Agism cuts both ways, discriminating against both the so-called ‘young’ and ‘old,’ and turns these two seemingly innocuous words into pejoratives. When ‘young’ and ‘old’ are used colloquially rather than as they were intended (as comparative markers of time) they become profane.
Like questions about any other topic, the ones we ask about aging and the ways in which we choose to answer them reveal what we believe and care about.
Around the country, the nonprofit Village model of neighbors helping neighbors has taken off. At last count, 205 Villages were open, with another 150 in development, in 46 states, all aimed at helping older adults remain in their own homes. But Villages often do not reflect the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of their communities or of the nation. This matters, says Molly Singer, executive director of Capitol Hill Village (CHV). “This is a grassroots movement that is meant to serve the entire community.”
Growing older is nightmarish, but it also provides glimpses of how heaven is right here within reach. I think these glimpses, which reside in the failing sight of the old, and the disabled, are precious, and should be a regular part of our collective journey into mystery.
Culture change starts with people change and people change starts with community and conversation (preferably over good food!). This concept is captured by the ancient latin term “convivium.” Simply put, the pleasure of good food shared in good company is a springboard to conversation and, sometimes, action.
There are two common operational practices that make it difficult for organizations to visualize a pathway to unlocking doors (and many other activities as well): all-or-none thinking and surplus safety. I explore each of these in the conclusion to my series “Hidden Restraints.”
In the first of a two part series, Nate and Bill discuss Nate’s recent transformative trip to Uganda with Musicians for World Harmony founder Samite Mulondo. Tune in and discover what Nate learned about love, partnership and community from his long-awaited first trip to Africa.
When you think of your life and the record you want to leave behind, do your accumulated possessions, job titles and accomplishments really do you justice? The process of aging can teach us the value of the intangibles in a life story, including the importance of community and the worth of a given moment.
Once we can remove our value from being attached to our bodies we can ask: what then are our bodies if they are not us? They are ours. By this I mean that while we are not our bodies, our bodies are our own. Our bodies are a precious gift that allow us to be in this world, to be able to communicate and form relationships and grow.
As grassroots organizations of older adults, The Villages are based on the idea of neighbors helping neighbors. But having been around for 15 years, the national Village movement faces a new challenge. These communities are wrestling with the limits of neighborly help when it comes to members’ increasing physical challenges or cognitive loss.
As a culture, we have adopted a sort of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy about sexuality, which, of course, stifles dialogues about sexual health for almost everyone at any age. To complicate matters, we also place a high social premium on youthfulness. So naturally, conversations about sex and aging represent the paragon of taboo in this country.
Leading the nation in the creation and proliferation of dementia-friendly communities is quite a responsibility to bear, but the Land of 10,000 Lakes has made it look somewhat easy with the implementation of more than 43 such communities in the span of just four years.
Even without knowing all of the reasoning behind Gene Wilder’s decision to keep his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease a secret, one can infer from his family’s statement that stigma was a big factor.
On a sunny August morning in Seattle, a group of kids took a few hours out of day camp to meet with older adults for a day of music and conversation. The event was designed by people living with memory loss to show the kids that despite cognitive difficulties, they have different things to offer, can get out and have fun, pursue new hobbies, and enjoy time with friends and family.
This week on the #AskDrBill show Nate and Bill discuss the power of language in our culture. How do words alter our pre-conceived notions of ourselves and the people around us? Nate also shares some exciting news and details about an upcoming trip to Uganda with fellow Age of Disruption Tour member, Samite.
As I reflect upon the improbability of my ripening, I often turn with delight and inspiration to the life and death of Nelson Mandela. Mandela taught us that giving the self, once it has ripened, is elder wisdom, and the apotheosis of maturation.
Walking (indoors and outdoors) is something we all do freely, every day, without even thinking about it. Moving away from “lock-down” memory care for people living with dementia not only helps alleviate distress, but also affirms and enables everyone’s basic human right to be able to move freely.
When I was a toddler, I used to sit for hours on the floor under my maternal grandmother’s frame of stretched cloth and look up to watch her sew beads and spangles onto fabrics that became wedding gowns, banners, flags, altar cloths, and other decorative pieces.
On any given weekday at 210 North Champion Street in Columbus, Ohio, elders and preschoolers can be seen mixing bubble solutions and puffing at them together in the activity room, caring for plants outside in the mobile gardening units, reading books aloud to one another in the classroom, or rehearsing a play in the auditorium.
Recently, I posted a provocative argument for considering locked doors as physical restraints. I have received many comments about the post; and as promised, I am following up with a second installment (of three), in which I will give some guidelines for those who wish to take up the challenge.
Too few people understand that Medicare does not include benefits covering the cost of long term care and as a result wait too long before buying LTC insurance.