Martin Bayne Talks about Life on the Inside

Martin Bayne
Martin Bayne

Today’s must read is an interview that Martin Bayne recently gave to the New York Times.

Those who follow his writing here at ChangingAging know that Martin offers and unflinching and completely authentic view of life on the inside of long-term care.

As NYT reporter Judith Graham notes…

Mr. Bayne ran one of the largest long-term-care insurance brokerages in the United States, and a well-known Web site,, before being struck by early-stage Parkinson’s 18 years ago. After becoming seriously disabled, he moved to an assisted living center in upstate New York in 2002 — a difficult transition. Three years ago, Mr. Bayne relocated to a facility in northeastern Pennsylvania, where he has a single room and receives several hours of help from aides every day.

How honest is Martin about what life is like where he lives? Consider his take on the issue of loneliness…

Sometimes just a hand on someone’s shoulder is all it takes. Sometimes picking up a fork that someone drops in the dining room on the floor. Sometimes, just sitting with someone. Trying to make people more comfortable. The simplest things in the world can lead to what I call incremental victories. That’s what I go for in my life.

I sneak in touches whenever I can. I call them sneak attacks. I just go over and touch someone’s hand or some other part of them. Men are in need of it the most. Men are never touched, at least in this culture of people with tiny hearts who live on glaciers of ambition. When you do touch them, a magical connection happens.

Please consider sending people to the link so others can benefit from Martin’s insights.


Article written by

Bill is a visionary leader in the online Changing Aging movement and a world-renowned authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare. Bill is founder of two movements to reshape long-term care globally – The Eden Alternative and Green House Project.

9 Responses

Page 1 of 1
  1. Karen Bringle
    Karen Bringle at | | Reply

    I would like to know more about how mental health professionals can contribute to the quality of life of residents in long term care. Mr. Bayne has mentioned this more than once. I’d like to more about his and others’ thoughts, observations, and experiences with mental health care in assisted living.

  2. Robert Albert
    Robert Albert at | | Reply

    Three cheers for Sneak Attacks. Resident elders, attack away! Providers, we don’t want to scare anyone, just be sure to approach from the right direction before attacking someone yourself. Even hugs without warning can be a little stressful at first.

  3. JustOneBoomer (Suzanne)
    JustOneBoomer (Suzanne) at | | Reply

    I read the full article. It struck me that Mr. Bayne is the poster child for my physician husband’s observation that “They always get you in your specialty.”

    Seriously, his interview resonated for me. My parents entered a “retirement” community two years ago at the “independent living” level. My father was furious about the move, became ill the day they moved in (renal failure) and died 3 months later. My mother has made friends and participates in all sorts of community activities, but every time I speak with her she tells me who has died.

    My grandmother-in-law who lived to be 98 and my father were cared for by those underpaid women of color, some of whom should literally be nominated for sainthood although a living wage would be a good start. One lesson I learned from my parents’ situation is that I will try to make suitable arrangements for myself as best I can instead of forcing a child to be the “bad guy”.

  4. Helen Hudson
    Helen Hudson at | | Reply

    Martin’s comments are SO poignant. . .”people with tiny hearts who live on glaciers of ambition.” Touch is so important, particularly for the elderly. Hold them every chance you get. It keeps them ‘connected’ to us.

Is this post changing aging? Please comment!