which we serve!”

For more information in Mole Lake, contact Stephanie VanZile at 715-478-7500 or the ADRC of the Northwoods in Crandon at 800-699-6704.