Monday, July 16, 2018

Creating Unlimited Options for Aging: Book Review

Published October 12, 2017.
Joe Carella has been challenging institutional settings for over two decades.

Drawing on his experience growing up in a tight-knit neighborhood in the Greater Boston area, his experience being admitted into a geriatric ward when he was a high school student, his experience visiting several autonomous, community-based housing in Scandinavia, Carella eventually established the Scandinavian Living Center (SLC) in Newton, Massachusetts.

Since opening its doors in 2001, the SLC has become a crossroads for inter-generational connectivity.

More than 2,000 people per month--not counting friends and family members of residents--come to the site to participate in an array of activities.

More than 25 nonprofit organizations and clubs use the spacious common areas for meetings, projects, performances, and presentations. Yes, there are 40 apartments at the SLC; however, about half of the building space is dedicated to common areas.

Carella expresses particular delight when the "walls" between residents and visitors dissolve during community events. As Carella told the Leading Age: "I love it when [visitors] come for an event and don't have any idea this is an assisted living community."

How has Carella served as a catalyst for this integration of ages, abilities, and interests?

Reading Creating Unlimited Options for Aging: The Path Forward (October 12, 2017) provides a lot of great detail.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

2018 Mid-America Institute on Aging and Wellness

Visit the official 2018 MAIA page here
This August will be my third year attending this engaging conference. It's the Eleventh Annual Mid-American Institute (MAIA) on Aging and Wellness, held August 9th and 10th, 2018 at University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, Indiana.

I usually post about the conference after I attend. This year, I decided to give TGAM blog readers an opportunity to attend by posting key details a few weeks before the conference.

Evansville is in the tristate area of SW Indiana. The USI campus is only two hours south of Bloomington, Indiana and two hours west of Louisville, Kentucky. It's also a comfortable drive from St. Louis (2.5 hours), Nashville (2.5 hours) and Indianapolis (3 hours).

The keynote address by Ashton Applewhite on Thursday, August 9th 3 pm is FREE and OPEN to the public.  However, registration is required to ensure that everyone has a seat.

If you are interested in maintaining wellness of mind, body, and spirit throughout the lifespan, consider attending all or part of the conference. Registration information is available on the official page.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Light on Aging and Dying: Book Review

2nd Edition Published January 15, 1998.
For the last six years, I've been gathering quotes about aging. However, I just discovered this treasury of quotes by Helen Nearing.

To whet your appetite, here is the quote that manages to convey a lot of insight in a few short words:
"Let life ripen and then let it fall." Lao Tzu
Nearing (b. 1904) and her husband, Scott Nearing (b. 1883), were New York intellectuals who left the city to live in rural Vermont.

He was a well-known political philosopher and radical. Together they ran a large property and wrote books for city-suburban dwellers about the value of returning to a rural life.

Scott was a little more than 20 years Helen's senior, so even though he lived until he was 100 years old, Helen lived another 12 years as a widow.

Already a voracious reader and contemplative by nature, these years without Scott gave Helen Nearing more opportunity to meditate on the interplay between aging, wisdom, spirituality, and death.

As a gerontologist, I feel very strongly that aging be depicted as a vibrant era of life: an age of growth and social engagement. Nevertheless, older adults (in industrialized nations) do encounter death of their partners and peers and do contemplate their own deaths with more depth than people of any other age group.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

When Their World Stops: Book Review

2nd Edition Published March 27, 2018.
Anne-Marie Lockmyer received a phone call that stopped her world. Her husband of 26 years (less four days) lost his life due to a brain aneurysm.

Lockmyer's life changed immediately.

Drawing on her own experience, her research, and the experience of many others grieving the loss of a loved one, Lockmyer wrote this 96-page guide for people who want to offer comfort and support.

When Their World Stops: The Essential Guide to TRULY Helping Anyone in Grief  is filled with very specific, concrete suggestions on how to offer help to the bereft. 

Many other books on grief focus on the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional dimensions of suffering loss. Yes, these realms do demand attention.  I tend to err on the side of the metaphysical.

However, Lockmyer focuses on more tangible responses to supporting a bereft person: