In July, I had the wonderful opportunity to serve on the presentation selection team for the 2018 Environments for Aging Conference. I was joined by Maria Lopez and Ric D'Amico in representing SAGE in this process. In total, we had ten industry professionals working alongside representatives from The Center for Health Design, Emerald Expositions and EFA Magazine. This selection process involved a rousing day of discussion, debate, disagreement and passionate determination as this team built the content for EFA18.
The review team went through every presentation proposal and narrowed it down to fill the 45 slots in the program. The diversity in topics and approaches in this year's collection of presentations was interesting. The standout presentation proposals, in my opinion, involved a multi-disciplinary approach. There is a certain depth of experience when one brings together a designer, a clinician, an operator/provider and even a direct care-giver in a presentation. This approach reinforces the collaborative nature of the planning, design and implementation process. When one adds a case study component to this collaborative approach, the resulting "lessons learned" content becomes icing on the cake in terms of take home value. This multi-perspective approach also reflects the collaborative values of SAGE as we reinforce our role as The Network for senior living environments.
I found it interesting and a bit concerning that during our discussions, one of the reviewers asked why designers and architects would attend this type of conference. The sense was that we should already know this stuff! I was taken back by that thought. Even though many of us have been involved in senior living for more that a quarter century, we must stay in a continuous learning mindset. Our world is changing so quickly that yesterday's innovative solutions are today's baseline expectations.
EFA is definitely a place for designers, architects, senior living providers, regulators, researchers and solution providers to come together to learn from each other. We must continue to learn and innovate on behalf of our clients and more importantly, for the older adults we serve. It is a dangerous place to think we have things figured out...that there is nothing more to learn. Keep asking questions. Keep seeking to understand and keep learning how we can improve the lives of older adults through the built environment. That's who we are. That's what we do!