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Conference to focus on positive approach to aging

Aging brings changes in life and lifestyle, as well as new challenges -- and opportunities.

Making the most of inevitable changes and meeting the challenges, while also taking advantage of opportunities will be the focus of the 2013 edition of northwest Kansas spring conference on aging: "Full Circle: The Best is Yet to Be."

The popular event will be April 26 at Gateway Fellowship Church Impact Center in Oakley.

The conference program is scheduled 9:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The 2013 lineup of speakers will feature Karen Ridder, Topeka, representing the Kansas Humanities Council, as keynote speaker. She will present "Bucket Lists and Looking Back" as she encourages attendees to reflect on accomplishments and consider what they might like to do as they approach the closing chapters of their lives.

Closing speaker Deb Sellers will offer tips for adapting to challenges associated with aging and encourage attendees to examine their beliefs about aging and consider aging as another stage in life's journey. Sellers, who is K-State Research and Extension's state specialist in adult development and aging, advocates a positive approach to the challenges and opportunities associated with each stage in life.

Attendees can take part in three of six breakout sessions. Presentations and presenters include:

* Falling Less in Kansas: Reducing Risks -- Teresa Radebaugh, Carl and Rozina Cassat professor in aging, and director, Regional Institute on Aging, Wichita State University, Wichita. Radebaugh, who acknowledges falls can be devastating for older adults and can result in life-changing injuries -- or death -- will offer ideas on reducing the risks in everyday life.

* The Who, When, Where, What and How of Guardianship vs. Conservatorship -- Randy Clinkscales, attorney with Clinkscales Elder Law Practice, Hays, will explain the differences between the two and help attendees consider current needs while planning for future needs.

* Behind Closed Doors: Intimacy and Aging -- Gayle Doll, director of the Center on Aging in the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University, Manhattan. Doll will address issues about sexuality and aging.

* Legal Issues and Farm Succession -- Michael Irvin, Kansas Farm Bureau. Irvin, who grew up on a farm in Goodland, is an attorney and knowledgeable about issues many families face.

* Getting Financially Prepared: Avoid Disaster -- Jamie Rathbun, K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agent in Ellsworth County. Rathbun will give tips for ensuring records and other essential documents are up to date, stored safely and can be accessed in the event of a disaster.

* Mental Health Crisis Intervention/Mental Health First Aid -- Ken Loos, High Plains Mental Health, Hays. Loos will offer tips for framing effective communications during a health crisis.

The cost to attend is $25 per person or $40 for two family members, and includes conference materials, a noon meal and facility fees for registrations received by Friday. Registration at the door is $35 per person; lunch and conference materials cannot be guaranteed for registrations at the door.

For more information or a registration brochure, go to the Northwest Area Extension Office website at www.northwest.ksu.edu or call the Ellis County Extension office at (785) 628-9430.

The regional conference is sponsored by county Extension offices in northwest Kansas, K-State Research and Extension Northwest Area Office; Northwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging; Fort Hays State University Department of Health and Human Performance; Kansas Humanities Council; and Logan County Health Department.

Linda Beech is a Kansas State University Research & Extension agent in Ellis County specializing in family and consumer sciences.

lbeech@ksu.edu