Michael Friedlander
Maggie Couvillon
Rebecca Hester

Census data shapes the services New River Valley residents rely on.  From health to education to transportation to emergency services, planning and funding decisions for every sector of community life are impacted by data and trends generated by the Census Bureau. The presentation shares how the 2020 Census will invite everyone to participate and how we are collaborating with partners to ensure seniors can do so easily and safely.


 Daryn J. Warner serves as a Partnership Specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau based in Roanoke, VA.  For the decennial census, he collaborates with local governments, community organizations, and neighborhood advocates to ensure everyone is counted in 2020.  This continues his commitment to collaborative civic engagement.  For the last 11 years, Daryn led innovative partnerships in education, health, and community economic development for the U.S. Peace Corps across Africa.  For the decade before that, he led community engagement strategies for arts and service organizations, including at Mill Mountain Theatre.  He is a graduate of Virginia Tech.

December 10
AARP Holiday Luncheon
AARP Blacksburg chapter will hold it annual holiday luncheon at the Warm Hearth Village Welcome Center beginning at 11:30. The luncheon will be catered by WHV and followed by a brief program celebrating the chapter's accomplishmnts in 2019. Awards will be given and contributions to community organizations will be made.
Medicare and Pharmaceutical Pricing

Sen will give an overview of how drug pricing fits in with Medicare, what is covered and what is not.  More importantly, why isn’t it? Many of us get our drug costs covered by Medicare Advantage plans or other insurance, but does that fragmentation influence the ultimate cost of drugs?  Are discount coupons a good idea? How can you get help in Virginia if you cannot afford your medications? Short of a major change in Medicare’s ability to negotiate lower prices, what can you do to manage the cost of your medications?  From large scale advances, to very individualized options, we will talk about what exists out there to help you. 

It  would be a daunting task to remember and pronounce Senthil Marimuthu but everyone knows him as “Sen”.  The owner of Blacksburg Pharmacy (and now Christiansburg Pharmacy), Sen has brought a personalized, small town feel to a great local business.  While his bachelor’s and master’s degrees were earned in in India, he sat for his pharmacy board exams. His training was in industrial pharmacy but he followed his interests to retail pharmacy.  After a decade in retail pharmacy, he opened his own business in 2014. One of few compounding pharmacies, Sen is widely known as a knowledgeable resource, skilled businessman and a friend to all.  Did you know he is also a source for durable medical equipment, medication therapy management, injection administration services, vaccinations, pet medications, dose packing, and  free local delivery, and more! Sen is married with two children, Diya and Neha and when he isn’t meeting the pharmacy needs of the community, he likes to grill out and spend time with his family.

Memory Masterclass at Virginia Tech Adult Day Care Services
June 18
Annual Chapter Picnic
The annual chapter picnic will be held Terry Wildman's and Sue Magliaro's home at 3335, Elk Creek Drive, Christiansburg VA, 5:00pm-8:00pm. The event will be catered by Due South BBQ in Chiristiansburg. Members are invited to bring a side dish and any drink of choice. There will be food, music, and fellowship galore!


Driving directions: Travel south from Chistiansburg on Route 8 for 2-3 miles. Turn right on Childress Road and travel about 3 miles. Turn left on Elk Creek Drive and travel to the cul d sac and take the driveway to the right to the event. 

Gary Bennett, Ph.D.
Assistant Athletic Director
Licensed Clinical and Sport Psychologist
Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC)
Virginia Tech Athletics Department

October 15
November 19

Mental Health Challenges Facing Today’s Collegiate Student-Athlete

Do student-athletes experience the same types of mental health challenges that non-athletes deal with in college?   Until recently the presumptive answer to that question would likely be “no.”   Athletes are often viewed as being invulnerable to these issues.  The stigma attached to mental illness has made it particularly difficult for athletes to acknowledge feeling depressed or anxious and for too long, when an athlete would openly discuss such concerns, he or she would often be looked upon as “weak.”


There has been a radical shift in the discussion around mental illness in the past decade.  Professionals athletes have been more forthcoming about their struggles with issues like depression and anxiety and that openness has trickled down to the ranks of collegiate athletes.  Research funded by the NCAA has revealed that collegiate student-athletes experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse at rates very comparable to those of non-athletes.


In 2000, the Virginia Tech Athletics Department became one of only a handful of Division I athletic programs to fund a position for a mental health professional within the department.  Since that time, that position has grown from a half-time person to now three clinicians.   Now such positions are much more commonplace:  every ACC school except one has similar positions and at the most recent NCAA convention, the “Power 5” conferences voted unanimously that every school in that division have some type of mental health resource available for their student-athletes.


Today’s program will explore the evolution of the VT program and will also examine the types of mental health issues commonly addressed in the VT Sport Psychology department.

Are genetic technologies changing what it means to be human?


Advances in genetic technologies, especially synthetic biology, promise such things as eternal life, “super-intelligence,” and designer babies, but can and do they deliver on their promises? More importantly, should they? This talk will introduce some of the most cutting-edge genetic technologies being undertaken in the United States and will explore the ethics, politics, and economics of pursuing them. As a result of this discussion, participants will have a better sense of the ways in which “life itself” is being altered and for what/whose purposes. Participants will also be better informed about how ideas regarding what it means to be human and what is the purpose of healthcare are changing in the “biotech century.”

All programs are held at the Blacksburg Community Center at 725 Patrick Henry Drive in Blacksburg, VA unless otherwise noted below. Most beging at 11:30am with a brown bag lunch followed at 12:00noon with the formal program.

The recent pollinator crisis exemplifies how public interest in scientific issues can be a mixed blessing, simultaneously raising awareness of pollinator decline, while generating rallying cries for untested solutions. Lack of forage is a factor contributing to bee declines. This stressor can act directly, where bees are unable to meet nutritional needs, or indirectly, where nutritional stress reduces the bees’ ability to cope with stressors like diseases and pesticides. Coverage has been wide: everyone wants to feed hungry bees. Such help is offered with best intentions, but efficacy is undermined by two crucial knowledge gaps: first, we do not know when and where bees lack forage. Providing flowers indiscriminately is common practice because current methods of surveying and cataloging floral abundance at landscape-scale are intensely time-consuming. Second, nutritional stress is often studied either in honey bees (Apis mellifera spp.) or non-honey bees, creating a dichotomy that limits the usefulness of results. There is a critical need to develop new methods to survey Apis forage on a landscape scale and to determine if non-Apis bees also prefer these areas. Without these data, it is not possible to implement a best management strategy for improving availability of forage that would benefit overall pollinator health. 


Here we explore how waggle dance, a behavior in which a honey bee forager communicates to her nestmates the vector from the hive to an important resource, usually food, may also be a powerful tool for ecology. Because honey bees perform dances only for the most profitable resources, these data provide spatial information about the availability of good quality forage for any given time. We argue that waggle dance decoding may inform on a range of ecological, conservation, and land management issues. Thus, one species and methodology gives a novel measure of a landscape’s profitability that may be relevant not just for honey bees, but also for other flower-visiting insects. The audience will learn the background on the honeybee waggle dance; how we know what we know with the waggle dance and using waggle dances in research; and what we can still find out, the current state of the field, and future directions. 

Dancing bees bioindicate habitats’ ability to feed pollinators

2019 Programs

AARP Blacksburg Chapter

January 15
February 19
You may view two videos here that will provide context and some details of this presentation:




March 19
Things that go right and things that go wrong in our brains throughout the lifespan
May 21
This program is devoted to the Memory Masterclass of the Virginia Tech Adult Day Care Services. The Memory Masterclass focuses on strategies to support brain health and includes topics of healthy diet, beneficial exercise, and the importance of engagement and social activities. Director Ila Schepisi will instruct chapter members on the benefits of the Masterclass. See more details here.

In his presentation, Dr. Friedlander will discuss how the normal healthy brain develops, becomes a high performance system to mediate life’s myriad processes from sensation to movement to thought to memory to emotion and how it changes as we age.  He will also highlight some recent work on things that can affect this normal progression and certain disorders that affect the young developing brain, the mature brain and the aging brain.

April 16
Town Hall: How Well is AARP Blacksburg Serving You?
The program for this member meeting will consist of a town hall type discussion led by President Jerry Niles and Board members Leslie Pendleton. This idea stems from Leslie's proposal to expand the functions of the Care Committee of the Board to better address the needs of all chapter members. Jerry and Leslie will facilitate a structured discussion about relevent issues pertaining to how well the chapter is meeting the needs of members.
September 17

Let's Get Ready for the 2020 Census