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Inspiration Food for the mind & spirit…and a little for the funny bone
Many people who visit our offices comment on the lovely artwork we have in the foyer. These are prints of portraits by the Vermont artist Deidre Scherer. The original works were actually done in fabric and stitching. Each portrays a vibrant, engaged elderly person. I love the humanity of these works. They are reminders that the richness of life is available to us at every age.
This is just fun. Photographer Ari Seth Cohen has a book, a movie, and a blog – all devoted to older women with a wonderful sense of style. In his words: “Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a thing or two about living life to the fullest. Advanced Style offers proof from the wise and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age.”
Age of Love: a documentary on the dating lives of seniors —
Speed dating for the geriatric set? Yes! And what’s so funny about that? Take a look at the trailer on the movie’s website. It’s bound to make you smile.
The Power of Music
These videos show the ability of music to reach people at every stage of dementia. We use these clips as part of the in-depth dementia training (DementiaWise TM) we give home health aides. Music memories are stored in a different part of the brain than other work-a-day memories. Even people deep into the isolation of advanced dementia can often be reached through music. It’s one of the “meaningful activities” that we introduce into the daily routines of caregiver and client.
Naomi Feil & Gladys Wilson—Take the time to watch this entire video—it’s a revelation.
Henry in the nursing home—another great clip showing how music delights. This gentleman was featured in a documentary on music and dementia called “Alive Inside.”
So funny! Youtube video of dad using the ipad his daughter gave him – in a manner she certainly didn’t predict
The Gift of Age: Growing Old Gracefully, by Joan Chittester
“The truth of the matter is that all of life, at any age, is about ripening. Life is about doing every age well, learning what we are meant to learn from it and giving to it what we are meant to give back to it.”
Benedictine nun Sister Joan Chittester refutes the notion, too prevalent in our culture, that there is nothing left to learn or contribute past a certain age. Here’s an excerpt from an article by her on The Huffington Post website that will give you a sense of her perspective:
“Given the luxury of years, the elders in a society bring a perspective on life that is not possible to the young and of even less interest to the middle aged whose life is consumed with concern for security and achievement. Instead the elders look back on the twists and turns of life with a more measured gaze. Some things, they know now, which they thought had great value at one age, they see little value in later. The elders know that what lasts in life, what counts in life, what remains in life after all the work has been completed are the relationships that sustained us, not the trophies we collected on the way. The Elders are blessed with insight.”
You can hear Joan Chittester’s TED talk through this link:
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? – Roz Chast
Roz Chast’s illustrated memoir (or graphic memoir, if you prefer) of the years she spent as a caregiver for her father and mother is as honest a portrait of that awkward relationship as I’ve encountered. Her descriptions of her conflicted feelings–where love and duty bump up against a child’s natural instinct for self-preservation—are by turns laugh-out-loud funny and tooth-ache painful. Chast is a long-time New Yorker cartoonist. Her memoir received a 2014 National Book Critic’s Choice award for autobiography and was nominated for a National Book Award.
“Older Really Can Mean Wiser,” Benedict Carey
Take that, kids! This article claiming that “research is catching up with the notion that, in some ways, people grow smarter with age” appeared in the March 17, 2015, Science section of The New York Times:
(As my mother’s favorite refrigerator magnet says, “Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.”)
“The Liberation of Growing Old,” Anne Karpf
“Ageism is simply prejudice against one’s future self” says this sociologist and author of How to Age in this New York Times opinion piece. “But the emerging age-acceptance movement neither decries nor denies the aging process. It recognizes that one can remain vital and present, engaged and curious, indeed continue to grow, until one’s dying breath.”
Famed neurologist and author Oliver Sacks writes with such clarity and life-affirming beauty in this essay about how he looks at his past 81 years and at the time that still remains to him after his diagnosis of terminal cancer. He plans to make that time count and enjoy it deeply. Worth reading!
Terry Gross interview with Maurice Sendak, on the NPR radio show “Fresh Air”
You really owe it to yourself to set aside some quiet time and listen to this deeply moving interview with acclaimed author/illustrator Maurice Sendak as he speaks of aging, loving & living. I promise you it’s special.