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K-State Research and Extension News

‘Aging with Attitude’ Regional Expo April 29 in Pittsburg

The educational event is for seniors, their families and caregivers.

senior groupReleased: March 22, 2016

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Kevin Olson learned as a teenager what some adults don’t realize in a lifetime—self worth cannot solely depend on physical ability. At the age of 19, Olson became paralyzed from the shoulders down after a quick decision to dive off a boat dock.

Prior to the accident, Olson said he was physically active and “able to do anything he wanted to do,” so accepting the doctor’s prognosis that he’d never walk again was a struggle and difficult to accept.

“It was a process for me to learn to accept it and deal with the disappointment and the loss,” he said. “For me, it happened all at once. There I was, 19 and strong. The accident happened, and I lost it all. But for most people, loss happens gradually.”

Olson said his grandparents are a good example. He worked alongside them on his family farm, which required long hours and hard labor at times. Eventually, they got to a point where the farm work was just too challenging.

“My grandpa used to say, ‘My can do can’t keep up with my want to,’” Olson recalled. “I saw the struggles he had, especially when he got to the point where all he could do was sit around the house. It left him feeling worthless. I think that’s a common struggle for people when they get older.”

Olson, who lives in Oswego, Kansas, will present the keynote address, “Learning to Live with it,” at the “Aging with Attitude” Regional Expo, Friday, April 29 at the First Church of the Nazarene, 816 E. Quincy, Pittsburg, Kansas. It is a one-day educational event from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., hosted and sponsored by K-State Research and Extension and community partners to provide inspiration, answer questions and deliver information to seniors, their families and caregivers about making the most of life.

Like his grandfather, Olson said he felt worthless after his accident, because he had only focused on what he could do physically. He had to look beyond his physical limitations to find ways that he could still live and make a difference. He still has his voice and his mind. He builds websites and has written a book. He enjoys hunting and traveling with his wife, Janna.

He plans to share stories and experiences as part of his address to expo participants and remind them to make the most out of life, despite the circumstances: “We can’t always change circumstances, but we have a choice as to how we are going to respond to them.”

Other morning session topics will include strength training for seniors, understanding reverse mortgages, sleeping importance in seniors, helping seniors become tech savvy and exploring southeast Kansas for unique family experiences.

Afternoon sessions will include a fun exercise activity, legal documents for seniors, drug interactions and safety precautions, driving skills, aching feet treatments and fall prevention.

Registration is $15 per person and covers snacks, lunch, speaker fees and program materials. The pre-registration deadline is April 18. After the deadline, registration is $25 per person, and lunch is not guaranteed.

Contact the K-State Research and Extension Southeast Area Office website for registration and program information or call 620-421-4826. For information about other 2016 regional expos in Kansas that are focused on aging, visit Regional Aging Expos 2016.

For more information about Olson, visit his website.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
Katie Allen
K-State Research and Extension

For more information:
Southeast Area Extension Office, Gayle Price, extension specialist, family and consumer sciences – gprice@ksu.edu or 620-421-4826