‘Retirement Revolution’ focus of speech at this year’s Conference on Aging

Author and syndicated columnist Helen Dennis, considered one of the country’s foremost authorities on issues related to aging, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Conference on Healthy Aging.

The topic of Dennis’ speech is “The Retirement Revolution: What’s New?”

“I’m putting it together as we speak,” Dennis told the Pasadena Weekly. “I am going to talk about game changers that are changing the retirement and aging experience.”

According to Dennis, three top game changers are longevity, access to a village experience and technology.

“There is a new life stage between 60 and 80,” Dennis told the Weekly. “We have 20 years added to the middle of life. This period is different because we are healthier and have greater physical and mental capacity and expectations.”

Dennis said Pasadena has a strong village movement which allows people to age in their homes due to an increasing number of services offered by the city.

“It’s a community of people who care for each other,” she observed.

Dennis will also talk about technology and how it allows people to age with more independence. Her address will also include information on careers, retirement and seniors who choose what Dennis calls “encore careers.”

The conference, which begins at 8 a.m. Saturday at First Church of the Nazarene, Pasadena, 3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., is presented by the Pasadena Senior Center. Since opening in 1960, the nonprofit agency has offered recreational, educational, wellness and social services to people 50 and older.

In the United States in 1950, there were 13 million senior citizens; in 2000, that number rose to 35 million. By 2030, it is expected to more than double that number.

According to the National Council on Aging, older adults who attend occasional workshops on senior-related issues and spend time at community senior centers experience significant improvements to their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental and even economic well-being. They are also more likely to manage and possibly delay the onset of chronic disease.

Along with the talk by Dennis, this year’s event will feature updates on Social Security and Medicare, and offer workshops on hearing loss, boosting brain power, Southern California housing options, reverse mortgages, estate planning for baby boomers, stress management, protecting yourself from scams, disaster preparedness, and exploring Pasadena and beyond with public transportation.

The conference will also offer free health and fitness workshops, including free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose. 

There will also be yoga, tai chi and zumba demonstrations.

Dennis, who has won numerous awards for her work on aging, is the co-founder of Project Renewment, a movement of career women defining the next chapters in their lives. She is also the co-author of the Los Angeles Times bestselling book “Project Renewment: The First Retirement Model for Career Women.” And she has edited two books: “Retirement Preparation: What Retirement Specialists Need to Know” and “14 Steps in Managing an Aging Work Force.”

Dennis writes a syndicated column for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group (LANG) called “Successful Aging,” which reaches more than 1.6 million readers each week.

Dennis was named in 2016 as one of the top 50 advocates, researchers, innovators, writers and experts who influence and sometimes change perceptions of what it means to grow older by the PBS-produced website Next Avenue: News and Information for People over 50.

“We are committed to creating opportunities for older adults to enhance their knowledge and improve the quality of their lives,” said Akila Gibbs, executive director of the Pasadena Senior Center.

“People who come to the Pasadena Conference on Healthy Aging know very well that aging is not a problem that needs to be fixed,” Gibbs said. “Instead, healthy aging means being empowered to live active, productive and meaningful lives.”

The conference is free, but registration is required.

For more information, visit pasadenaseniorcenter.org or call (877) 236-9459. A complimentary lunch will be provided to each registered guest.