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

Past Events

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 TAKE AWAY: 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 rytes of passage. Katy Butler’s talked about her work on finding a path to the end of life that allows dying with digniity. Many of us walked away with looking at death with less fear and more hope.

This forum was recorded and the video will be available soon on this site.

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Forum Sponsor: Age Wave

Venue Sponsors Ed Roberts Campus and Center for Accessible Technology


How can we keep older adults connected?

How can we keep older adults connected?

December 7,  2017
Metta Fund, San Francisco

THE TAKE AWAY:  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 TAKE AWAY: 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 TAKE AWAY: 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

TAKE AWAY: 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


TAKE AWAY 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!

‘Grandparenting’  and Intergenerational Support in an Era of Family Complexity

‘Grandparenting’ and Intergenerational Support in an Era of Family Complexity

January 19, 2017


We have to actively promote intergenerational interactions and living. Current social and legal structures do not support the complexity of family life. This will become even more urgent in the time of increased longevity.

Charlene E. Depner, Ph.D. brings 30 years of experience in academia and government to the challenge of transforming social systems to work better for people of all ages in our diverse society. As Deputy Director of the Center for Families, Children and the Courts, a multidisciplinary office of California’s Judicial Branch, she oversees programs providing statewide education, quantitative data, and services that assist courts in meeting the emerging needs of today’s families. Her primary interests are in current social and demographic forces shaping families and in the rich variety of innovative responses developing at the grass-roots level.

Food On The Table – Aging In Place

Food On The Table – Aging In Place

December 15, 6pm to 8pm
Uber Headquarters
San Francisco


This forum provided for a rich discussion between high touch, Meals on Wheels, and high tech, UberEats, and revealed an amazing potential  to learn from each other for the benefit of the clients of both organizations.

The reality of an aging urban population with many single households needs problem understanding and collaborative action.

Stay tuned for a link to this evening’s presentations and discussion.


Retiring Retirement

Retiring Retirement

November 17, 6pm to 8pm
Ed Roberts Campus, Berkeley

A memorable evening – an informed presentation stirs an amazing, thoughtful, interdisciplinary discussion on retirement, the meaning of ‘old’, change, the seductive powers of anxiety and fear, the role of play throughout life, poverty, time affluence.

Thank you all for contributing to our mutual learning!

The following quote by Ruth Finkelstein is fitting for this evening:
“Currently, retirement is like crossing the rubicon — from being a person to only being. I’d like to change that so that employers value the skills, experience and knowledge of older employees and make it possible for them to work on their own terms. And that there is a whole universe of opportunity on the other side of retirement — entailing learning and contributing and leading. And that we value people whatever they decide to do.”

Thank you Erin for leading this evening!Here is a link to the two studies, Erin quoted from:

Audio Recording will follow!

An Encore in the Peace Corp

An Encore in the Peace Corp

October 20, 6pm to 8pm
Francis of Assisi Residence

Living for 2 years + in a brick home without electricity, internet and running water in Tanzania. Leading the following projects: building a well, getting medical equipment for the local hospital, getting life stock into the village, planting a garden that inspires villagers to grow their own food, teaching in the school. Returning at age 66 and looking for ways to continue teaching – preferably teenagers.Accepting differences between humans as something which just is.Learning patience.

Thank  you! Adrianne




Growing Up – Growing Older

Growing Up – Growing Older

September 30, 6pm to 8pm
Destiny Arts, Oakland


This was a truly memorable evening with a stellar improve theater troupe and a stellar audience. They collaborated to weave together stories about growing up and growing older. We all realized that we are who we are and we share commonalities across our lives, no matter what age. Like – lying about our age – even when we are 93 we still get a kick out of getting people to believe  that we are 106.

Luckily we filmed this evening –

Thank you to the actors of Play Back Theater for a great performance and Destiny Arts for hosting this evening.


Life Outside The Home: Redefining Mobility to Ensure Social Inclusion

Life Outside The Home: Redefining Mobility to Ensure Social Inclusion

June 23, 6pm to 8pm
IDEO Offices,Pier 28 Annex
San Francisco



This forum left no doubt that mobility needs redefining so older adults can continue to participate in public life. One of the achievements of this evening was that three very knowledgeable presenters from very different disciplines and backgrounds heard each other and talked to each other.

The other achievement was that we had two eloquent and very informative expert users on the panel who ‘drove the message home’ – that it is demeaning to have to prove every year that you are still disabled when you are an older person and things do not get better but normally get more complicated and that it makes a difference when the conductors on Caltrain are personable and care for their riders.

Some points which stuck – please add to them!

  • Paratransit does not consider hearing loss as disability
  • Embedding older adults with younger ‘maker’ and ‘design’ people makes sense for all.
  • Travel Ambassadors already exist in some cities.
  • All stake holders have to be part of the solutions in order to initiate real change (how will Dan Gillette involve BART in his co-design studio?)
  • Learning a public transit system is very challenging for older adults who had to give up their car.
  • How and where people travel in the City is part of their life’s story and influences their life story.

Thank you to Richard Weiner with Nelson Nyygaard, Dan Gillette with Citris at UC Berkeley, Jarmin Yeh, doctoral candidate at UCSF, Dr. June Fischer, Barbara Beskind and Gretchen Addi, IDEO and our audience for a great level of discussion and exploration.


Reclaiming the Role of Elder in the Age of Longevity

Reclaiming the Role of Elder in the Age of Longevity

Thursday May 19, 6pm to 8pm
Ed Roberts Campus, at Ashby BART
3075 Adeline Street, Berkeley

Over a quarter of baby boomers will live to celebrate their 90th birthday. True to form, the Boomers are not blindly adopting the 65+ lifestyle of their parents.  Most are asking, “What’s Next?” Many are looking for a healthier pace than they lived in their peak child rearing and professional years; but they remain eager to repurpose their skills in service of something that gives them a strong sense of meaning and purpose.  This interactive presentation gave a brief overview of the Sage-ing International perspective, which emphasizes reaping the wisdom of our life experience as a source of service to our families and communities and as a legacy to future generations.

Charlene E. Depner, Ph.D. is a Sage-ing International Intern and proud alum of The American Society on Aging Leadership Institute. She has over 30 years of experience working on child and family issues in academe and government.  Her longstanding focus has been on the social and demographic drivers shaping the American Family.   She is passionate about optimizing the quality life in of the second half of adulthood, building intergenerational bridges, and working with people as they navigate this uncharted stage of the life course.


Thank you Charlie Depner for an inspired and intimate evening of reflection!

Communicating Aging Issues At The Policy Level

Communicating Aging Issues At The Policy Level

Thursday April 21, 6pm to 8pm

Brooke Hollister PhD,  led this work session about how to effectively communicate aging issues at the policy level. Brooke is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Institute for Health & Aging at the University of California, San Francisco. Thank you Brooke for an engaging evening – here is to political activism and the research which supports it! Check out the Newsletter of the Community Living Campaign in San Francisco for ideas where to engage locally.


Political Activism

  • Every cause is political. Every group can be a political action group.
  • Politics is more accessible than you think.
  • Start at the local level
  • Sign up for listservs and newsletters from the groups you respect to get your news.
  • It is all about building relationships also with people you are not aligned with.
  • Know the political structure.
  • Concise message is key
  • Persistence is essential

Current Health and Aging

  • Health and Housing might become linked in the future.
  • Dual eligibility is handled differently in every county and an experiment.
  • Only by increasing the revenue stream can we tackle aging issues.
  • Older American’s Act has been reauthorized but is lacking ‘tooth’.
  • Pulling on heartstrings does not work for aging issues anymore – it is about cost saving and/or revenue streams.
  • AARP is starting to act more local – that is where the action is.
Eat Well to Live Well – The Art of ‘Green’

Eat Well to Live Well – The Art of ‘Green’

March 17, 2016 6 pm to 8pm

We all know that eating well is good for us.This is even more important in older age. Yet there are many reasons why many of us don’t do it. We do not understand the direct connection between food and well being, we do not have access to healthy food, we do not know how to prepare it and we lack the motivation because we are lonely. Presenter Laura Knoff is passionate about nutrition and shared her deep knowledge with us.

Laura holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Florida Atlantic University, and was a Senior Research Associate in the Lipoprotein Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for eight years. She is a Bauman College certified Nutrition Consultant and has been studying nutrition since 1975. She has been a Nutrition Consultant instructor at Bauman College since 2000. She is a registered professional member of the National Association of Nutritional Professionals (NANP) and is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition by NANP. She is the author of “Veggiewoman’s Guide to Health: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free Eating” and “The Whole-Food Guide to Overcoming Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Strategies & Recipes for Eating well with IBS, Indigestion and other Digestive Disorders”

THE TAKE AWAY: Laura’s Presentation, Laura’ Favorite Greens

Audio File:

Aging Gracefully – Life at Home and Quality of Life

Aging Gracefully – Life at Home and Quality of Life

Thursday February 18, 6pm to 8pm
Francis of Assisi Community
145 Guerrero Street, San Francisco

AHWGO has been piloting an interdisciplinary model of problem understanding and solving to aging at home. In this presentation we shareed our experience, our process and recommendations that are responding to the aging process and draw inspiration from a new, expanded notion of what the role of home is as we get older

TAKE AWAY: 160218_AHWGO_agingGracefullyPresentation_final