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Some of you might have already attended your first conference of the year, but mine is coming up in a few weeks. I'm really looking forward to attending Environments for Aging Conference + Expo, April 15-18 in Charlotte, N.C.

One of the reasons is that I've never been to Charlotte, which is known for its historic architecture, southern charm, urban bars, and restaurants. It's also the pimento cheese capital of the world. Who knew?

But the main reason I'm looking forward to EFA is that I'll get to see many friends and colleagues and find out about the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities for senior living design. So, with that in mind, here are my picks for educational sessions:

Sunday

10:45 a.m.

E01 - Mixing It Up! Changing from Age-Segregated to Intergenerational

  • Craig Witz, JD, Principal, The Witz Company
  • Sarah Montalto, Senior Vice President of Strategic Services, Love & Company
  • Eric McRoberts AIA, Partner, RLPS Architects

Have to admit, I chose this one mostly because of Craig Witz. He's a forward-thinker and a great speaker. Plus, intergenerational communities are another emerging trend for senior living.

E05 - Design that Matters: The Case for Excellence in Affordable Senior Housing

  • Amanda Loomis IIDA, NCIDQ, WELL AP, Certified Interior Designer, SWBR Architects
  • Shirah Kasongo Cahill RLA, ASLA, LEED Green Associate, Landscape Architect, SWBR

Affordable senior housing is the next big thing. I'm curious to learn about the findings of a POE in a publicly-supported senior housing project.

1:45 p.m.

E07- Facilitating Engagement in Older Adults: Using Evidence to Support Health and Well-Being through Design

  • Anjali Joseph Ph.D., EDAC, Director, Center for Health Facilities Design and Testing; Professor, School of Architecture, Professor, Industrial Engineering, Clemson University Architecture + Health | The Center for Health Facilities Design and Testing
  • Monica Gripko M.Arch, LEED Green Associate, Doctoral Student, Graduate Research Assistant, Clemson University School of Architecture

It's always interesting to hear really smart people talk about practical applications of recent research.

3 p.m.

E12 - Designing to the 2023 Sustainability Challenge and Beyond

  • Brent Wollenburg AIA, LEED AP, Partner, RDG Planning and Design
  • Jay Weingarten AIA, WELL AP, Partner, RDG Planning & Design
  • Chris Reed, Partner, Morrissey Engineering Inc
  • Joe Ewert, President, Aging Research Institute, Inc.

It's about time for senior living owners and operators to commit to being better stewards of our environment. These guys are presenting some strategies for how to do it.

4:15 p.m.

E19 - Notes from the Field: A SAGE Post-Occupancy Evaluation

  • Amy Carpenter AIA, LEED AP, Principal, SFCS Architects
  • Migette Kaup PhD, EDAC, NCIDQ, FGSA, FIDEC, Professor, Kansas State University

The senior living POEs conducted by SAGE are always terrific. This one is Ventana by Buckner, an award-winning high-rise life plan community in Dallas.

E20 - Innovative Prototype Reinvents Housing for the Growing Senior Living Middle Market

  • Chris West, President and CEO, North Coast Community Homes (NCCH)
  • Pantea Khoshnevis, Dahlin Group Architecture Planning

The LINK design and planning proposal solution for the middle market is new to me, so I can't wait to learn more about it. It's going to be hard to choose between this one and the SAGE POE.

Monday

8 a.m.

A01 - AIA DFA Breakfast & Program: Retired But Not TIRED

  • Alan Moore AIA, Principal, CJMW Architecture
  • Claire Dickey AIA, NCIDQ, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC (moderator), Principal, HESTIA Design Collective
  • Bob Koch, FK Architecture
  • Glen Tipton FAIA, NCARB, Retired Principal, HCM Architects

What can we learn from three seasoned architects who spent their entire careers designing senior living communities? A lot. I'm sure this retrospective look into the evolution of senior living over the past 40 years won't disappoint.

10:15 a.m.

E23 - Creating Flexible, Functional, Fascinating, and Feasible Design

  • Addie Abushousheh PhD, EDAC, Assoc. AIA, Research Associate, The Center for Health Design
  • Lorraine Hiatt Ph.D., Environmental Gerontologist ImprovAging™
  • Craig Witz, JD, Principal, The Witz Company

There's a quite a bit of star power in this speaker panel. Lorry Hiatt is a legend. And you already know how I feel about Craig. Addie brings a high level of research expertise to this topic as well. Be prepared for some high-level thinking.

E24 - Bringing Smart Homes Into Senior Care

  • Bill Burkhart, Vice President, Development, Tazergy
  • Jim Biggs, CEO, West Bay Senior Living
  • Chris Brimble, Growth Director, K4Connect

This is a topic I'm dying to know more about. Plus it's a case study. I love case studies.

3:45 p.m.

E27 - Zero-Energy at Every Age: A Case Study

  • Erica Dunn M. Arch., Director of Design, Green Hammer Design Build
  • Stephen Aiguier CPHC, Founder, President, Green Hammer Design Build
  • Laura Squillace LEED Accredited Professional BD+C, M. Arch., Architect, Green Hammer Design Build
  • Vassar Byrd, President, Leading Age Oregon; CEO, Rose Villa

Okay, so I'm interested in sustainable design. It's an emerging trend for senior living. Plus, Rose Villa's Vassar Byrd tells a great story.

E29 - Systems Design for Improved Resident and Staff Experience and Outcomes

  • Corey M. Gaarde FHIMSS, CPHIMS, Associate Principal, Project Executive, IMEG Corp.
  • Kris Cotharn, Senior Living Sector Leader, IMEG Corp.
  • Donovan Geske, Housing Market leader (Community Living) / Senior Associate / Project Executive, IMEG Corp.

The title of this presentation is kinda boring. But I think learning how to integrate cutting edge infrastructure and technology into your projects without breaking the budget might be kinda interesting.

Tuesday

8:30 a.m.

E33 - Re-Imagine, Re-Position, and Re-Engage Your Senior Living Community

  • Jeffrey Anderzhon FAIA, Principal, Crepidoma Consulting, LLC
  • Ric D'Amico, VP of Development, The Belaire Group

How you gonna attract new residents if your nursing home, assisted living residence, or life plan community is aging and in need of updating? It's both a design and marketing challenge. I want to know more because renovation is a unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on how you look at it) necessity.

10:45 a.m.

E38 - Bats**t Crazy Ideas for the Future

  • Faith Marabella, Registered Architect, LEED, Principal, Wellesley Design Consultants, Inc.
  • Mitchell S. Elliott AIA, Principal/Architect, RDG Planning & Design
  • Jane Rohde AIA, FIIDA, ASID, CHID, ACHA, LEED AP+BDC, GGA, GG, Principal, JSR Associates, Inc.
  • Steve Lindsey, CEO, Garden Spot Village

The one got me at the title. Can't wait to hear these four strong personalities go after it in this interactive moderated panel discussion.

12 p.m.

E43 - Crazy Rich Lessons from Singapore: A Case Study of Kampung Admiralty and How to Age Well in the World's Smartest City

  • Claire Dickey, Partner, HESTIA Design Collective
  • JinWwa (Gina) Paradowixz AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Associate Principal, Perkins Eastman

As you already know, I love case studies.  The international perspective of this one intrigues me.

Everything Else

There's so much more to the Environments for Aging Conference + Expo than just the educational sessions. I always enjoy visiting the exhibit hall to see the latest and greatest products and services.

And of course, there's also the SAGE member reception, keynote sessions, awards presentations, workshops and tours, and Monday night networking party.

I hope to see some of you in Charlotte! Contact me if you want to meet up or go grab some pimento cheese.

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Sara Marberry, EDAC, is a healthcare design knowledge expert, thought catalyst, and strategic marketing and business development consultant. The author/editor of three books, Sara writes and speaks frequently about industry trends and evidence-based design. She can be reached at sara@saramarberry.com.

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