Forum, Network and Resource for the Challenges of an Aging Society

Past Events

Long Distance Caregiving

Long Distance Caregiving

Thursday December 6, 2018

THE TAKEAWAY: In this forum three experts discussed the practical, and emotional challenges of long distance care giving.

We would like to thank our sponsors, Rhoda Goldman Plaza and the Stupski Foundation, and our presenters, Beth MacLeod LCSW, Donna Schempp LCSW, Christina Irving LCSW

Here are a few book and reading resources suggested by the speakers:

Butler, Katy:  Knocking on Heaven’s Door, The Path to a Better Way of Death, 2013, Scribner

McLeod, Beth Witrogen:  Caregiving, The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss and Renewal, 1999, John Wiley & Sons

And a Long Distance Resource List

Aging with Power, Grace and Humor

Aging with Power, Grace and Humor

November 15, 2018
Ed Roberts Campus


THE TAKEAWAY: What’s What Productions presented a solo performance about the trials and tribulations of aging, such as menopause, care-taking older parents and all the funny and moving moments that happen along the way.

In What’s Wrong with a Mouse? Vicki works to heal a 20-year rift with her father, who disowned her for being queer. As Vicki cares for her father during his final days, she travels back in time with humor and heart.

We would like to thank our forum sponsors, venue sponsor, the Ed Roberts Campus, and our premier season sponsors, the Rhoda Goldman Plaza and the Stupski Foundation.

Here is a video of the performance:

What's Wrong with a Mouse? from Susanne Stadler on Vimeo.

The Role of Film Watching and Film Study for Older Adults

The Role of Film Watching and Film Study for Older Adults

October 4, 2018 5:30pm-8:00pm
Rhoda Goldman Plaza

THE TAKEAWAY: Thank you to Rachel Main, from the Alzheimer’s Association and co-founder of Creative Aging San Francisco  and Mary Scott, who has been teaching film as a passion for this insightful evening. They offered us a look ‘behind the scenes’  – the power of movies to foster an inclusive experience for people with different abilities (see  ‘Movie Moments at the Vogue‘) , a place to connect with others that transcends cultural and social differences and lastly a place that allows us to tap into our love for play and creativity.   The evening started with a clip from ‘Singing in the Rain’ and somehow many of us walked away with the determination to do more singing and dancing!

Philanthropy in the Field of Aging: Cultivating Innovative Thinking and Solutions

Philanthropy in the Field of Aging: Cultivating Innovative Thinking and Solutions

September 6, 2018 5:30-8:00pm
Google Community Space

THE TAKEAWAY: Innovative thinking does not only happen in the Bay Area tech industry it also happens in philanthropy, both public and private. An example is the law that passed in San Francisco in 2016 that designates annual funding (the ‘Dignity Fund’) for essential community-based services and supports for San Francisco seniors and adults with disabilities. It is a first-in-the-nation law.

Even though this law is an immense achievement, much more is needed. This forum explored the potential role and impact of private funders in cultivating innovative programs, thinking and solutions that support the diverse Bay Area population in growing old with dignity.

Thank you to Glen Galaich, CEO of the Stupski Foundation, and Shirin Vakharia, Director for Health & Aging, Marin Community Foundation, who presented and discussed the impact their foundations want to make in the field of aging.

Older Adults as Drivers of Innovation

Older Adults as Drivers of Innovation

JUNE 7, 2018

THE TAKEAWAY: This evening was full of entrepreneurial inspiration. We heard from older adults and learned how they are continuing their careers and pursuing their passions as entrepreneurs here in the Bay Area.

The conversation was led by Janet Oh, Paul Tasner, Kate Williams and was moderated by Gretchen Addi.

Thank you to our wonderful panelists, all those who came and the Arup Foresight for hosting this incredible evening.

Older Adults as Drivers of Innovation from Susanne Stadler on Vimeo.

Feminism and Ageism

Feminism and Ageism

MAY 3, 2018 


THE TAKEAWAY: Dr. Doris Bersing made a call to action, reminding the (majority female) participants in this forum that there is still much to fight for, that we can use the skills we learned when fighting for feminism to go to battle against ageism, encouraging us to embrace older age as an amazing opportunity to tap into the richness of our skills and to become mentors to younger generations.

Thank you Doris for your passion and persistence for mentorship and for seeing older adults as beautiful old souls and honor their diginity in the work you do!

Here is a short sound recording of this forum!

Insider Voices: Sharing Different Paths Taken, Lessons Learned and Questions Unanswered

Insider Voices: Sharing Different Paths Taken, Lessons Learned and Questions Unanswered

APRIL 5, 2018, 6 PM TO 8 PM

THE TAKEAWAY: This forum was a powerful learning experience because the teachers were four women who spoke from personal experience with great clarity, honesty and gratitude. They were so generous in sharing their very personal questions, challenges and thoughts.
Sandy: Inspired us to make our voices heard, vote and be an activist.
Stefanie: Told us that there is always time to make new friends. Although at her age (80s), you cannot make long term friends anymore. She inspired us with her dreams and sense of humor.
Sherry: Taught us that we actually know about aging when we consider that we are standing on the shoulders of our ancestors. It is also so important to create a circle of support and ask for help.
Judy: Warmed our hearts when she actually described what being at home with growing older meant for her -adjusting emotionally to being an older person and adjusting to a new life at home with, in her case, chronic pain of arthritis.

“I walked away with much optimism and very proud to be part of the older women’s club” (Susi Stadler, 60).

Thank you to panelists Sherri Hayes Sawyer 63, Judy Jacobs 70, Sandy Ouye Mori 75, Stephanie DiGiorgio 83 and to our moderator Beth MacLeod, 60+.

Free to Move- From the Fullness of a Long Life

MARCH 1, 2018, 6 PM TO 8 PM

THE TAKEAWAY: Greacian Goeke connected us all by asking us to move. A simple invitation that showed all of us that by not moving we are not expressing ourselves to the fullest. Thank you to Greacian and the members of the Improptu No Tutus for transforming us into social beings that evening.

Here is a taste of the connections made:

Design Without Limits:  The Art of Creating Beautiful, Accessible Homes

Design Without Limits: The Art of Creating Beautiful, Accessible Homes

Thursday January 10, 2019

THE TAKEAWAY: Design for accessibility benefits us every day in public life, from curb cuts to stair rails to wider doors. In the realm of the private home, it is mostly shunned because accessibility has gotten a bad rap. It’s often associated with stainless steel grab bars, utilitarian roll-in showers, clunky stair lifts, and other institutional images. But this isn’t necessary. Wheelchair-riding architect Erick Mikiten, AIA discussed the importance of a design-first approach to accessibility, which makes these features welcomed rather than feared and gives people of different abilities and ages the option to live in their homes long term.

As a Governor-appointed California Building Standards Commissioner, Erick Mikiten also gave an overview of the differences between the ADA, the building code, and Universal Design as they relate to single-family homes.

Check out these 10 ideas for a great accessible home.

Mikiten 10 Great UD Ideas

We would like to thank our season sponsors, Rhoda Goldman Plaza and the Stupski Foundation, our venue sponsor, Ed Roberts Campus, and our dedicated volunteers for making this event possible.

Social Security, Medicare and the Campaign Against Entitlements

Social Security, Medicare and the Campaign Against Entitlements

February 1, 2018
San Francisco



The powerful slides of the presentations by Carroll Estes and Kevin Prindiville provide excellent data and concrete arguments why social insurance is beneficial for a flourishing society and economy.

Carroll Estes- Social Justice and Social Insurance

Kevin Prindiville Justice in Aging- Fighting Senior Poverty Through Law

Social Security, Medicare and the Campaign Against Entitlements from Susanne Stadler on Vimeo.

Thank you to our sponsors: Community Living Campaign and  Mikiko Huang and Marshall Stoller


How To Prepare For A Meaningful End Of Life

How To Prepare For A Meaningful End Of Life

January 11, 2018
Ed Roberts Campus Berkeley

THE TAKEAWAY: This forum had magic. Deep compassion, experience and humanity resonated in the conversation between Theologian Megory Anderson, Ph.D and Katy Butler, author and journalist. Megory who also leads the Sacred Dying Foundation shared her work about helping people to understand their last wishes and rites of passage. Katy Butler’s talked about her work on finding a path to the end of life that allows dying with dignity. Many of us walked away with looking at death with less fear and more hope.

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Forum Sponsor: Age Wave

Venue Sponsors Ed Roberts Campus and Center for Accessible Technology

How To Prepare For A Meaningful End Of Life from Susanne Stadler on Vimeo.

How can we keep older adults connected?

How can we keep older adults connected?

December 7,  2017
Metta Fund, San Francisco

THE TAKEAWAY:  A huge thank you to our panel of speakers and moderator, Katy Hoepke from San Francisco Village, Katie Wade from Senior Center Without Walls, Cathy Michalec from Little Brothers- Friends of the Elderly, Keith Wong from the Felton Institute and Cathy Spensely, Director of Senior Division at the Felton Institute.

Here are some of the major points discussed this evening:

  1. Barriers to connection: Language (even within a family – especially in Chinese Community), quality of housing, transportation, lack of social care, shame (asking for help)and ageism.
  2. Isolation of Family Caregivers: More attention needs to be given to the social isolation of caregivers. They need better access to respite options.
  3. Connecting the connectors: The four panelists from four organizations who, in very different ways, address the social isolation, did not know each other. All agreed that there was room for collaboration.
  4. Volunteers: Find, match and motivate volunteers.  Many young people in SF want to make a difference. It is important to creating value for the volunteer and communicating the value. It is always a reciprocal relationship.
  5. Finding help: Not enough people know how to find the organizations who can help them. Nonprofits need the funds to invest in branding/marketing/outreach.

Ideas from the wrap-up brainstorming:

  • Resource guide for MDs.
  • Meeting between Chinese leaders and programs that address social isolation so that these services reach marginalized populations.
  • Start a conversation: How do we move towards intergenerational consciousness?
  • More arts in creative aging.
  • Make it an award/reward: Privilege to talk to an elder and learn about their aging experience and their perspective on how to manage this phase of life.
  • Involve arts in reducing shame.
Navigating The Encore Years

Navigating The Encore Years

October 5, 2017
Rhoda Goldman Plaza 

THE TAKEAWAY: What do you yearn for? Not too many people ask themselves this question in their ‘encore’ years. For Life Coach Josephine Withers this is the start of an exploration and the beginning of an action plan. Attendees were asked to role played coaching and discovered the power of this question. The goal is to give ourselves permission for a personal renaissance in this phase of life. It became also clear that this personal journey needs policy support  – that means the environment has to enable older adults – from curb cuts to elevator doors that close slowly. Much work still has to be done!

Taste, Flavor & Quality of Life

Taste, Flavor & Quality of Life

November 2, 2017
Ed Roberts Campus, Berkeley


Dr. Dara-Abrams is a gerontechnologist and sensory data scientist gave a passionate and in-depth presentation about the role of taste and flavor in how we experience life. It was clear that diminishing taste buds can cause loss of appetite, isolation and other related health issues. Senior Residences should place great importance on flavor choices to stimulate emotions, social connections, memories. To learn more look at the presentation TASTE & FLAVOR.

How To Provide Human-Centered Care To Older Adults?

How To Provide Human-Centered Care To Older Adults?

September 5, 2017
Ed Roberts Campus 

THE TAKEAWAY: As people live longer, the chances of having multiple chronic conditions, disabilities and different degrees of memory impairment increase, making community based, human-centered, integrated/coordinated care models more needed than ever. This forum is a candid exploration of what is and what should be and brings together the perspectives of  healthcare delivery, community based models and medical care. Presenters are Bob Edmondson,consultant, former CEO of OnLok and current board member of John Muir Health, Andrew Scharlach, Eugene and Rose Kleiner Professor of Aging and Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Aging Services at UC Berkeley, Dr. Ken Covinsky, Professor of Medicine, UCSF

AHWGO September 5th Panel from Susanne Stadler on Vimeo.

‘Evolving Cities’: Observations, Insights and Views on Aging in Urban Environments

‘Evolving Cities’: Observations, Insights and Views on Aging in Urban Environments

JUNE 15, 2017

THE TAKEAWAY: Dr. Chris Luebkeman was incredibly inspiring at this forum. Thank you for jogging our minds and creating an arc between the circular economy and a wedge for a table leg in Switzerland. Aging is part of the everyday – and as June Fisher said, there is a whole list of mundane solutions that would make her life better. It is not complicated but we have to not only provoke and incentivize, we also have to have the confidence to tap into our own ingenuity and creativity and answer the questions– what do we want and what do we need to ‘own’ our aging process and help others to do the same?

In case you missed the presentation here is a link to it: 20170613-AHWGO-CLuebkeman Presentation

On The Intention Not To Slow Down

On The Intention Not To Slow Down

May 18, 2017
Ed Roberts Campus At Ashby Bart 3075 Adeline Street, Berkeley


THE TAKEAWAY: Thank you, Anita Bowers, for leading a lovely introspective evening by reading some of your poems and talking about your own process of growing older. Here is one of her poems from her book of poetry, We Are The Hunger, entitled, Tent.


My old blue tent rises on uneven ground,
staked tenuously against the wind
blowing off frozen buttes– held

by some twine I found
and some eight-inch metal hammered down
into dry dirt, among the busying of insects.

I have enclosed a space
which shadows of pinoak and red madrone will reinhabit

Those I love
are still asleep, near me
and in places I’ll go back to. There is a breathing of things

that comforts me. What I’m tethered to
crumbles, but not yet, not now. My living, too,

which I love

is nothing more than an enclosure
around a silence

where the intricate slow labor of breaking down
is all that continues.

20th Century Senior Housing: Trends, Case Studies

20th Century Senior Housing: Trends, Case Studies

April 20, 2017
Offices of Perkins Eastman, San Francisco

THE TAKEAWAY: Leslie Moldow, Principal at Perkins Eastman San Francisco gave a thorough and thought provoking presentation of the trends in Senior Housing. She illustrated them with examples from the companpy’s portfolio of Senior Housing Projects. Perkins Eastman researches and publishes these trends annually.

Here are the trends for 2017 (courtesy of Perkins Eastman):

  1. Aging IN Community
  2. Creating PARTNERSHIPS
  3. Serving the MIDDLE INCOME
  4. Embracing the power of EXPERIENCE
  5. Cultivating WELLNESS
  7. Convergence of the LONG TERM CARE MODEL
  8. The future of MEMORY SUPPORT
  10. Responding to DISRUPTORS (from Uber to Alexa)
When Retirement Comes With a Daily Dose of Cannabis

When Retirement Comes With a Daily Dose of Cannabis

March 16, 6pm to 8pm


THE TAKEAWAY As reported in a recent NYTimes article medical marijuana has become an alternative for powerful drugs for many seniors and is increasingly adopted from retirement communities to nursing homes. Harbor Bay Clinic in Oakland, a medical cannabis dispensary with a wide array of patient services, will address these questions. The Huffington Post reports that Patrick Stewart/Captain Pircard is using Medical Marijuana to combat athritis pain.

Representatives from the Harborside Medical Dispensary in Oakland presented about their services, use of products and accessibility.

Information on medical cannabis use in California.



February 23, 2017

The scale of advocacy for older adults ranges from a personal one on one to concerted grass roots efforts and organized action. Barbara Kate Repa beautifully illustrated her experience and involvment in all these different levels, from the Funeral Society to the Ombudsman Program for Nursing Homes.The most poignant contribution came from a resident at Rhoda Goldman Plaza who stood up and said: “I have Alzheimers and I can still do things”.

Barbara Kate, a lawyer and journalist, has devoted her career to translating legal issues for consumers. She’s the author of several legal self-help books published by Nolo, as well as WillMaker—best-selling software that enables consumers to write their own wills, healthcare directives, powers of attorney and final arrangements. She currently writes and edits for a number of websites and publications on the legal and practical aspects of aging, caregiving, estate planning and end of life and currently volunteers with a number of groups focused on aging.

Thank you Barbara!