Education Topics Schedule

Upcoming Educational Speakers:

January 2018

On Friday, January 19 Jeri Schaff, Executive Director of VPAS and Beth Bland, VPAS Regional Director will explore this population shift with their presentation, “The Grey Wave: Aging in the Valley.” They’ll share growth projections indicating that the population of residents 65 and older is expected to nearly double between 2010 and 2030. In some rural Virginia areas, the population of older adults already exceeds 50%. The​ presentation​ will highlight this data and delve into the implications for our community. Special discussion will focus on community resources, workforce vacancies, caregivers, impacts on business; and older adult access to nutrition, housing, and healthcare.

Past Educational Topics

September 2012: Aging in Place Construction and Design Panel – Jim Maust of Venture Builders, Charles Hendricks of The Gaines Group, PLC, Sarah Pruett of Universal Design Partners, and Debbie Langfitt of Classic Touch Interiors

August 2012: Benefits of Inter-Generational Programming, Laurie Deavors of Generations Crossing

October 2012:Scams and Senior Adults – Lt. Kurt Boshart or Harrisonburg Police Department

November 2012: Medicare Basics & More – Marci Kramer of MarciCare Consulting Services

December 2012: Networking (face to face and using Social Media) – Stan Farthing of HR Chamber of Commerce and Charles Hendricks of The Gaines Group, PLC

January 2013: Green Home: A Tour of Woodland Park and presentation on the changes in care

February 15, 2013: Demographic changes in the American Household Panel Discussion with Robin Hawks of Blue Ridge Community College, Jan Flora of Funkhouser Real Estate Group, George and Joyce Wead

March 15, 2013: Nancy O’baugh from the Dept of Social Services will provide an overview of Adult Protective Services

April 19, 2013:  Debby Austin of the Dept for the Blind and Vision Impaired will talk about services and devices that can assist older adults to remain independent longer

May 17, 2013: Elder Law Attorney Panel Discussion.

June 21, 2013:  Elbert Detwiler, “Fulfillment Later in Life – How Seniors Can Give Back”

July 19, 2013:

Robin Hawks, Assistant Professor of Human Services, at Blue Ridge Community College discussed: “BRCC Aging Program and Community Fair.”

“The school’s new program encourages students over the age of 50 to participate by training them for employment in an “encore career,” and making it possible for older adults to live successfully in their own homes. BRCC will also be hosting an aging in place community fair this fall. This fair will provide aging community members with information about available services. Roundtable members will have an opportunity to sign up to participate in the fair.”

August 16, 2013

Sharon Hughes, Creative Arts Director/Arts Fusion Program with the Alzheimer’s Association Central and Western Virginia Chapter will be discussing: “Arts Fusion: Integrating the Creative and Healing Arts into the Lives of Those Affected by Memory Loss.”

“Arts Fusion is a cutting-edge comprehensive program that offers a variety of creative and cultural opportunities for those with memory loss.  Photos, videos, and anecdotal stories will demonstrate the impact this program has had in the lives of those living with this disease.”

September 20, 2013

Peter Laver will be discussing, “Rebuilding Together Harrisonburg-Rockingham County: 100% Volunteer Fueled.”

“From installing a simple grab bar to constructing a switchback ramp, Rebuilding Together enables homeowners in need to live independently in a warm, safe, and accessible home.”

October 18, 2013

Chief Brandon Peavy, of the Harrisonburg Rescue Squad, will share “Helpful Hints When Calling 911.” Learn what to expect when calling 911 and receive tips to expedite service when personnel arrive.

“While there is no way to be ready for an unexpected emergency, knowing what information is important to share with those responding is priceless.” 

– Charles Hendricks

“When headed to the ER, it is important to have information that clearly identifies what medications the person is taking. ‘Little brown pill’ is not enough.”

– Medical Requisitions nurse at RMH.

November 15, 2013

Lee Croteau, of VBS Mortgage (Affiliate of Farmers & Merchants Bank), will present “Reverse Mortgages: Use Your Home to Stay at Home”

The National Council on Aging states that you should “use your home to stay at home.” Many homeowners 62 years and older are discovering the benefits of a Reverse Mortgage. Lee will highlight the many improvements and updates to this important program, and discuss why a Reverse Mortgage may benefit you or a loved one.

January 17, 2014:

Linda Kohn, Executive Director of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Resource Center, will present “Information and Referral as Relates to Our Community’s Aging Population.”

Linda has worked at the Resource Center for seven years and in her current role she is directly involved with client interactions. Previously, she served as Volunteer Program Coordinator for the Center.

The mission of the center is: To enhance the effectiveness of community programs by connecting people with the services they need, matching volunteers with opportunities to serve, and nurturing local services through a community-wide information, resource, referral and volunteer center. (

February 21, 2014:

Deborah Bender, OTR/L, CDRS, of DriveAbility will present “Driving Through the Years” to the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Aging in Place Round Table. 

Her talk will focus on identifying changes that may occur as we age and the affect on driving. She will identify red flags that may indicate that a person needs to be evaluated and will discuss resources for the older adult needing community mobility.

Debbie is a graduate of MCV and has been an occupational therapist for 30 years. She has been involved in driver rehab for 25 years and employed with Valley Health Rehab Services in Winchester, VA for 22 years. Her main area of practice is in driver rehab as a certified driver rehabilitation specialist but does cover in our inpatient rehab center as needed.

March 21, 2014:

Shelley Payne, Animal Assisted Therapy professional, and Kimberly Zelena, owner of a therapy dog, will share on the benefits of incorporating animals in therapy in their presentation, “Pawsabilities” to the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Aging in Place Round Table.

Shelley is a core member of the August Health Stroke Team and a Recreation Therapy Supervisor. Kimberly has worked with the Animal Assisted Therapy program for 7 years and will bring an assistive animal to the meeting.

April 18, 2014

Joyce Nussbaum from Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) will discuss the topic of Chronic Disease Self-Management.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME) is designed to empower adults to better manage their chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, chronic pain and heart disease with the goal of giving the individual confidence and skills to allow them to actively manage their health care and reduce unnecessary visits to the Emergency Department or the physicians(s). (

May 16, 2014

Looking for information about retirement communities? Come to a Q&A session with a panel of representatives from three great options in our area. They will explain the differences between independent living, assisted living, and long-term care options.

Learn what CCRC’s (Continuing Care Retirement Communities) offer and how Bridgewater Retirement Community, Sunnyside Community, and Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community can help you or your family navigate through the transitions of life.

June 20, 2014

Meg Robinson will speak about all the wonderful activities and services available at Sentara RMH Wellness Center. Meg is the Business Development Manager and will give us helpful information to stay healthy and active as we age.

July 18, 2014:

Stacey Hanson from Caregivers Community Network will discuss options in our community for supporting caregivers. This may include ways for caregivers to take care of themselves as well as their family member.

August 15, 2014

Caregiving is a rewarding yet stressful job.

Valda Garber-Weider is the Director of Assisted Living at VMRC and an educator on memory care. She will speak on the topic of caregiver stress. Learn about different types of stress caregivers face, and what strategies and coping mechanisms are useful to reduce their daily burden. This is an important topic to explore as many people take on this role and want to provide their loved ones with the best care possible.

September 19, 2014

Come listen to the panel discussion on Home Modification and New Technology. Speakers will highlight currently available solutions and products for people that want to age well in their home. Learn from professionals in our community on ways these products can make life easier and more manageable.

Panel: Mary Snow (May Supply), Phil Blosser (Blosser Lighting), Scott Pruett (Universal Design Partners)

October 2014: 

Michael Combs of Hearing Healthcare of Virginia will be introducing a new Wellness Program in his presentation entitled, Hearing Loss: How Does It Affect The Patient?

“In an effort to help the community, I am educating people on the importance of early detection, the risks associated with unaddressed hearing loss and why patients should see a provider for their hearing.”

November 21, 2014:

Trey Atwood of the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department will speak about Project Lifesaver and it’s benefits.

Project Lifesaver is a bracelet monitoring system for individuals with a diagnosis such as Alzheimer’s or Autism who have a potential to wander away from their home. The locator system has had a 100% success rate in returning these individuals to home safely and quickly, giving peace of mind to the family, friends, and the individual themselves.

Atwood is also an Investigator with Criminal Investigations Division and Coordinator of Project Lifesaver.

December 19, 2014

No education this month! Come and enjoy a time for networking and sending holiday cards to invite those in our community to visit the roundtable!

January 16, 2015

Debbie Dunn-Frederick, a professor at Bridgewater College and a Registered Dietitian, will be discussing Nutrition Concerns and Suggestions for Individuals as They Age in Place. Nutrition plays a large part in living well and staying healthy at any age.

February 20, 2015

Jorge Gutierrez will discuss leadership and its impact on companies and organizations that are serving the aging population.

“Leadership is the hottest topic in business today. Fail-Safe Leadership advances a results-based definition of leadership. It demonstrates how it’s possible to grow leaders quickly, and how to align every individual’s work effort directly to the company’s vision and strategic plan, in order to improve a company’s bottom line. Leadership means different things to many people; often mistaken by management which brings a completely different set of skills into consideration.”

Gutierrez has served as the CEO for the BMOC GROUP since November 2011 and is an accomplished and experienced Executive Coach, Business Coach, Leadership Development Coach, Trainer and Consultant. He retired honorably from the Armed Forces and transitioned into the private sector for leadership positions.

March 20, 2015

Dr. David Glazer, of Nieder Chiropractic & Rehabilitation, will educate us in his presentation entitled “Preserving the Spine: A Fundamental Approach”.

Dr. David Glazer is a Chiropractor in Harrisonburg, VA. His background as a massage therapist and the incorporation of functional rehabilitation into his treatments has allowed him to help many patrons of The Valley.

It is no secret that spinal pain, in particularly of the lower back, affects more than 80% of the population. What seems to be a “secret” is how to prevent spinal pain and what we can do to preserve our spine as we age. We will explore predisposing factors to spinal pain and fundamentals of function, fitness, and food in our discussion of unraveling some “secrets”.

April 17, 2015

Trish Caruana, MSW, will be speaking about “Prime of Life Neurodegenerative Diseases – What You Don’t Know May Hurt You.” Caruana has her Master’s in Social Work and is the Executive Vice President of Education and Support of the organization CurePSP.

In her presentation, she will highlight three rare brain diseases that are often mistaken for Parkinson’s disease. These neurodegenerative diseases hit in the prime of life, when most people are leading very active lives and looking forward to more time with family and exploring interests that may have been postponed. You will leave this presentation with a knowledge of these diseases that be critical for a loved one or yourself.

May 15, 2015

Elizabeth Swider, Certified Aging in Place Specialist, Certified Senior Advisor, and founder of Care Is There, will discuss specific ways you can advocate for your family member as they are aging.

“Advocating for your clients and loved ones has never been more crucial” says Elizabeth. “As health care becomes more fragmented and specialized, as the lifestyle choices for seniors increase and as families become more dispersed, it’s easy for seniors to get swept up and lost in the current of change. An advocate stands firmly beside the person in their care and ensures that their voice is heard and their wishes are honored.”

Care Is There provides geriatric care management and aging life care management services in Charlottesville, Staunton, and Harrisonburg Virginia and in Overland Park, Kansas. The Lifestyle Coordinators work directly with clients and their loved ones to support long distance caregiving, aging in place, independent living, and supplemental services for assisted living.

June 19, 2015

Elder Law Panel to Discuss Top Tips for Planning Your Future

On Friday, June 19, 2015, three elder law attorneys, Linda D. Elliott, Erin E. Layman and Cathy Jackson Leitner will discuss top tips for planning your future. Three different aspects of legal planning will be discussed including:  planning for death (wills); planning for incapacity (advanced medical directives, powers of attorneys, guardianship and conservatorship) and planning for long term care (Medicaid and Veterans’ benefits). 

This panel of attorneys emphasize that it is important to have a plan in place, have appropriate documents prepared correctly with the help of an attorney, and review and update our plan and documents periodically. 

Linda D. Elliott is with the law firm of Miller, Earle & Shanks, PLLC; Erin E. Layman is with the law firm of Erin E. Layman, PLC; and Cathy Jackson Leitner is with the law firm of Leitner Law Group, PLC.  All three attorneys practice elder law and other areas of law in Harrisonburg, Virginia. 

July 17, 2015

Why long term care insurance should be part of the strategy for aging well.

To compliment what was presented last month, we’ve decided to continue the discussion of planning well for the future. Charity Shahan of Northwestern Mutual and Larry Elkins from Town and Country Insurance will present details for long term care insurance and discuss other products that may help individuals pay for care and life transitions that may occur in the future.

August 21, 2015

Panel Discusses A Variety of Options for In-Home Care

This month our meeting will feature a panel discussion of important information regarding different types of care available for people who want to remain in their homes. Learn more about what agencies offer and how a variety of services may benefit a client or loved one!

Jeannette Suter with Home Instead Senior Care will lead the discussion by sharing a fictional case study of a patient who ends up moving through the various levels of available care. Other panel participants include: Fred Haar of Senior Helpers, Elizabeth Swider from Care is There, and Robbie Franklin who is with First Choice Home Health.

September 18, 2015

Marci Kramer will discuss Medicare Basics – A Summary of the A, B, C, Ds. Marci is the founder and director of MarciCare Services which focuses on Medicare, Wellness, Education, & Advocacy. She has nearly 25 years of experience in public health and policy.

October 16, 2015

Cathy Yotka, Northern Coordinator of SCSEP (Senior Community Service Employment Program) and Lillian Jordan, Program Assistant for Harrisonburg, will discuss ways for “Keeping Seniors Active.” They will review volunteer and part time activities available in the area, and identify how individuals can get plugged into the resources that support continued participation in things they enjoy.

November 20, 2015

What to Expect from Different Healthcare Professionals in Assisted Living/Memory Care Facilities

This month, the educational portion of our meeting will feature a presentation by Cindy Dove (Director of Sales & Marketing) and Brenda Kennedy (Vice President of Nursing) from Bellaire at Stone Port/Assisted Living & Memory Care. Cindy has seen an opportunity to educate family members about what they can expect from healthcare workers that will be caring for their loved ones. Learn what roles and services Licensed Practical Nurses, Medication Technicians, Certified Nursing Assistants, and Direct Care Aides provide and how they all work together to care for a loved one in an Assisted Living/Memory Care setting.

January 15, 2016

Learn About Our Local ElderAlliance Board and Discuss Recent Survey

On Friday, January 15, Jeanette Suter of Home Instead Senior Care will lead a time of discussion about the results of a recent survey from the ElderAlliance Board. As president of the organization, she hopes the survey and discussion with the AIP Roundtable will help shape the next initiatives of the organization to find out what barriers people identify in their service area for seniors in our community. Jeannette will give details on the survey, have a time for discussion, and provide more information on a community conversation in February.

February 2016

Learn How to Protect Loved Ones from Financial Exploitation

On Friday, February 19th Jackie Hensley, First Bank Regional Customer Service Manager, will lead a discussion on Money Smarts for Older Adults – Understanding Elder Financial Exploitation.

March 2016

Create a Plan for Successful Aging in Place

On Friday, March 18th, Certified Aging in Place Specialist Elizabeth Swider will present “Tips for Successful Aging in Place.

Most older adults prefer to remain living in their own homes as long as possible. Adult children often worry about their parents’ well-being and encourage them to move closer to resources like family caregivers, health care, transportation, and social activities. This can cause conflict and stress for families.

Creating a plan for successful aging in place can increase the likelihood that older adults living at home will remain safe, well, and happy, and can also reassure worried loved ones and therefore improve strained relationships.

April 2016

Helpful Gadgets to Keep Baby Boomers Moving!

On Friday, April 15th our educational speaker will be Howard Lind, Account Manager at Roberts Home Medical. He’ll speak on the topic of “Keeping the Baby Boomers Rolling” by introducing us to medical products that may be beneficial for safety and movement, as well as our health and wellness. He’ll discuss how to purchase and obtain products, plus talk about helpful gadgets and their ease of use.

May 2016

Learn the Benefits of Therapeutic Massage

On Friday, May 20th Trisha Brown Leweke, a massage therapist with over a decade of experience, will talk to us about “The Power of Touch for Mind and Body Wellness.” She will discuss the scientifically proven benefits of massage therapy and tell stories about how it has benefited her aging clients.

June 2016

Learn How To Plan Ahead for Future Health Care Choices

On Friday, June 17, 2016, Dr. Judith Reifsteck, Psy.D., L.P.C. with Respecting Choices and Making Choices Virginia will educate us in her presentation, “Advance Care Planning for Future Health Care Choices.”

Good advance care planning improves the quality of your advance directives (or living will). This type of planning is a process of coming to understand, reflect on, discuss and plan for a time when you cannot make your own medical decisions and are unlikely to recover from your injury or illness. In this educational presentation, we will learn about one model of Advance Care Planning known as Respecting Choices. The goal is to encourage and support Virginia citizens to have family conversations about medical decisions for medical emergencies or in the case of life limiting, serious illness.

July 2016

Learn About Healthy Hearing at Our New Meeting Location!

On Friday, July 15th our educational speakers will be Michael J Combs H.I.S (Hearing Instrument Specialist) and Jimmy Stewart BC-HIS (Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist) of Hearing At Home Mobile Hearing Center.  Their presentation entitled,”Hear Better, Live Better” is based on improving the quality of your life through better hearing. This presentation is designed to educate people in identifying the signs of hearing loss and how to address it. In doing so, people will improve the quality of their life with better marital relationships, better work productivity, improved self-confidence and mental health.

August 2016

Helpful Fire Safety Tips for Aging in Place!

On Friday, August 19th, Assistant Fire Marshall and Captain Joe Mullens from the Rockingham County Fire Department engagee us in learning about Fire Safety Resources. Did you know that many deaths/injuries in older adults are due to missing smoke/fire alarms or dead batteries? Captain Mullens will also discuss ways to make your home accessible for fire and safety rescue units, the dangers of clutter and hoarding as well as devices that can be used under your stove hood to automatically extinguish a cooktop fire.

September 2016

Understanding Alzheimer’s

On Friday, September 16th, Sharon DeBoever of the Alzheimer’s Association educated us on the characteristics and signs of this disease in her presentation, “Is It Alzheimer’s?”

October 2016

On Friday, October 21, 2016, Robert Reedy Jr; a Vice President/Loan Officer with Farmers & Merchants Bank located in Timberville, VA, will discuss the power of music. He participates in a music group that has been providing a variety of music programs for many area nursing homes each month for the past 11 years. During this time he’s seen many “miracles” from these individuals, especially when they sing the older songs from the 30 & 40s. He’ll share a few tunes and talk about his experiences.

November 2016

Mary Snow, Show Room Manager of May Supply, will educate us on the Latest Gadgets and Features of a Universally Designed Home.

December 2016

On Friday, December 16th as a group we will be sending holiday cards to individuals and businesses in our community that you feel would be a good asset to the AIP roundtable. Bring your favorite pen and ideas of who to invite! We’ll provide cards, pamphlets, and stamps to send greetings and invitations for people to join us in the new year. We will not have a speaker or member spotlight this month so there will be extra time for networking.

January 2017

Joyce Nussbaum from Valley Program for Aging Services will enlighten us about a new program they are offering called “A Matter of Balance.” It focuses on ways you can help prevent falls for yourself, a loved one, or a client.

February 2017

Kathryn McMillan, Owner of Clutter Conversions, LLC will be our educational speaker. She will share many insightful tips and experiences in her presentation, “How to Work with Seniors During the Transition Process.” She will discuss ways to handle the mental and emotional challenges of this type of transition in addition to the basics of sorting, boxing, and tossing items that may be sentimental.

March 2017

Melissa Green discussrf leadership in her presentation “Aspire to Inspire.” She will share important skills needed to motivate a diverse group and empower them to be successful by elevating a team’s level of confidence. Her current roles include Chief Clinical Officer and Partner to Trio Healthcare as well as CEO and Owner of Pony Senior Care LLC.

April 2017

On Friday, Karen Barnes, Case Manager with Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) will  present a scenario of an older person that thought they had planned well and then had a crisis. She will walk through available resources and share how VPAS helps older adults and their families navigate aging services.

May 2017

Learn from a panel of home help service providers who have been selected to share the different services and approaches that are available from businesses in the home help category.

June 2017

Learn from a panel of home health service providers who have been selected to share the different services and approaches that are available from businesses that provide home health services in our communities. The panel will include representatives from Care Is There, Sentara Home Care Services, Interim HealthCare and First Choice Health and Hospice.

July 2017

Rebekah Carter, Care is There, will present information about transportation options for older adults in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County; Dawn Shull, Transportation Coordinator for Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS), will share about the challenges and successes of the VPAS program; and Joyce Nussbaum, VPAS Health and Wellness Coordinator, will present information about a new initiative being explored by the Harrisonburg, Rockingham Healthy Community Council. Presentations will be followed by discussion and brainstorming to identify additional challenges and solutions regarding transportation for older adults.

August 2017

John Jackson from the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services DARS) will share information about rehabilitative services for adults with a focus on those who are 50 and older.

September 2017

Shelly Lam, Lead Liaison with Consulate Health Care, will reveal the often misunderstood structure of the transition to a long term care or skilled nursing facility.

October 2017

A tour of Woodland Park arranged by Regina Schweitzer, VMRC Vice President, Residential Living. “With the buildout of Woodland Park, VMRC is transitioning all long-term care from the traditional nursing home into eight houses. Tour a newly constructed home and hear from the Guide how the staff (Shabazim) provide resident-directed care embracing the Greenhouse home values. These homes will be occupied within the next weeks so don’t miss the opportunity!”

November 2017

Ben Yoder of Enlisted Auctions will share ideas for how to deal with all the “stuff” our “spouses” have piled into the basement, storage areas, and everywhere else.

December 2017

Aging in Place Roundtable members will celebrate the holidays by preparing cards for new members and members who have not attended recently. Bellaire at Stone Port will provide refreshments.


2 thoughts on “Education Topics Schedule”

  1. Antoinette Lucas said:

    Long Term Care Insurance:
    What is it, Why do you need it, When should you buy it

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