CSA Conference–Enter a stranger leave a friend



The CSA Conference 2016 is a three day conference that combined both the CSA Conference and the International Conference on Positive Aging.

I arrived in Washington DC on Thursday so I could be rested for the beginning of the conference. I have been to and driven in Washington DC many times but that was a long time ago. Today’s arrival was nerve racking. I don’t mind traffic circles but I would like to be able to read the street before you turn not after you miss the turn. Whew after many drives around blocks I finally made it to the hotel. I decided to treat myself to valet parking but how will I get all my “stuff” on Friday morning for my display. No problem, the valet put all the things on a cart and held it till I needed it. So much nicer than walking through the hotel with my little red wagon.

My room is great. I love the love the location. I am right at the elevators. Some people would not like that due to all the noise but nothing ever kept me from sleeping.

I must admit the food is really great and you get just enough to keep you on the right track calorie wise.

Enough about the arrival. The first day of the conference was a little overwhelming. (This was my first professional conference.) I went in for breakfast before I began setting up. What a morning spread of breakfast sliders, fruit, and oatmeal. I got everything all set up and I must admit it looked really good. I was giving a Ruby Slipper away each day of the conference so I had a bowl with a sign for business cards. During the morning I stayed by my table ready to show how the Ruby Slipper Car Seat Cover just swivels the person into the right position in the car seat. As people came up I would explain how it worked and have them try it. Most everyone understood how it worked even before I explained it.

Time for lunch. What a great meal! We all chatted around the table until time for the award ceremony. I was finally feeling much more comfortable in my surroundings and went to a couple of workshops. I learned about finding my passion, purpose, and engagement in Dr.  Paula Singer and Linda Roszak Burton’s workshop. When we retire we are no longer sitting in a rocking chair. We are finding the things that have meaning in our lives and working on that. We may end up having done 5 or more jobs after we retire. The other workshop I went to was Dr. Jean Haskell’s on: Staying Sharp through Improv. We learned we need to give up control and go with the flow. I found out that it is a lot harder than it sounds.  What fun we had there!  Thinking fast on my feet is not one of my talents. It was great to hear that there are workshops that you can take to hone this skill.

Time for the President’s reception. This was really a nice relaxed time where I got to talk to a lot of people from all parts of the country. Not only did we talk about business but about what everyone was doing and what their families were up to.

Time for some rejuvenating sleep.

Breakfast, Yea! Another good meal. We had three types of quiche, more fruit and oatmeal. Now off to my Ruby Slipper Car Seat Cover table. Yesterday was the start of the Power of Positive Aging and today is the start of the CSA Conference. I had fun talking with people and telling them about The Ruby Slipper and how the name came about. Everyone would take a turn on my car seat and see how easily you can swivel into place.

Are those the lunch time chimes I’m hearing? What will lunch be today? Another good meal and nothing left on the plate. Food is always a good way to get to know people. We had a good discussion around the table. After the meal we had the Service to Seniors Award.

After lunch I attended two workshops. The first one was given by Ellen Belk, CDP on Holistic Approach to Dementia Care. This was very interesting. She explained how you can do special things to help a person with dementia such as not having any rugs with patterns on them because the person with dementia sees the pattern as something that needs to be picked up. She relayed what it is like by using her own personal stories of dealing with dementia in her family. The next workshop was by Kay Van Norman on outlining a Vitality Portfolio, which helps clients evaluate their vitality status and create a practical roadmap for lifelong health.

Saturday night’s reception was another wonderful time of meeting and talking to everyone. After the reception we saw a film called: I remember Better When I Paint. This was a documentary showing how the creative arts can enhance the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s.

Sunday morning comes early. Another great breakfast and conversation at the table. After the keynote speaker there was time for everyone to stop by my table for more information or to see the swivel of the Ruby Slipper Car Seat Cover in action.

The morning workshop I attended was given by Amanda Combs and Kimberly Hulett on Demystified SEO and Digital Marketing.  It was great to hear the things you need to do for your website. We need to keep in mind that seniors click on the first thing that comes up in their search even if it is an ad. Know the common language your prospect is using to find your product and if you don’t know ask the population. Update your website often and use keywords as much as possible in your blogs. One final note is to stay relevant.

Lunch bells chime. We had another wonderful meal while listening to a presentation by Thomas Kamber,PhD.

The afternoon was filled with networking and workshops. I chose the one that Fritzi Gros-Daillon. We learned all the new things that can be done to help older adults age at home. She showed us how universal design in a house makes it easy for all people to use a home regardless of their age, size, ability, or disability. Example of universal design are wider doorways, front loading washing machine and dryer, counter height shelving, countertops at different levels, landscaping the yard so that you can’t see that the sidewalk is a ramp. She also showed us some great easy ideas such as a motion light as you get out of bed and mounted motion lights on each stair to light the path at night. She also mentioned using a small tactile dot on the stair railing above the last riser both going up and down the stairs. This will allow you to know exactly where the last step is in the dark.  The last workshop that I attended was by G. Richard Ambrosius on The Power Potential of Ageless Marketing where we learned a lot about marketing to a market that  is consumer centric not product centric. It is marketing that starts with why. In the 50 plus group quality trumps price and quantity. Remember words may create barriers. Older consumers become less materialistic and more experiential. Their motivations are less egocentric and more altruistic and they are less impulsive and more practical. They are less rational and more emotional when considering your offer. (I wonder if I’ll ever grow out of the impulse buying stage!)

That was the last workshop for me as I had to pack up my table. What a wonderful time I had. As I look back on the PAC/CSA Conference I found that no one was a stranger. I loved talking with everyone and finding out how they were liking the conference and what workshops they were going to go to. It was a very motivational time and as I left I felt like I was walking on a cloud.

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