GGS has held over 55 annual meetings in: Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Braselton, Columbus, Helen, Macon, Pine Mountain, Savannah, St. Simons, Stone Mountain, and Young Harris.

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GGS Annual Conference

Also See:

2015 Conference Recap

2014 Conference Recap

2013 Conference Recap


2016 GGS Annual Conference
Date: August 8-10, 2016
Location: The Jekyll Island Convention Center

2016 Conference Agenda

The theme for the 2016 GGS Annual Conference was “Riding the Wave of Opportunity: Advancing Person-Centered Care". Through this conference, we brought together various disciplines in aging. In addition to the call for presentations, we solicited scholarly work for inclusion in our poster sessions. Poster submissions from all disciplines and on diverse topics of relevance to aging were welcomed.

Presentation Materials:

2016 Wins and Losses for Aging Advocates - Opening Session, Kathy Floyd

Humor in Healthcare Part II
What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul
(Yiddish proverb)… this might be a truer statement
than we would think. Humor is infectious. The
sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious
than any cough, sniffle or sneeze. Laughter triggers
healthy physical changes in our body. Best of all,
laughter is fun, free and easy to use!! In this followup
presentation, we will explore different ways that
humor is used in the healthcar e arena – both with
patients and also with healthcare team members.
We will start out by taking a brief self-assessment
on humor and follow this with some exploration of
humor in the medical setting (research on using
humor to moderate a patient’s response to pain,
humor in communication and even an overview of
Gallows humor). As a refresher, we will also review
times when using humor might not be appropriate.
- John Butler, Family Private Care

What to do when I Lose my Vision
Are you or is someone you know at least 55 years of
age and experiencing vision loss or a combined vision
and hearing loss? Project Independence could help.
Resources, new skills, aids/devices – and hope - are
available for people who have lost their vision later in
life or whose vision has changed over time.
- Kay McGill, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency
Elaine Byron, Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision

Serving Our Older Clients with Behavioral Health Issues: An Innovative Approach
Approximately one in five older adults has a
diagnosable psychiatric illness, which can create
functional impairment, poorer health outcomes,
and even increase rates of mortality. When mental
health issues are unaddressed, these vulnerable
individuals can cycle between emergency rooms
and hospitals, shelters, jails, and the street. As
persons with behavioral health issues get older, case
management and coordination of in-home services
can become essential to their ability to maintain
housing and age in place. The Atlanta Area Agency
on Aging has adopted an innovative approach to
addressing this issue by embedding a Behavioral
Health Coach among their staff to help identify
and engage clients with behavioral health needs,
and coordinate the services necessary to maintain
health and independence, with an especial focus on
increasing housing stability.
- Jocelyn Wise, Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression at Emory University
Cara Pellino, Atlanta Regional Commission

The New Medicaid HCBS Settings Rule: What you need to know
This presentation will teach providers about the basic requirements of the new Medicaid HCBS settings rule, including person centered planning, community integration, privacy, and autonomy. Special focus will be given to the requirements for provider owned settings, as well as heightened scrutiny for
institution-like facilities.
- Bill Rencher and Kristi Fuller, Georgia Health Policy Center


Putting older adults back in the “Driver’s Seat”: Decisions about driving and mobility
Ms. Head will open the session with a brief overview of the data on older drivers. This will include national and Georgia-specific statistics. She will then move on to a brief overview of resources and the older driver program. She will emphasize the importance of making a plan for mobility. Specifically, she will break down having tough conversations with aging driver as a critical component in the transition
away from driving. Mr. Roberts will take over the
presentation and discuss the realities of these
tough conversations and the effects of loss of
independence and mobility. He will introduce his
program: Beyond Driving with Dignity as a resource for conversations and next steps in putting the aging adult in charge of the decisions related to their mobility beyond driving.
- Elizabeth Head, Department of Public Health
Rick Roberts, Safe Solutions

Super Elastic Neuroplastic; Activities that help the brain
As we age we have the opportunity to challenge
our brains to continue to develop and make new
connections. This helps us to maintain better
cognitive and physical function throughout our
lives. Some of the latest research indicates that
the brain responds to positive stimuli and can even help to decrease the impact of negative inputs. During this workshop we will discuss the meaning of neuroplasticity, what it means to the brain throughout life and what types of activities we can participate in for positive effects
- Gwenyth Johnson, Division of Aging Services

Aging and Developmental Disabilities: Working with Older Adult Parents and Families in Caregiving and Planning for the Future
Estimates calculate the number of older adult
parents of children with developmental disabilities at around 21,000 in Georgia. Often these middle-age to older adult children have had little to no contact with formal services. The death or debilitating illness of the parent often sends families into crisis with little to no understanding of available resources or the unique support needs and preferences of the adult child. Risk of institutionaliz ation during this
time is extremely high. This workshop will discuss the unique caregiving responsibilities of aging family members and present a tool kit to facilitate conversations designed to leave critical information and plans for the adult child developed by those most impacted: the person, the family, and the supporting community.
- Catherine Ivy, Department of Behavioral
Health and Developmental Disabilities
Veronica Rohrlach, All About Developmental Disabilities

Many Thanks to our Generous Sponsors!

Diamond: Eli Lilly


Silver: Alzheimer's Association and ResCare


Gold: AARP




Award Winners:

David Levine Legislative Award: Representative Chuck Martin R - Alpharetta (District 49)

Elsie Alvis Award: Wallace White, Central Savannah River Area Regional Commission

Marietta Suhart Award: Melany Sattler, SimpleC, LLC

John Tyler Mauldin Award: Patricia Baker, Gwinnett County, Health and Human Services

Louis Newmark Award: Gwenyth Johnson, Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services


Dan Hickman Award: Jamie Cramer, Gwinnett County, Health and Human Services

Citations of Merit:

Chairman Charlotte Nash, Gwinnett County Government

Jennifer Thilo, Delmar Gardens


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