Karen Farakas has written a nice summary of some remarks I made recently in Cleveland, Ohio.
WESTLAKE — When Eos, the goddess of dawn, realized her Trojan lover had eternal life but not eternal youth, she took pity on him and turned him into a grasshopper.
That Greek myth summarizes how Americans view growing old – as something to pity, said Dr. William Thomas, an international authority on geriatrics.
“Our society teaches us that aging is falling apart – something gone wrong,” Thomas said. “We now understand that aging is the most human thing about us and we are meant to grow old.”
Full text here
Sheila Lehner says
Ballet at My Age…Oh My!
The magic of classical music and dance is ageless. The child becomes a prince or fairy princess. The teenager becomes Romeo or Juliet. For the elderly, it is a door back to a time of beauty, grace, and romance.
The training of a dancer begins with developing an awareness of the entire body. Exercises are given to further develop sensitivity to placement (body alignment or posture) and movement. As training proceeds into the language of dance there remains a concentration on balance, posture, coordination, flexibility (range of motion) and strength and of course music. Kinesthetic and proprioceptive awareness are by-products of this training. The Benevolent Ballet-Fall Prevention for the Elderly program takes these concepts and adapts them to the abilities of the elderly…..No tour jetes or pirouettes required!
Classical ballet training emphasizes a slow progression of exercises building skill on skill, forming a strong foundation. Each level of progress is measured and tested. New skills are not added until a student is proficient at the previous level. This way when a new skill is presented the student is able to cope with it easily. The young dancer is trained from an early age to achieve skills which will allow her or him to have good posture, to balance, to stretch for range of motion, and to move easily in any direction. By practicing the exercises over and over they gain control of their bodies. The same principles will keep the elderly from falling.
These principles have been taken to their simplest form and have been developed into sets of easy to follow exercises. All are presented as dance movements, not calisthenics, and are accompanied by music.
Because no exercise regime can be successful without the full participation of its’ students, a motivational teaching approach has been developed with this particular population in mind. This teaching approach uses empathic engagement to connect on a personal level, resulting in excellent outcomes.
Mimi (MAgS) says
I certainly agree with Dr. Thomas’ comment “…convincing baby boomers will be a challenge.” I think one reason for this is that my generation grew up in a media-saturated world. How do you undo years of influence by the media? All forms of media continue to use imagery to convince us that old age is a time to be feared, even dreaded. I think we need to get the media on our side, sooner rather than later. (smile)