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  • Writer's picturePatricia A. Rencher

Aging Matters Expo 2023

In 2014, I approached then CEO of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Paul Bridgewater, about hosting a caregiving conference in Detroit like the one offered in the suburbs. After all, older Black Americans are twice as likely as older white people to have Alzheimer's, other dementias, or conditions requiring caregivers. Bridgewater thought it was a good idea, but he quickly noted that he just didn’t have the staff to do it.

“I’ll do it,” I said, “I just need you to provide the support.” And he did. And so I enlisted the help of three other senior-serving organizations, and that’s how the Aging Matters Education & Expo event was launched. It’s designed to educate older adults, their adult children, and family caregivers on resources and tools that are available to ensure aging with dignity and choice.

While we’re living longer, many of us are not aging well. Too few of us have an understanding of available services or what steps we could take now to ensure we’re not scrambling in the event of infirmity or incapacitation – either our own or that of an elder loved ones.

Now, nearly a decade later, several senior-serving organizations continue to partner and host the event to educate individuals and families. This year’s workshops include Essential Elder Legal Planning, Home and Community Based Services, and understanding Alzheimer’s disease.

Hosting organizations include: Bridging Communities, Inc., Neighborhood Services-Elder Law & Advocacy Center, Southeast Michigan Senior Regional Collaborative, and Urban Aging News.

The event’s workshops and resource-rich vendor gallery are all provided to reduce the number of families who are overwhelmed when an elder loved one physically or mentally declines. Waiting until a medical event occurs to then begin to plan or seek services limits available choices. Also, if a family member experiences cognitive decline, it’s nearly impossible to put certain documents and strategies into place. Planning and anticipation are key to aging well.

Held at the Wayne County Community College District - Northwest Campus, 8200 W. Outer Drive, Detroit, Michigan 48219, the free event runs from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and includes free continental breakfast and lunch. Doors open at 8 a.m. and the opening session begins at 9 a.m.

Event sponsors include: Alzheimer’s Association - Greater Michigan Chapter, Detroit Area Agency on Aging, the Detroit Caregivers Project, Hannan Center, New York-Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative, Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Presbyterian Villages of Michigan, PACE of SE Michigan, and WCCCD.

For registration details, visit

Patricia A. Rencher

UAN Publisher

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