SGS Annual Conference

2024 SGS Annual Meeting & Conference

SGS Annual Conference

The Southern Gerontological Society’s 45th Annual Meeting and Conference

A Balanced Approach: Seeking Evidence-Based Holistic Strategies to Promote Healthy Aging

Hyatt Regency
Greenville, SC

April 2 through April 6, 2024

SGS Questions?
Call Amanda James ~ 866-920-4660
Email Amanda James

The Southern Gerontological Society (SGS), is a network of the South’s most respected gerontology professionals, representing 14 southern states and the District of Columbia. The mission of SGS is to provide the bridge between research and practice, translating and applying knowledge in the field of aging. The SGS Annual Meeting and Conference focuses on advances in gerontological research and applied practice, bringing together those engaged in the field of aging to attend and/or present their latest research, programs, interventions, and workshops. Anyone with an interest in aging is encouraged to attend.

An Invitation from the SGS President

The theme of the 45th Annual Meeting & Conference is A Balanced Approach: Seeking Evidence-Based Holistic Strategies to Promote Healthy Aging. Breaking down the title, I will start with evidence-based strategies. Evidence-based strategies are programs, practices, or activities that have been evaluated and the findings demonstrate improved outcomes.

Why holistic strategies? The Oxford Dictionary describes holistic as being characterized by the belief that the parts of something are interconnected and can be explained only by reference to the whole. In medicine, holistic strategies are characterized by the treatment of the whole person, considering mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of an illness.

What is healthy aging? Healthy aging is very individualistic and is highly influenced by the degree to which basic needs are met. For instance, ensuring proper nutrition and a safe environment in which to live impacts a person’s ability to age healthfully. Similarly, addressing stress levels, depressive symptoms, and social isolation also impacts a person’s health trajectory.

A critique of evidence-based practice is that it does not consider individual needs. This may be addressed by using a holistic approach to provide evidence-based practice. Evaluation, modification, and refinement can only enhance evidenced-based strategies that support healthy aging across the lifespan.

From a researcher's perspective, the theme highlights the development and ongoing study and improvement of interventions that support healthy aging. From a practitioner's perspective, the theme highlights interventions that have evidence of success. From an individual’s perspective, the menu of evidence-based practices is just that, a menu that you can pick and choose from to implement in your own life to foster healthier aging.

We hope this balanced approach to attaining healthy aging practices stimulates SGS attendees to think both broadly - on a professional level - and locally about our own unique aging journeys.


Bert Waters, Ph.D., FSGS
President, SGS (2022-2024)

Conference Domains

Domain 1: Age-related Health and Wellness - America’s persistent attention on disease-focused treatments often misses key aspects of quality of life and wellness that includes physical, mental and spiritual health, meaningful activity, prevention, social engagement, happiness and enjoyment/pleasure. This track welcomes submissions that address research, best practices, policy agendas/commentaries and local examples of community programming are welcomed on topics such as, but not exclusively limited to, chronic illness, oral health, social isolation and loneliness, sleep, mental health, and drug misuse/dependence.

Domain 2: Environment & Location: The Power of Place - As regional and state-based organizations focused on aging and older adults, we need to consider the influence of place, specifically region and the legacy of history and social institutions on older adults in our communities. Submissions that discuss the social history, shared community, diverse culture(s) or identity of the region with particular attention to the meaning of place (including housing and transportation) are encouraged.

Domain 3: Diversity Topics in Aging Communities - Inequality across many social groups (e.g., race, ethnicity, class, sex, sexuality, immigrant status) and the intersection of these differences have implications for older adults in almost all aspects of their lives. As the United States, as well as other countries attempt to cope with the challenges of a rapidly growing aging population, individuals and their communities are faced with inadequate resources. Submissions that address research, best practices, policy agendas/commentaries and local examples of community resilience are encouraged.

Domain 4: Caregiving, Care Support, and Care Partnerships - Over a lifetime, everyone will need care, and most will provide it to others. his domain welcomes all submissions related or pertaining to topics which may include, but are not limited to, caregiving (formal or informal), caregiver self-care, awareness and prevention of elder abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation, veteran’s care, respite services, intergenerational partnerships, therapeutic arts, tele-everything (medical, legal, smart-homes), and other creative programming.

Domain 5: Gerontological Education and Professional Development - As the population ages globally, there is a pressing need to maintain persistent education to all aging professionals beginning with a focus on students to help them to adequately prepare for a multiplicity of careers that would either benefit from gerontological expertise or directly address the needs and preferences of older adults. Sessions in this track will offer insight into pedagogical strategies that bring gerontology to the classroom, serve to bridge gerontology students from education to practice, and cater to all professionals wanting to accelerate or enhance their professional skill sets. Sessions that actively demonstrate teaching and learning strategies, marketing, and branding, interviewing skills, enhancing social media presence and general best practices in gerontological education are encouraged.

Domain 6: Advocacy For Or By Older Adults - Organizations play an important role in uncovering evidence, developing policy agendas and advocating for and with older adults. Local, state, national and international entities/units also impact advocacy. Submissions that discuss policy and advocacy agendas, financial planning, elder law and/or end-of-life planning, state aging plans, or grassroots efforts are encouraged.

CEU Information

  • The SGS Annual Meeting & Conference has been approved for 18.5 nursing contact hours by the Emory Nursing Professional Development Center (ENPDC). Emory Nursing Professional Development Center (ENPDC) is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Commission on Accreditation.
  • The SGS Annual Meeting & Conference has been reviewed and approved for a total of 16.5 entry-level CECH and 12 advanced-level CECH by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
  • The SGS Annual Meeting & Conference has been approved for 16.5 General Hours or Up to 8 General Hours and Up to 8.5 Social Work Hours by the NASW-SC.
  • The SGS Annual Meeting & Conference is being reviewed and pending approval by the Commission for Case Manager Certification to provide 16.5 hours continuing education credit to Certified Case Managers (CCMs).
  • Attendance at the SGS Annual Meeting & Conference will count toward the professional development credential renewal for National Association for Professional Gerontologists (NAPG).

Pre-Conference Events
Register Now

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Seminar

April 2, 2024, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

With: Denise Scruggs, Director of Education at the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners.

This interactive seminar provides an overview of dementia and encourages participants to view individuals living with dementia as unique persons rather than a diagnosis. It offers non-pharmacological strategies for successfully addressing dementia behaviors such as hoarding, repetitive behaviors, paranoia, and hallucinations, sundowning, aggression, and wandering. In addition, it covers effective communication techniques, sex, and intimacy, activities, caregiver stress, staff and family relationships, end-of-life issues, pain management, depression, personal care, and more.

This class meets one of the requirements for becoming a Certified Dementia Practitioner through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. To learn more about certification and your eligibility, go to

$145 for SGS Members - $175 for Non-Members - Valued at $195

Includes Breakfast, Lunch, and Afternoon Refreshments

Register Now

Pre-Conference Intensive

Certified Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia Care Trainer (CADDCT)

April 2, 2024, 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM (Live/In Person)

Are you passionate about making a positive impact for those in your care? Do you believe that quality dementia education can make a difference in the lives of those affected by Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia?

If so, we have an exciting opportunity for you! By becoming a CADDCT, you will be certified to teach our nationally recognized Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care (ADDC) seminar and empower others with the tools they need to provide compassionate care to those living with dementia.

Special Conference Rate: $1,900/person (Valued at $2,950, Savings $1,050)

Includes Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Refreshments, Training Materials

(Full Conference Registration is NOT required)


The applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • A 4-year college or graduate degree from an accredited college
  • Have a minimum of 5 years’ experience in a health-related field (including teaching)
  • Have a minimum of 3 years’ experience presenting in-services/seminars to health care professionals or frontline staff in geriatric settings

You don’t need to be a CDP prior to attending this seminar! You will be required to complete an application prior to the class to be reviewed and accepted.


Target Audience:

Administrators, in-service directors, corporate trainers, nurses, nurse educators, social workers, assisted living managers, activity professionals, memory care neighborhood managers, and adult day directors.


Denise Scruggs is the Director of Education for the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. She has over 30 years of experience in dementia care and education in memory care, long-term care, assisted living, adult daycare, hospital care, and home settings. Denise holds certifications as a Certified Dementia Practitioner, Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Practitioner, and Montessori Dementia Care Professional and Trainer. She is also a Victor W. Marshall Fellow in Applied Gerontology, a former member-at-large Board Member for SGS.

To learn more about the CADDCT certification: Contact or call 973-729-6601.

Senior Action Tour

Wednesday, April 3, 2024 (2 tours)
Morning Tour: 10:15 AM - Afternoon Tour: 3:30 PM

During the Annual Meeting & Conference, there will be an opportunity to attend an in-site tour and presentation at a local aging services provider Senior Action. There will be two opportunities to attend on Wednesday, April 3rd at 10:15 AM and 3:30 PM. These tours and presentations are scheduled as an option during a concurrent session, and you will not miss other conference activities. We will provide transportation and instructions. Therefore, you must RSVP for this opportunity. Below is a description of the activity.

Innovative Approaches to Facility Design and Funding of “Place” to Serve Active, Engaged Older Adults

With: Andrea Smith, Senior Action.

The senior center of old days is much more than a building in a community, it is a sense of identity and place for the aging population. Is the building a left over building that has reached the end of its usefulness so the community turns it into a senior center? Too often that is the case and such a metaphor of how older adults are viewed. This session will demonstrate the importance of creating a sense of place for the aging population that instills value and pride and engages the community in redefining what healthy aging looks like. It will also include information on creative funding solutions when there is seemingly no funding available for these types of projects. Attendees will leave encouraged to engage with similar programs in their communities.

This is a Free activity but registration is required.

Transportation will be provided. (optional)

Register Now

Sigma Phi Omega Member Business & Awards Meeting

April 5, 2024 from 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM

With: Sigma Phi Omega

This is a Free event but pre-registration is required.

Register Now

Student & Encore Speed Networking Event

Thursday, April 4, 2024 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Eastern

Join the SGS Student & Encore Committees for a speed dating style event designed to build relationships and connect with colleagues. Everyone in the room will be actively engaged in this dynamic event. Light refreshments will be provided. This event is free but requires a separate registration. Space is limited and it is important to have a good mix of students/early career professionals and more seasoned professionals.

This is a Free activity but registration is required.

Register Now

2024 SGS Sponsors

Platinum Sponsor

UMBC Erickson School of Aging Services Logo

The Erickson School of Aging Studies at UMBC

The Erickson School of Aging Studies at UMBC combines a passion for creating leaders and scholars in aging with a genuine connection to real world applications. The unique strength of our community is that it brings together so many exceptionally talented people of different backgrounds, lived experiences, interests, approaches and methodologies. Our goal, since our founding in 2005, is to integrate aging issues, business management and public policy. Our business orientation – applicable to nonprofit, for profit and government sectors encourages leadership and entrepreneurial behavior.

We created and continue to refine a distinctive interdisciplinary and integrated educational approach combining the critical elements of aging studies, management, and public policy. This unique model includes an active learning environment based in practice in addition to theory. Collaborators with The Erickson School of Aging Studies at UMBC have the opportunity to extend their interdisciplinary efforts further through partnerships with other units within UMBC including the Hilltop Institute, School of Public Policy and the PhD in Gerontology. Our curriculum includes all aspects of aging services, with particular emphasis on expanding opportunities for individuals in the longevity economy. Students, both full and part-time, can earn a B.A., M.A. and Accelerated B.A. /M.A. and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in the Management of Aging Services.

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Platinum Sponsor

Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Gerontology Logo

Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Gerontology

VCU’s Department of Gerontology in the College of Health Professions was founded in 1976 and remains the only MS in Gerontology in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our mission to promote optimal aging for individuals and communities is evident through our innovative graduate and continuing education, scholarship, and university-community partnerships. Our graduates further our person-centered, transdisciplinary mission all over the country and globe. The Department of Gerontology is well-known for the quality and innovation of its programs and for the scholarship and applied expertise of its faculty. The Department of Gerontology offers a variety of degree programs based on an interdisciplinary approach using the bio-psycho-social model. With a mission of promoting optimal aging for individuals and communities, Gerontology graduates further the person-centered mission of the department largely in the areas of administration, education, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. The Gerontology Department envisions continued commitment to service, scholarship, and education, with a focus on the DisruptAgeism and Elderhood Development paradigms.

The VCU Department of Gerontology remains the only NAB accredited program for Assisted Living Administration both in Virginia and nationally! VCU's master's of gerontology program is fully accredited by the Accreditation for Gerontology Education Council (AGEC).

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Gold Sponsor

Georgia State University Gerontology Institute Logo

Georgia State University Gerontology Institute

The Gerontology Institute builds on more than 40 years of gerontology education. It is among the oldest and most accomplished gerontology programs in the Southeast. Gerontology students receive individual attention and mentorship, but also have all the benefits of being at a large, urban university. In downtown Atlanta, Georgia State is in proximity to numerous programs, services and organizations that provide students with first-hand experiences in the field of aging.

The Gerontology Institute offers a Master of Arts degree and a certificate in Gerontology for students who wish to prepare for careers in the field of aging. The Gerontology Institute offers several programs at the undergraduate level: Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.), a certificate in gerontology and a dual-degree program – bachelor’s in sociology/master’s in gerontology.

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Silver Sponsor

The Martha W. Goodson Center Logo

The Martha W. Goodson Center

The Martha W. Goodson Center, part of the Riverside Health System network of care, continues its nonprofit work to fulfill its mission to improve the quality of life for older adults by integrating academic, clinical and health services research with the capabilities of local service providers. This allows us to develop and implement innovative community-based and healthcare system initiatives that can be replicated and sustained by Riverside.

The Martha W. Goodson Center places special focus on clinical services, programs, support and education for persons living with dementia and their family caregivers and care partners. The Center delivers evidence-based and evidence-informed programs and partners with community, state and national organizations to pilot and expand these programs. The Center is currently supporting age-friendly health system efforts and a number of other innovative approaches to how care is provided to older adults.

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Bronze Sponsors

ECU Healthy Aging Logo
ECU School of Social Work Logo
Mom's Meals Logo
Sage Publishing Logo