CALA / ISLE’s 29th Annual Assisted Living Conference & Trade Show Proves to Be a Hit

Assisted living residents playing a board game together.

On Thursday, March 21st, the Connecticut Assisted Living Association (CALA) and the Institute for Senior Living Education (ISLE) hosted their 29th Annual Assisted Living Conference & Trade Show at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, Connecticut. Once again, the organizers are pleased to report the event was a success!

The Conference

CALA Conference attendee visiting an exhibitor booth.
A chef competing in the CALA Chef Challenge presenting his dish.

The Conference and Trade Show provided an excellent opportunity for CALA’s members to connect and mingle with sponsors while exploring a sold-out exhibit hall. 

One element that stole the show at this year’s event were Keynote Speakers Seth Herzog, resident comedian and sketch performer for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and Montgomery Frazier, renowned as “The Image Guru.” The dynamic duo presented “Finding Levity, Connection and Services in the Midst of a Cyclone,” – which focused on the value of emotional resilience, self-care and the power of empathetic humor during times of crisis.

Following the keynote session, attendees were free to network in the exhibit hall and attend seminars on a variety of important topics in the field of senior living—including assessment and management of cognitive disorders, technology, long-term care, staff retention, and support group workshops. At lunchtime, this year’s CALA Chef Challenge winners were announced.

Seafood Flight

  • Chefs Cameron Matthews and Michael St. Cyr of Maplewood Senior Living took 3rd place
  • Chefs James Carpenter and Erica Borelli of Watermark Communities took 2nd place in the Seafood Flight
  • Chefs Claribel Alago and Brian Main of Farmington Station took 1st place in the Seafood Flight and the People’s Choice Award

Meat Flight

  • Chefs Walter Parks and Giovanni Dillard of Maplewood Senior Living took 3rd place in the Meat Flight
  • Chefs Ed Hutwagner and John Arnot of Masonicare Ashlar Village took 2nd place in the Meat Flight and the People’s Choice Award
  • Chefs Toni  Gates and Elisabeth Bonin of Middlewoods of Newington took 1st place in the Meat Flight

Finally, attendees visited afternoon breakout sessions, before gathering for the closing reception, complete with champagne and charcuteries!

Thanks to All Who Attended!

CALA and ISLE express their sincere gratitude to the keynote speakers, Chef Challenge competitors sponsors, exhibitors (including Purple Flag, which had its own booth set up this year!), the Aqua Turf Club for hosting as always and especially the CALA member community participants who made this year’s event one for the books. We hope to see everyone again next year, along with some fresh new faces!

For any Assisted Living Community interested in joining CALA and attending next year’s Conference & Trade Show, visit the Become a Member page to take the first step!


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