UW Retirement Association

The Future of Aging


As average lifespans continue to increase, researchers are working to identify the medical, lifestyle, and environmental interventions that are most effective in extending healthspan—the number of years a person lives in relative good health. Join us for a series of lectures and conversations with experts in the biology of aging, nutrition, mental health, and elder wisdom in Native communities on what it really means to age healthfully.
TARGETING BIOLOGICAL AGING: A New Paradigm for 21st Century Medicine
Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Age is the greatest risk factor for nearly every major cause of death and disability. Yet, traditional biomedical research and clinical approaches have focused on waiting until people are sick and treating individual diseases one at a time. Recent advances in understanding the mechanisms linking biological aging to disease have identified interventions that directly target the molecular hallmarks of aging. Unlike disease-specific approaches, such interventions have the potential to prevent multiple diseases of aging simultaneously, thereby greatly enhancing healthspan and lifespan for most individuals.

Speaker: Matt Kaeberlein, PhD, UW Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology


NUTRITION AS WE AGE: Should We Keep Fearing Fat and Sugar?
Wednesday, November 18, 2021

The idea that we should restrict fat and sugar from our diet pervades our food choices today. As we continue to learn about the changes in physiology that occur with natural aging, we need to acknowledge that the impact of diet stress may also change as we get older. By appreciating age-related differences in the effects of common components of our diet like fat and sugar, we have a better chance of improving health in advanced age.

Speaker: Ana Valencia, PhD, Senior Fellow, UW Translational Bioenergetics Lab


ELDERS IN TRAINING: Healthy Aging Wisdom from Indigenous Cultures
Thursday, November 18, 2021

Aging as gracefully as possible is on many of our minds, as we move into our silver years.  Indigenous cultures bring a wealth of wisdom around healthy aging.  To be an “elder” is an active practice and honor.  In this talk, Dr. Ferguson will share some insights from his work in Native communities which promote healthy, vital, and engaged elders.

Speaker: Gary Ferguson, II, ND, Faculty and Director of Outreach & Engagement, WSU Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health


Friday, November 19, 2021

Is memory loss normal? What can I do to keep my brain healthy? This presentation will review the differences between normal versus abnormal cognitive aging, debunk myths about dementia, and summarize ways to promote brain health in later life.

Resource list: Habits for a Healthy Brain

Speaker: Carolyn Parsey, PhD, ABPP, UW Assistant Professor, Clinical Neuropsychology



The aging baby boomer generation is often described as a “tsunami,” with accompanying alarms about the capacity of Medicare and Social Security to contain the flood. But what about the strengths and potential contributions baby boomers bring into retirement? This series of lectures and conversations centered on how this newest generation of older adults is forever altering the aging experience.

AGING IN THE 21ST CENTURY: New Issues in a New World
Tuesday, November 10, 2020 

The experience of aging is neither universal nor static. Aging is a biological process that is greatly influenced by the social world in which individuals spend their lives. Social forces such as political movements, scientific advancement, and technological change impact the experience of aging for each generation.

Speaker: Eileen Crimmins, PhD, AARP Chair in Gerontology and specialist in the demography of older populations, University of Southern California

Respondents: Sara Curran, PhD, Professor and Director, UW Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology; Karen Fredriksen Goldsen, PhD, Professor and Director, Healthy Generations, UW School of Social Work; Eric Larson, MD, MPH, Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

MAKING VISIBLE, COMING OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Advancing Research on the Health and Well-being of Sexual and Gender Minority Elders
Thursday, November 12, 2020

LGBTQ elders are at a greater risk of health disparities and social isolation in later life. Professor Karen Fredriksen Goldsen explores the landmark longitudinal project, “Aging with Pride: National Health, Aging and Sexuality/Gender Study,” and how its research findings have encouraged the development of community evidence-based interventions and policy changes to address these issues.

Speaker: Karen Fredriksen Goldsen, PhDProfessor and Director, Healthy Generations, UW School of Social Work

ENLIGHTENED AGING: How Boomers Might Transform the Future
Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Baby Boom generation’s impact on society, from birth to young adult to retirement, cannot be understated. How can a generation that is living longer and more actively than any preceding generation impact aging? Drawing from the long running “Adult Changes in Thought” study, Dr. Larson argues that an “enlightened” approach to aging that builds resilience for a long, active life is possible.

Speaker: Eric Larson, MD, MPHSenior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

FORECASTING AN AGING FUTURE IN WASHINGTON: Imagining Possibilities in the Demography of Diversity
Thursday, November 19, 2020

As the average age of King County residents climbs, the older adult cohort brings an increasingly varied array of life experiences. Sara Curran, Professor and Director of the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, speaks on recent research on the growing diversity of the older generation in King County and the impact of demographic factors on the experience of aging.

Speaker: Sara Curran, PhD, Professor and Director, UW Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology

The symposium is produced by the University of Washington Retirement Association in partnership with our co-sponsors.