The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

New institute hosts aging conference on financial health

Carley Nail

ULM’s new Gerontology Education Research and Outreach Institute hosted the sixth Annual Age and Aging Conference on Tuesday, teaching older adults about financial well-being.

The university approved the GERO Institute in 2022, and the institute recently became operational in August.

Director of the GERO Institute Anita Sharma said the institute was created to “provide education, conduct research in issues related to aging and how to enhance the quality of life of older adults and do a lot of service for the community.”

The GERO Institute focuses on everything to be done in the field of aging and teaches students how to recognize the needs of older adults.

Sharma said that with this institute ULM is taking responsibility of being a community partner by bringing services and research-based education to a population of people that is steadily increasing. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 65-plus population experienced its largest ever 10-year numeric gain with an increase of 15.5 million people from 2010 to 2020.

Even though this is the conference’s sixth year, this is the first time the GERO Institute has hosted this event. This year, the conference’s theme was financial health and wellness.

Eight different speakers covered a variety of topics, including Elder Law, cybersecurity and the role of law enforcement. 

Elder law attorney Add Goff kicked off the presentations with a conversation about the different schemes call scammers may use on the phone to try and trick older individuals. 

He gave the audience tips on how to recognize these scams and what to do to avoid them.

Goff said that scammers “play on your fears” and it is helpful to have a loved one with you in these situations who can help verify if the people wanting your information or money are legitimate. 

Another speaker, ULM Computer Information Systems Programming Coordinator William Barnett, focused on online scams.

Barnett said that even though someone may know your number or some of your information, that does not mean that they are legit. 

 “Be skeptical,” Barnett said. “You can stop the entire process by taking back control.”

ULM Alum Stacy Smith attended the conference and said that the elderly population is important but oftentimes they are not treated fairly.

“A lot of people are lacking [education] in regard to the older adults and having the gerontology department at ULM is an awesome asset for the community and healthcare professionals,” Smith said.

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