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'Transitions of Care Across the Aging Continuum', 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America
New Orleans, Louisiana, 18-22 November 2010
After travelling for 13 hours, Miranda and I finally arrived in sunny New Orleans to attend the 63rd annual GSA conference. On route to our hotel we were given a history of New Orleans by our taxi driver and shown areas previously devastated as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. When we arrived at our hotel, it looked nothing like the impressive pictures the travel company had sent – they had booked us into the wrong hotel! Nevertheless, we were greeted at reception by friendly staff who made us feel very welcome. A map of the city was provided and we were given directions to the conference which was a short fifteen minute walk from the hotel.

The following morning after an early breakfast we made our way to the GSA conference. The venue was in the Hilton Riverside, which was in an idyllic location overlooking the Mississippi. As we entered the venue I was pleased to see a number of delegates who I recognised from conferences earlier in the year, including the British Society of Gerontology Conference. After collecting our bags and name tags we headed upstairs to Starbucks to order a coffee to help fight off the jetlag. While waiting in the queue we recognised two familiar faces: Professor Christina Victor and Dr. Mary Pat Sullivan. We all sat together and looked over the impressive program, which had many sessions to choose from.

As the sessions on the first day did not start until late afternoon we made our way to the main Exhibitor Hall, which was bustling with delegates hovering around the tables and eating the delicious cup cakes on offer. After mingling in the crowds and acquiring numerous pens, pencils and chocolates from the stalls, we decide to spend our free time exploring some of New Orleans. We spent the morning walking around the famous French Quarter of New Orleans; where beautiful buildings and wrought iron balconies line the narrow streets. We also visited the famous French Market where we rummaged through the stalls and bought a number of souvenirs including a (fake) crocodile foot back-scratcher!

Having spent the afternoon sightseeing and watching the jazz musicians playing on the streets, we sat down to refuel with a famous New Orleans ‘poboy’ (calorific sandwich filled with meat or fried shrimp) before heading back to the GSA venue.

The following morning was the first of many sessions. We arrived at 8am to hear four captivating papers on financial abuse. Between sessions I bumped into Professor Katherine Pearson, a scholar of legal issues facing older adults, from Pennsylvania State University who I met earlier in the year at Brunel University. We managed to exchange a quick update about our research on route to a session on elder abuse. In the evening, Miranda and I met up with our colleagues from the Brunel Institute for Ageing Studies to attend a reception for international delegates where we enjoyed some canapés and wine and discussed the sessions we had attended.

Each of the following days began at 8am and there were events through into the evening. We attended a number of thought provoking sessions and particularly enjoyed Professor Nick Castle’s paper on nurse’s identification of different types of elder abuse in nursing homes. On the Sunday afternoon Miranda presented a paper on her PhD findings and there were champagne celebrations afterwards in Café Adelaide at the Loews Hotel. During our visit we managed to find time to make some useful contacts, catch up with colleagues and meet some of the locals!

Our visit to New Orleans seemed to fly by and before we knew it we were sadly leaving the sunshine to return home to cold and rainy England.
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