A Very Good Year

As we look back on 2019, we are proud of our activities and accomplishments, a few of which are highlighted below. We are extremely grateful to you, our AustinUP community, as well as our sponsors and business members. Without YOU, none of this would be possible. Thank you and onward to 2020!

Decibel round table on agingKLRU / Decibel Focus on Aging in Central Texas
Decibel, KLRU’s news and public affairs initiative led by esteemed TV journalist Judy Maggio, covers a wide variety of stories that matter to Austinites. For the month of February, Judy and the Decibel team focused on Aging in Central Texas, for which they produced a series of aging-related stories and specials. AustinUP contributed on- and off-screen statistics and information.

Age-friendly Austin Media Briefing
Age-friendly Austin press briefingIn March, we held a press briefing at City Hall to share news about Austin’s age-friendly initiatives. Hosted by AustinUP, AARP Texas and Austin’s Commission on Seniors, it was well attended and well received. CM Ann Kitchen introduced Tabitha Taylor, the City’s new program coordinator for the Age-friendly Austin Action Plan. Mayor Steve Adler spoke, too, commenting that Austin has a role to play in the “longevity marketplace.” The event led to media stories like this one, and later this one, which helped spread the word about our age-friendly goals. (Photo credit: Jessica Alexander)

Chip Conley at SXSW

Aging, Longevity and SXSW
One of our favorite presentations at SXSW this year was, The Digital Economy Isn’t Just for the YoungChip Conley, author of Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder and mentor to Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO and founder, offered words of workplace wisdom to a packed, multigen audience. He noted, “With a variety of generations in the workplace, it’s time to perfect the ability to work together.” He stressed the importance of cross-generational “mutual mentorship,” age-diversity in the workplace, lifelong learning and maintaining our sense of curiosity as we age. Read our article about other SXSW aging-related presentations.

Livability for Longevity Symposium 2019
With more than 150 attendees at the Livability for Longevity Symposium on April 3, the Bass Lecture Hall at the LBJ School of Public Affairs was close to capacity. The symposium was only a half-day event, but it was packed with good insight and information from Council Member Alison Alter (District 10), LBJ School researchers, a panel of service professionals, Livability for Longevity Symposium 2019Jesús Garza, former CEO of Seton Healthcare, and more. What made the event truly impactful was input from the audience (which included Luci Baines Johnson). To learn more about the 2019 Livability for Longevity Symposium, we invite you to read our recap article, which includes links and photos. (Photo credit: Callie Richmond)

Age-friendly Businesses
In June, AustinUP invited business owners and business leaders to attend an Age-friendly Business Happy Hour to learn about the age-friendly progress and momentum happening in our community. AustinUP business happy hourHosted by The Village at the Triangle, this event also served as a silent auction fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Texas. Also in June, we hosted a focus group of business leaders to gather feedback about the feasibility and value of creating an “age-friendly business” designation.

Population Health Summit / Healthy Aging
Health Tech Austin eventAustinUP executive director Teresa Sansone Ferguson participated in the Population Health Summit, presented in August by Health Tech Austin. She was part of the Healthy Aging workgroup, which also included Chris Dauw, Chief Executive Officer, Compassware; Valarie Fleming, PhD, Chair, Department of Communication Disorders, Texas State University; Delia Jervier, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association/Capital of Texas Chapter; and Marcia Ory, PhD, Founding Director, Center for Population Health & Aging, Texas A&M School of Public Health. The group explored challenges to healthy aging, including gaps in connecting people to services, lack of care providers for the growing older adult population and the need to redefine aging and view older people as a resource, not a drain.

ATX Aging & Innovation Summit 2019
Our 2019 ATX Aging & Innovation Summit held in October was our third and largest Summit. It was aSummit 2019 photo gathering of 180+ people who were there to learn about aging-related innovation in Austin with a spotlight on equity, diversity and intergenerational community engagement. Here’s an overview of the event. (Photo credit: Deborah Reinhard)

New LGBTQ Senior Center
LGBTQ senior center grand openingOn October 28th, we celebrated the grand opening of the LGBTQ Senior Center at Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Austin. It’s sponsored by Meals on Wheels Central Texas (MOWCTX) with help from a federal grant administered by the Area Agency on Aging (AAA). The free program, which is the first of its kind in the region, provides a nutritious lunch, fun activities, a welcoming sense of community for the LGBTQ population and its allies, and is open to individuals who are 60+ years of age and their spouses/partners. The group of regular attendees, which calls itself the Golden Generation Social Scene, gathers from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. The program is not affiliated with the church and non-members are welcome to attend.

50+ Job Fairs
In November, AustinUP hosted its first 50+ job fair in Williamson County at Soléa Cedar Park. This event was in addition to our 50+ job fairs held earlier in the year at the Travis County Community Center in Oak Hill, the Brodie Homestead in Sunset Valley, and at the Jewish Community Center in Austin. We also co-sponsored (with LT Senior Services) a 50+ job fair in Lakeway. (Here’s a Statesman article about that event.) Each job fair features speakers/presentations about how to navigate the job search process. This year’s speakers were a hit, and garnered much positive feedback. One example: “I wanted to thank you for sponsoring a very informative, supportive and energy-giving gathering of speakers and job seekers…I left feeling so much energy. You have started a much needed organization!” speaker at AustinUP 50+ job fairAustinUP 50+ job fair

Additional Outreach
Earlier this year, AustinUP joined the Encore Network, part of Encore.org, an organization that “innovates new ideas and models to leverage the skills and talents of experienced adults to improve communities and the world.” We have benefitted and learned as a result of network members sharing connections, proven practices and resources to support innovation and raise visibility for older adults.

In November, Teresa was invited to be a keynote speaker at the National Guild Conference for Community Arts Education. The general topic was age equity in arts education. In her presentation, Teresa highlighted what we’re doing in Austin to promote age-friendly practices.

She also participated in two panels at the Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting, held in November in Austin. One panel was about working with community partners to ensure diversity of research participants, and the other was about researchers’ need for community collaboration. Both presentations were well received by attendees with much praise for Austin’s age-progressive ideas.

AustinUP in the news:

  • Teresa was interviewed by Marc Miller for Career Pivot podcast #155 about the expectations of older adults looking for jobs.
  • AustinUP was featured on KXAN’s Studio 512 about the need for 50+ job fairs (in conjunction with the Soléa Cedar Park job fair).