A symposium on aging is set for 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5, at the Illinois State University Alumni Center. The event is sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and is free and open to the public. An informal reception will follow the symposium.

The symposium will feature panel discussions, as well as other creative presentations including a staged reading from a new play, “Last Laughs,” that takes an honest and satiric view of the transition to life in an assisted living facility. Panel discussions will feature Illinois State faculty from the Sociology and Anthropology Department, School of Communication, School of Social work and Mennonite College of Nursing, as well as scholars/presenters from Illinois Wesleyan University and Western Carolina University. Another panel will feature community members from The East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging, Senior Programs in Normal and the Western Avenue Community Center. Dr. Jay Noren, physician and former Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences and U.S. Congress, will deliver opening remarks.

The purpose of the symposium is to highlight a range of activities and programs that address challenges and also opportunities of an aging society. The aging of society is driven by several, combined factors—longer life expectancy, lower birth rates for some decades, and the aging of baby boomers, with 20 percent of our society to be 60 and older within the next decade. In response to this change, community programs, academic and professional fields, and even people in the arts and humanities are adapting.

Among the challenges of an aging society are higher incidence of chronic illness and disability, to which the health care system, historically focused on acute-care in hospitals and nursing homes, is slowly adapting. The same need to enhance home and community-based care and supports is equally relevant for disabled adults of all ages, especially given the expansion of disability rights and services. Those attending will hopefully emerge with a clearer understanding of the network of people in academic, community and professional roles, who are involved in enhancing the quality of life for older people and those with chronic illness or disability.

For more information contact Chris Wellin at cwellin@ilstu.edu or 438-7698. Those registering for CEU credits should contact Tuwana Wingfield at twingfi@ilstu.edu.