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Academy for Lifelong Learners Schedule

Join us In-Person for this great program!

7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.| Check-in

Arrive early and enjoy the following activities:

Continental Breakfast (Included with your registration fee)

Sponsor Galleries
The Sponsor Galleries be open from 7:00 a.m.- 1:35 p.m. Peruse dozens of exhibit booths where you can pick up valuable information. Be sure to have the booth representatives mark your ALL Passport to enter the drawing for the Get-a-Way Prize Package from On The Go Bus!

Photo Booth - Sponsored by Aging & Disability Resource Center of Eau Claire County
The photo booth will be available from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. to 1:35 p.m. Visit the photo booth to have your FREE photo taken and receive a fun keepsake.

Free Health Screenings - Sponsored by HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph's Hospitals
The health screenings will be open from 7:00 a.m.- 1:35 p.m. Blood sugar, cholesterol testing and blood pressure checks will be available (Sign up at the check-in table when you arrive. Fasting is recommended. Each screening will take 15 minutes).

9:00 a.m. - 10 a.m. | Opening Session

Welcome – Cathy Reitz, Academy for Lifelong Learners emcee 

Opening Remarks – Amy Duhr, CEO, Grace Lutheran Communities

Keynote Address: Zorba Paster, Physician and Radio Commentator – Wisconsin Public Radio
Sponsored by Grace Lutheran Communities

“How to Live a Long, Sweet Life – Cracking Your Longevity Code”

Longevity has become the medical buzzword of the moment as we all, young and old, contemplate how we would most like to live out our lives. We all want to know the tricks for prolonging our life spans. Physicians, researchers, and scientists have devoted thousands of pages to the topic. Longevity is a two-sided coin, with quantity on one side and quality on the other. Just as no one wants a great life that’s cut short prematurely, no one wants a life that’s simply long and not satisfying on many levels. We want to have it both ways: long and great. And in fact, we can!

Zorba Paster will discuss the five unique and interrelated spheres of wellness: the physical, the mental, the family and social, the spiritual, and the material. Identifying which areas need the most improvement and which are already robust is the key to unlocking your personal longevity code and will ultimately guide you in devising the most effective plan for enhancing your life span.   Zorba Paster’s keynote address will provide tools and insight so that you can live a long, sweet life.   

Zorba Paster
Zorba Paster

Dr. Zorba Paster has been a practicing family physician in the small town of Oregon, Wisconsin, for more than forty years.  He also teaches medical students and residents as adjunct professor of Family Medicine in Madison.  But many of us know him for his decade of work on the public radio show, Zorba Paster On Your Health, which is produced by Wisconsin Public Radio. 

In addition, he is a regular commentator on WISC-TV3, the CBS station in Madison, a columnist in the Wisconsin State Journal and other newspapers, and the editor of TopHealth, a monthly wellness letter with more than 1 million readers.

His book, The Longevity Code: Your Personal Prescription for a Longer Sweeter Life, which was published by Random House and followed up with a PBS special, was a smashing success.  Paster also cares for the Dalai Lama, arranging for his medical care when he travels in the

10:15 A.M. – 11:05 A.M. | Session 1

Unlocking Your Personal Longevity Code
Dr. Zorba Paster, Physician and Radio Commentator – Wisconsin Public Radio

In order to achieve your longevity plan and live a happy, satisfied, fulfilling, and vivacious life, you must find balance and good health in all five spheres of wellness. Join Zorba Paster for a deep dive discussion on the five spheres of wellness. He will discuss the science behind the spheres and will provide tips which will help you live a long, sweet life! 

Acrylic Painting: Cardinal & Birch Tree Wood Ornament
Cyndi Kortbein, Social Artist/Creative Encourager & Owner – The Paint Shack, LLC

Paint a fun cardinal sitting on a birch tree. Participants will paint on a real piece of wood. Learn new painting techniques and have fun creating an ornament keepsake. No talent? No problem! You will love this! *Additional $10 course fee 

Avoiding Pitfalls in Advance Directives
Polly Shoemaker, Attorney – Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Guardianship Support Center

Life is full of uncertainty and change. It is important to make sure your healthcare wishes are known and accurately documented. Learn about legal decision-making in Wisconsin. This workshop will address common questions and concerns that arise about the validity of documents. Attendees will learn how to ensure their own advance directives and those of their loved ones are valid and accurately reflect their wishes.

Backyard Bocce Ball
Bruce Neeb

Learn the basics and strategies of this fun outdoor game! Bruce will explain the differences between Backyard Bocce Ball and the more competitive version of this traditional Italian lawn bowling game. All you need is some lawn, a set of Bocce balls, and a few folks interested in playing. Open-toed shoes not recommended. -This session will be outdoors, weather permitting. 

Boarding the Bus to the Beloved Community - This Session has been CANCELLED.
B.J. Hollars, MFA, Author & Associate Professor – UW-Eau Claire

What lessons can we learn from the 1961 civil rights Freedom Riders? And what does their experience teach us about today? Join B.J. Hollars for a reading and conversation from his award-winning book "The Road South: Personal Stories of the Freedom Riders."

Cardio Drumming for Cardiovascular Health and Wellbeing
Carol Campbell, Fitness Instructor

Cardio drumming is a fun, innovative workout that involves pounding on exercise balls to the beat of the music with drumsticks. It can work a wide range of muscle groups and can be done standing and from a seated position. The music and sounds provide a lively atmosphere that will make you smile! This session will be outdoors, weather permitting.  

The Civil Rights Movement Brought to Life Through Travel Immersion
Jodi Thesing-Ritter, Executive Director for Diversity and Inclusion – UW-Eau Claire

The Civil Rights Pilgrimage is a unique opportunity to travel the path of the Civil Rights Movement and experience these pivotal places and stories in our history. UW-Eau Claire offers this travel immersion experience, which has received numerous state and national awards for outstanding programming. Learn about some of the sites we visit, the people we meet who changed the course of history, and the lessons learned from 13 years of this travel immersion. Hear how you can participate in this learning experience in January or March of 2023.

Digital Inequity: Our Biggest Future Challenge
Donald Mowry, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, Eau Claire Broadband Committee

The COVID-19 epidemic exposed many inequities in our country in terms of who does, and who does not, have access to high-speed internet. The country is devoting many resources to expanding access to high-speed internet, but the effort also needs to address digital inequities due to affordability, a need for digital skills development, and generational differences. Aging adults may be particularly vulnerable to digital inequity for a variety of factors. We will explore this issue and highlight some of the best policies and practices for digital inclusion for aging adults. 

How to Support People with Hoarding Disorder
Connie Kees, Professional Organizer – Consult an Organizer

Do you or someone you know have hoarding concerns? Join this workshop to learn how to identify hoarding disorder. You will learn about some of the issues that lead to health and safety concerns and effective ways to support a person who is struggling with hoarding concerns. 

Introduction to the Game of Kubb
Eric Anderson, Founder and Director – U.S. National Kubb Championship

Kubb is an old Nordic lawn game for persons of all ages. Nicknamed Viking Chess, the game is played with wooden game pieces.  Eau Claire is home to the U.S. National Kubb Championship, which was the largest kubb tournament in the world in 2021, and Eau Claire is officially the Kubb Capital of North America. Join Eric and learn how to play Kubb! -This session will be held outdoors, weather permitting. 

Laughter: Medicine for Your Funny Bone
Tom Kidd, Wellness Specialist – Balanced Wellness System

Experience the benefits of laughter. A sprinkling of funny stories and some embarrassing moments will be shared during this session, along with some factual information and new research on how laughter can affect our lifestyle and longevity. Bring some tissues if you are a crier! 

Maximizing Your Next Life Chapter
Larry Freeborg, Founder - Stepping Through the Gate
David Gerard, Founder - Dare to Know Coaching

Life has many difficult transitions: i.e., pandemics, loss of a mate, loss of a job, loss of a child. Most transitions come with grief and fear. Having a plan and effective tools can help you through it. This workshop provides powerful processes and tools designed to help you determine “What’s Next in Your Life?” and how to maximize your experience. 

Medicare Home Health Benefit
Angela Kjellberg, Account Executive – Aveanna Healthcare

Do you know what Medicare home health benefits are available to you? Join this workshop to discuss who is on your home health care team, what home services Medicare part A & B cover, and what is the cost to you under Medicare.  

Memory Concerns?
Joan Hamblin, Physician – Eau Claire Prevea Family Medicine Residency Program

How do you determine the difference between normal aging verses the beginning of dementia? Learn about normal changes of cognition with aging. Dr. Hambiln will discuss what can affect memory and how to protect brain health.

Monarch Parenting 101
Ellen Wynkoop, Desktop Publishing Specialist by day . . . monarch butterfly mom by night

Discover how easy it is to raise monarch butterflies with simple, inexpensive supplies and a few milkweed leaves. Learn more than you ever imagined about monarchs and milkweed in this informative and energetic presentation. Plus, reconnect with nature and gain confidence in your own citizen-science abilities. Be prepared to fall in love with this new summer hobby!

Social Security: Timing is Everything
Sheri Sorensen, Financial Advisor - Thrivent Financial

Social Security is a vital income source. But timing is everything. It can be a confusing topic, and making the most of it has a lot to do with when you apply for benefits. Get answers to your questions & learn what Social Security can mean for you. In this workshop we'll also explore how understanding the tax status of retirement investments can help you make decisions that help keep income taxes in check.

Steamboats on the Lower Chippewa River
Brian Gabriel, Historical Videographer – Remember When

Join Brian as he discusses the evolution of transportation on the Chippewa River. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a virtual flyover the Lower Chippewa River and see many steamboat landings. He will also discuss the purpose of the Chippewa River steamboats, describe the different types of steamboats, hazards of steamboating, and the end of the steamboat era.

Yoga for Healthier and Happier Aging
Lucinda Kemmet, Yoga Therapist & Teacher – Therapeutic Yoga of Western Wisconsin

Yoga practices have been found to improve mobility, strength, posture and balance. In addition to the physical benefits, yoga has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, alleviate depression, and improve an overall sense of well-being. In this session, we will experience three aspects of the yoga practice: asana (movements and postures), pranayama (mindful breathing) and meditation. The practices of yoga are applicable for ALL bodies. No experience is necessary. We will be using chairs for the seated postures and the chairs will also aid with balance in the standing postures. -This session will be outdoors, weather permitting.

11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. | Session 2

Aging Well … on Purpose
Tom Kidd, Wellness Specialist - Balanced Wellness System

This presentation will take you on an extremely thought-provoking journey regarding the rest of your life. It is about planning the remaining time you could live your life. Time may be flying away too rapidly and no one wants to end their life with regrets. Imagine you are the pilot flying a plane and you are in control of take off, flight and descent. Well, YOU control your life in the same way. Come and learn how to live life with more passion and a purposeful plan!

Backyard Bird Watching
Jeannette Kelly, Citizen Science & Education Director – Beaver Creek Reserve

Are you interested in watching the birds but don't know how to start? Your backyard is an excellent place to begin birding. Learn what simple steps you can do to attract birds to your yard. Then practice identifying them by following some basic steps. Learn more and enjoy the magnificent birds in the area! 

Backyard Bocce Ball
Bruce Neeb

Learn the basics and strategies of this fun outdoor game! Bruce will explain the differences between Backyard Bocce Ball and the more competitive version of this traditional Italian lawn bowling game. All you need is some lawn, a set of Bocce balls, and a few folks interested in playing. Open-toed shoes not recommended. -This session will be outdoors, weather permitting. 

Could You Help? Be a Voter Resource
Lori Miller, Registration Trainer – League of Women Voters, Greater Chippewa Valley
Jane Pedersen, Member – League of Women Voters, Greater Chippewa Valley

How does Wisconsin deliver accurate election results? If a friend questioned the status of their absentee ballot request, would you know how to help them? If a family member moved, could you help them find their new polling place?   Join us as we explore the information powerhouse MyVote.wi.gov to learn answers to these questions and more. Become a voter resource for your family and friends.

Critical Race Theory: What Is It -- Really?
Dr. Dale Taylor, President, UW-Eau Claire Emeriti Faculty Association; Member Board of Directors Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long-Term Care

Dr. Taylor will describe the source and content of Critical Race Theory as a concept and as an area of investigation. Examples will be used to clarify where and how it actually appears as a necessary area of study in the academic preparation of a limited group of advanced learners, whose educational pursuits extend well beyond the public-school level.

Death Café: Conversations About Death and Life
Frances Hawes, Assistant Professor – UW-Eau Claire HealthCare Administration

What is a Death Café? A Death Café is a group-directed discussion with the objective to increase awareness of death and help people make the most of their (finite) lives. Frances Hawes, a widow and gerontologist, will lead the discussion. She will present research, share personal experience, and provide positive coping strategies. Attendees will also have the opportunity to join a small group session to discuss specific topics surrounding death.

Essential Oils: A Natural Solution for Better Health
Sandy Pocernich, Owner – Holistic Healing and Wellness Fairs
Dale Pocernich, Co-owner - Healthy Life Coaching

A lifestyle that helps promote wellness includes eating right, exercise, rest, and managing stress. Using essential oils can also help your health and well-being. Join this session and learn how using safe and effective essential oils may help improve your health and wellness. -This session will be outdoors, weather permitting.

Get Hooked on Fishing
Heath Benike, Fisheries Supervisor – Wisconsin DNR

Learn about fishing opportunities for shore anglers in the Chippewa Valley. We will discuss the types of fish found in local waterbodies and typical gear needed to catch those fish. Heath will also share some tips on how to catch fish and discuss fishing regulations for local waterbodies. Attendees will receive handouts and other vital information needed to begin shore fishing on local waters. -This session will be outdoors, weather permitting.

Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body: Tips from the Latest Research
Sharlene Bellefeuille, Community Outreach Coordinator - Alzheimer's Association WI Chapter

At any age, there are lifestyle habits we can adopt to help maintain or even potentially improve our health. These habits may also help to keep our brain healthy as we age and possibly delay the onset of cognitive decline. Learn about four areas of lifestyle habits that are associated with healthy aging: cognitive activity; physical health and exercise; diet and nutrition; and social engagement. We will discuss current research and steps to take now to improve or maintain overall health.

If Only the Best Birds Sang...We Pledged Not to be Silent
Dr. CeCelia Zorn, PhD, RN, Professor Emerita-UUI-Eau Claire
Nancy Wendt, BS, MS, Musician (performance & teaching) - Eau Claire Area School District
Tania Riske, MS/CC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist

Learn from an individual living with advanced speech and cognitive losses, along with his wife/care-provider, music coach, and speech therapist, as they describe and demonstrate integrating music into their lives. They will share detailed successful and less-than-effective strategies, and the endless benefits of music throughout their journey. Come prepared to hear music in a new way and leave inspired to not be silent.

Introduction to the Game of Kubb
Eric Anderson, Founder and Director – U.S. National Kubb Championship

Kubb is an old Nordic lawn game for persons of all ages. Nicknamed Viking Chess, the game is played with wooden game pieces.  Eau Claire is home to the U.S. National Kubb Championship, which was the largest Kubb tournament in the world in 2021, and Eau Claire is officially the Kubb Capital of North America. Join Eric and learn how to play Kubb! -This session will be held outdoors, weather permitting.

Introduction to Self-Compassion
Yia Lor, Human Development & Relationship Educator - UW-Madison Division of Extension, Eau Claire County

How can we become our own inner friend versus our inner enemy? Self-compassion is a skill that can be practiced to enhance our health and well-being. We will learn about the three main components of self-compassion and how research supports the use of this skill to build resiliency. We will explore different exercises and how to develop a personal practice.

My Sheroes: Women “Herstory” Makers You Should Know About
Jodi Thesing-Ritter, Executive Director for Diversity and Inclusion – UW-Eau Claire

Ever wonder why we call it HIStory and HEroes? Come learn about some incredible women who have changed HERstory and have reached SHEro status.

Other Me’s: My Caregiver Experience with Lewy Body Dementia
Jim Adams, Retired Educator

Learn how Jim Adams and his family dealt with the effects of Lewy Body Dementia with Parkinson’s Disease during the last two years of his wife Diane’s life. He will describe the progression of Diane’s physical and mental symptoms, including Capgras Syndrome which caused Diane to believe there were multiple Jim’s living in the house. Jim will share tools and resources for caring for people with dementia.

Pickleball- The New Game in Town
Marilyn Skrivseth, Professor Emerita of Kinesiology

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the world! Learn more about the game everyone is talking about. It is an easy game to pick up that packs a big punch for enhancing your physical and mental fitness and social wellbeing. Participants will have a chance to get a paddle and ball in their hands to get a feel for the game, but they will not be playing pickleball during the session.

Refugees in America
Dr. Damir Kovacevic, Political Science Assistant Professor – UW-Eau Claire

Refugees are people fleeing war, persecution, and/or natural disasters who have crossed borders to seek safety and protection in another country. Refugees are protected by international law, and therefore, must not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom are at risk. This session will consider why we must help and what we can learn from refugees.

Security and Identity Theft
Cooper Larson, Community Financial Education Coordinator – Royal Credit Union

Join Royal Credit Union to talk about current identity theft scams targeting older adults, what to do if you have become a victim of identity theft, and how to keep your private information safe in an evolving digital world.

Writing for Your Life
Bruce Taylor, Professor Emeritus, English - UW-Eau Claire

Explore the pleasures and benefits of writing. You will receive encouragement, instruction and advice on various aspects of life writing, including journaling, memoir, autobiography, family history, keeping a diary, and the art of the letter.

12:20 P.M. – 1:35 P.M. | Lunch

(Meal is included with the registration fee). The sponsor galleries, health screenings, and photo booth will remain open until 1:35 P.M.

1:35 p.m. – 2:25 p.m. | Session 3

The African Nation of Ghana
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Asamoah-Bekoe, Pastor - Tri-Parish, Durand, WI

Broaden your horizons and learn about the "Oasis of Africa": Ghana. This country offers many opportunities for tourism, with coastal, tropical and savanna destination options. Learn about the history and culture of this peaceful country. -This session will be outdoors, weather permitting.

Caring Conversations – Advance Care Planning
Leslie Borne, RN, BSN Advanced Care Planning Coordinator - Marshfield Clinic Health System

What if an illness or injury left you unable to speak for yourself? Your family does not automatically have the legal authority to make medical decisions for you. Who would you want to speak for you? What would you want that person to know about your values and wishes? Learn what you need to know about advance care planning and how to complete an advance directive for WI. Make a plan for peace of mind. 

Dangers Lurking in Your Medicine Cabinet
Sarah Dillivan- Pospisil, Public Health Specialist - Eau Claire City-County Health Department
Elizabeth Hagen, Public Health Specialist, Evaluator - Eau Claire City-County Health Department

Do you know how to safely dispose of unused medication? Unused or leftover prescription and over-the-counter medication have the potential to fall into the hands of those who should not be using them, which can lead to drug misuse or accidental poisoning. Learn how to help prevent medication misuse.  Each participant will receive a medication deactivation bag and other tools.

Detect and Prevent Medicare Fraud
Ingrid Kundinger, Project Manager - Wisconsin Senior Medicare Patrol

Medicare loses billions, yes BILLIONS, of dollars each year due to fraud, errors and abuse. Think it can’t happen to you? Unfortunately, think again. EVERYONE has a role to play in detecting health care fraud. Join this workshop and learn how to prevent, detect and report Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse with the help of Wisconsin’s Senior Medicare Patrol. 

THE GOVERNOR FROM HEGG: The Americanization of a Norwegian Immigrant's Son
Glenn Borreson, Retired Lutheran Pastor

With parents from Hardanger Fjord, Charles N. Herreid grew up in the tiny rural community of Hegg in southern Trempealeau County, Wisconsin. When Herreid was young man, he left for the Dakota Territory. He went on to become the third governor in the United States with Norwegian ancestry. Join Glenn as he discusses Herreid's story. 

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline: The Risks and Realities
Dr. Shawna Lee, Audiologist- Prevea Health/Audiology

Hearing is a vital sense that is often taken for granted! Hearing difficulties can present challenges in our relationships and can impact overall health and well-being. Recent research has even shown links between our hearing and cognitive function/decline. Join Dr. Shawna Lee for an informative session regarding hearing loss and the brain. We will discuss the importance of the brain when it comes to listening and understanding, types of hearing loss, and solutions/strategies for better hearing.

If I Could Go Back: Lessons for Mindful Living
Moira Kneer, Retired Chaplain

One of the great privileges in life is to be with another person as they leave this world for the next. As a retired hospital chaplain, Moira Kneer has had the opportunity to meet many people and learn from their experiences. Moira will share five regrets of the dying and lessons about how to live each day fully. Our appreciation of the gift of life can bring us to a new understanding of the importance of living in the present.

Living Better Longer
Deb Bruning, Prevention Program Coordinator – ADRC of Eau Claire County

What have we learned from longevity studies that might inform our lifestyle choices? There are many misconceptions about aging – fallacies that can keep you from the life you want. We will look at lessons from the world’s oldest and healthiest people, and discuss how positive thinking matters, theories of behavior change, and research-informed strategies for living well.

McDonough Park – Eau Claire’s First Active Aging Playground for Everyone!
Marilyn Skrivseth, Professor Emerita of Kinesiology

McDonough Park is being transformed into Eau Claire's Active Aging Park. Join us for a virtual tour of this park, which has something for everyone, every age, and every ability to enjoy! Activities include twelve pickleball courts, joined by a fitness area, bocce ball, shuffleboard, ping-pong, beanbag toss, walking trails, spectacular viewpoints, game tables, and more. See why McDonough is the new “Can Do” park for ALL!

Mindful Movement with Tai Chi, Qigong and The Nia Technique
Sandra Mighell, Certified Mindful movement instructor - Open Spaces Mindful Movement

Learn about the multitude of benefits available by practicing Tai Chi, Qigong and Nia. Steeped in the Asian traditions of Traditional Chinese medicine married with the best of Western mindfulness, Sandra guides her participants into movement that feels comfortable, safe, and joyful! This workshop will be a combination of lecture, followed by a short movement practice. -This session will be outdoors, weather permitting.

The Night Sky
Heidi Conde, Retired Natural Resources Educator

Get ready to become an amateur astronomer! Understand the apparent motion of celestial bodies in the night sky. Learn to use a planisphere to navigate the constellations. Take home helpful materials to recall what you learn and to build on your foundation of knowledge and skills. Your instructor invites your participation with hands-on learning methods and tools.

Sixty Years of Mayberry
Kenneth Anderson - The Mayberry Guru

Revisit the TV fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Enjoy looking back at the classic Andy Griffith Show and enjoy memories of a much different time. Ken will share videos, music, trivia, and laughter.

Using Inclusive Language: Why It Matters and How You Can Be Better at It!
Jodi Thesing-Ritter, Executive Director for Diversity and Inclusion – UW-Eau Claire

Words change with the times. Sometimes when you use a dated word it just means you are not hip and cool. But there are times when using the wrong terms can hurt or exclude others. Come learn about why it matters to keep current with inclusive language and how you can get better at using terms that help everyone feel welcome and supported.

What Is Your Legacy?
Renee Liming – Lessons for Tomorrow
Lisa Ausman

How do you want to be remembered? What is your legacy? What are your core values? Is your daily living aligned with those values? Your own unique set of core values is the foundation of your life and impacts your choices. Your core values define who you are. Let's create a life of purpose and meaning.

Wisconsin In the Civil War
Robert Bodeau, Retired businessman, historian, and veteran

Many Wisconsin citizens did their part to preserve the Union.  Learn about the battles they fought and the casualties they sustained. You will be proud of our ancestors as you learn about their contributions to our country.

2:40 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Closing Session

Entertainment: Stand in the Light Memory Choir

Stand in the Light Memory Choir, made up of people experiencing early to mid-stages of memory or speech loss, is a welcoming, inclusive, and accessible learning environment. The choir uses the power of singing to move people with memory loss and their care partner to rediscover themselves, make new friends, laugh together, learn together, and contribute to their community. We welcome all singers to share the love and magic of music.

Closing Remarks – Cathy Reitz, Academy for Lifelong Learners emcee

Announcement of Get-a-Way Prize Package Winner