Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Astry Rodriguez/The Daily Northwestern
A variety of workshops brought life skills and health advice to older adults at the conference.

Hundreds attended the 23rd annual Aging Well Conference hosted by the Levy Senior Center and enjoyed workshops, music, a raffle, food and recreation Friday.

With May being Older Americans Month, the center held the event to provide artistic, physical and informative services to older individuals as a way to engage and celebrate them, according to Evanston Senior Service Coordinator Rachel Stams, who helped plan the event.

“It’s a way to get the community together, get everybody to focus on things that they might feel important to be able to continue to be independent, gain resources they may need to continue to age gracefully,” Stams said.

Sponsored by the city, Evanston’s Commission on Aging and Disabilities, Northwestern and community members, as well as other community centers, the event was heavily community-supported, Stams said. 

Multiple workshop sessions taught conference attendees life skills; one provided advice from CJE SeniorLife, a nonprofit organization that provides social services and healthcare, about the importance of trusts. PT Solutions, a physical therapy organization, offered tips for using resistance bands at home to lessen back pain and improve muscle strength and balance for better mobility. 

Privacy and protection was the topic of another workshop held by a volunteer from Evanston Public Library. The session gave advice about avoiding scams, particularly from phone calls and online.  

On the Levy Center’s lawn, attendees enjoyed a watercolor art class where they learned techniques like using tissue paper to create designs that can be put on notebooks or decor around the home. 

Evanston resident Ingrid Walker, who attended the watercolor class, said she hopes there will be other courses in the future as well.

“Getting some of your imagination to flow and enjoying a little bit of your intellect from art, I like that,” Walker said. “Maybe it would be really good to have a course that would guide people to all the benefits that we can have.”

The city also tabled at the event to promote the ADA Advisory Committee, which provides resources training and education for promoting a culture of accessibility and inclusivity.

EPL staff were also present to give out free books and talk to attendees about the library’s health and wellness program and its art program. 

Attendee Matt Dinerstein said as a recent retiree, it was his first time attending the conference. He is looking forward to attending again next year after being able to socialize and attend interesting workshops on topics like artificial intelligence, he said.

A former photographer, Dinerstein said losing 80% of his eyesight has made it difficult for him to do visual crafts but that the art class brought him out of his comfort zone.

“It broke me out of my shell about producing visual art,” Dinerstein said. “I am trying to become more involved in — you know, I hate to say — senior activities. Nobody ever wants to admit to getting older even though we all do it.”

A three-person band with a saxophone, cello and guitar player played live music. After the performance, attendees participated in a raffle for gift cards, a rainy day kit, coloring book and other items. 

Mayor Daniel Biss and Evanston artist Jevoid Simmons, the keynote speaker, addressed the conference in the morning. During the afternoon closing ceremony, conference organizers presented the Aging Well Award.

“It’s a lot of fun to put together, to see everybody interact with people that they may not have seen for a while,” Stams said. “We look forward to it every year.”

Email: [email protected] 

X: @Astry_tpwk

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