Claiming independence throughout aging is the topic of the 2014 Social Work Day.

The daylong conference, titled State Your Independence Conference on Aging, is dedicated to professional development of those who work in social service capacities. The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, at the Brown Ballroom in the Bone Student Center.

The conference is free and open to the Illinois State community. There is a cost for those looking to attend the conference for CEU and CPDU credits. Registration is required. More information and registration can be found online.

Panels of speakers for the day will cover a range of topics on aging, including preventing hospitalization, enhancing quality of life and understanding the diverse needs of the aging population. Find out more on the Social Work Day website.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Martha (Marty) Sparks, who has extensive experience working in geriatrics with an emphasis on cognitive impairment. She developed the gerontology program at the University of Southern Indiana as well as one of the first courses on Alzheimer’s disease.

An active member of the National Gerontological Nursing Association, Sparks was honored with the Distinguished Service Award in 2012. She has practiced in acute and long-term care facilities, home health and hospice care, filling roles as director of nursing, staff and charge nurse, TJC coordinator, case manager, clinical nurse specialist and performance improvement and education coordinator.

The conference is sponsored by the Kirk Haney Fund; Illinois State University’s School of Social Work, Department of Sociology and Mennonite College of Nursing; the Network on Aging and Disability; and the National Association of Social Workers. For additional information, contact the School of Social Work at 438-3631.