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‘Empowering Mindfulness’ conference returning to Winchester for 10th year

The Clark County Mental Health & Aging Coalition is sponsoring its 10th annual training conference focusing on issues geared to professionals and laypersons alike.

In the past, training topics have included an overview of mental health issues in the aging population, elder abuse, guardianship and other legal matters, hoarding behaviors, substance abuse, medication and side effects, advocacy, rights and longterm care, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the aging veteran population.

The intent of the conference is to bring a variety of topics to the audience that covers the spectrum of aging in our society and community.

Past conferences have been attended by social workers, nurses, advocates, caregivers and other interested individuals. The Empowering Mindfulness Conference has been a primary endeavor by our local coalition.

So, just who or what is the Clark County Mental Health & Aging Coalition? It is a group composed of representatives from local organizations including National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Clark County Home Health, Nursing Home Ombudsman, Adult Protective Services, Clark County EMS, Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner, Bluegrass Aging & Independent Living staff, Generations Center, Homeless Coalition, Office for the Blind, Ridge Hospital and other organizations and individuals.

The purpose of the coalition is to organize professionals and others interested in improving the management and awareness of mental health, physical health and other issues related to the aging population.

The conference is one of many efforts over the past few years to raise awareness of these issues in our community. The mental health banners that are seen downtown in May are an example of these efforts, as are the billboards sponsored by the Clark County Health Department depicting issues ranging from the value of caregivers to the benefits of the Generations Center.

Other projects have included a visor card with mental status questions for law enforcement, community forums and a resource directory.

The Coalition is proud to bring the conference to our community again from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 15 at the Clark County Extension Office, 1400 Fortune Drive.

This year’s topics include Aging in Place (Elizabeth Hunter, PhD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor, Graduate Center for Gerontology, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky), Music and Mindfulness: How Music Enhances a Mindful Presence (Lorna Segall, PhD, MT-BC, Assistant Professor of Music Therapy, University of Kentucky), Senior Bullying: What’s the Big Deal? (Lydia Jacobs, BS, Aging Program Coordinator, Bluegrass Area Agency on Aging; Jennifer Garland, MSW, CSW, Social Worker Senior, Lexington Senior Center; Heather Wade, MSW, CSW, Services Coordinator, Sayre Christian Village, Lexington, KY) and Providing Services to Grandparents And Other Relatives Raising Grandchildren ( Mary Jo Dendy, MSW, Coordinator, Sandersville/Meadowthorpe Family Resource Center, Lexington, KY). There will also be a brief overview of Bluegrass Care Navigators (formerly Hospice Of The Bluegrass) services. Continuing Education Units will be available for social workers, nurses, licensed professional counselors and licensed marriage and family therapists at a nominal cost of $10. Otherwise there is no charge for this event.

This event is made possible in part by sponsors including Clark County Health Department, Kentucky River Foothills, Caretenders and Bluegrass Care Navigators.

For more information or to register for the event contact Diana Sims, Generations Center, at 744-3235.