Joanne Miller, certified care manager and owner of ASK…for Home Care and Homeshare Inc., recently returned from several national conferences on aging.

Her first stop in Chicago was for the combined National Council on Aging and the American Society on Aging. During the conference, she met many interesting personalities in the field of aging, including Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services, and Gail Sheehy, renowned author of “Passages in Caregiving.” Sessions covered a wide range of topics including technology, family caregiving, seasoned workers, housing options and prospects for the future. The Exhibit Hall was replete with interesting and innovative products and services including medic alerts that go off automatically if someone falls, cell phone transmitters that locate someone who has wandered off, and lifts that move people in and out of the tub.

Miller left Chicago to move on to San Diego and the Environments for Aging Conference, where many new ideas were shared regarding future housing for the elderly. She toured the very exclusive La Costa Glen Retirement Village in Carlsbad, a traditional continuing care community with an entrance fee approaching $1 million. The big surprise for her was how few of the architects and developers were impressed with this model, which did not feel like a home at all. There was a great deal of discussion and many presentations about multi-generational models and communities integrated with existing downtowns. Many participants were interested in her “aging in place” homesharing model. A physician from Panama and an architect from Washington both thought the model held potential for their populations. The consensus everywhere was that the traditional institutional, multi-level facilities of today will be replaced with more “aging in place” models that are smaller and more community integrated. Miller, who has always shown innovation in the services that she offers to seniors, said she is poised and excited to incorporate the new concepts she learned into her practice.