Free seminar on aging will provide information on range of issues

A free seminar for islanders concerned about aging will take place this weekend and cover a variety of issues, ranging from retrofitting a home to making end-of-life decisions.

Emma Amiad, a realtor who is involved with several of  Vashon’s social service needs, is coordinating the event, called “Doing it Your Way … Aging in the 21st Century.” Amiad said she created the forum because she frequently hears from people who are concerned about the future and she wants to provide information on how to help people plan for the later years.

“It’s about knowing how to make your life better and how to make the end of your life decent,” she said.

The seminar, which will run all day, will be divided into two sessions, with information on day-to-day concerns, such as buying a smaller home or retrofitting an existing one, slated for the morning. In the afternoon, issues will include end-of-life decision-making and how to prepare mentally and spiritually for old age.

This range of issues is particularly important to address on Vashon, Amiad said, because the island has a larger than average senior population. Furthermore, she said, many people in their 60s and 70s are taking care of parents in their 80s and 90s — and many people have difficulty asking for help.

Amiad, 72, said she understands the latter issue well and plans to address it at the seminar along with the other topics in an attempt to spur both conversation and change.

“We need to be coming out of the closet with some of these needs and let go of the shame surrounding that,” she said.

People need not be seniors to attend, and Amiad encourages younger people to come.

“I think it might be most beneficial to people who are middle-aged,” she said.

Several islanders will contribute their expertise, including Jim Schmidt, a local contractor; attorneys Jeff Sayre and Karin Treadwell; Kay Longhi from Compassion and Choices and Carol Spangler, a local speaker on aging issues. Amiad stressed she is not promoting anything but information and would like to see more of this kind of information provided.

“Hopefully, this will give birth to more of these,” she said.


The seminar will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. March 8, at the Land Trust Building. Lunch will be provided.

The seminar is free, but due to limited seating, reservations must be made. Call Emma Amiad at  463-4060 to sign up.

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