Creative Aging by Marjory Zoet Bankson

“Creative aging is a choice…. If we remember that transition always begins with endings, moves on to a wilderness period of testing and trying, and only then do we reach the beginning of something new, then we can embrace this encore period of life with hope and curiosity, remembering always that it is our true nature to be creative, to be always birthing new ways of sharing our planet together.”
―from the Epilogue

In a practical and useful way, Marjory Zoet Bankson explores the spiritual dimensions of retirement and aging. She offers creative ways for you to share your gifts and experience, particularly when retirement leaves you questioning who you are when you are no longer defined by your career.

Drawing on stories of people who have reinvented their lives in their older years, Bankson explores the issues you need to address as you move into this generative period of life:

  • Release: Letting go of the vocational identity associated with your career or primary work
  • Resistance: Feeling stuck, stagnant, resisting change
  • Reclaiming: Drawing energy from the past, discovering unused gifts
  • Revelation: Forming a new vision of the future
  • Crossing Point: Moving from stagnation to generativity
  • Risk: Stepping out into the world with new hope
  • Relating: Finding or creating new structures for a new kind of work

The Green House Project: An alternative to nursing home care

The Green House Project provides technical support for the development of residential homes that provide 24-hour care for those who need such care but do not want to be in a nursing home. Greenhouses are small (8-10 residents) homes in which residents have their own rooms and bathrooms.  The rooms are arranged around a central area living that includes a fireplace and an open kitchen.  The care given in Green House residences is person-centered, meaning it is structured by the needs of each resident rather than the convenience of the staff.  The Green House Project was begun by Bill Thomas, author of What Are Old People For? and founder of the Eden Alternative.  To learn more about Green House residences, click on the following link:    https://www.thegreenhouseproject.org/personas/family-member

Planning ahead for single and childless adults

About 22% of adults in the United States fall into or are at risk for falling into the category of “elder orphans.” That is, older people without  spouses and children.  This Washington Post article discuss the importance of planning ahead and recommends a book by Sara Zeff Geber titled Essential Reirement Planning for Solo Agers: A Retirement and Aging Roadmap for Single and Childless Adults. 

To read the Washington Post article, click on the following link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/elder-orphans-without-kids-or-spouses-face-old-age-alone/2018/10/12/a2c9384a-cb24-11e8-a3e6-44daa3d35ede_story.html?utm_term=.f038cd84a236

Aging is like canoeing in the Boundary Waters by Jacqie Wallen

The map fails you.

Paddling alone in the silver dappled water,

You’re spooked by a crazy loon laugh.

It’s getting late and you’ve a ways to go before night.

On the horizon you see

an unbroken line of old-growth trees.

Boreal forest, they call it, for Boreas,

the Greek god of the North Wind and Winter.

A single mass of land

where you need to find a channel

But as you draw closer,

the waterline becomes jagged

Closer still, and the trees become distinct.

Pine, spruce, tamarack, birch.

The islands separate and you see the way.

 

 

 

 

 

“Both/and” thinking — Rohr

The transition to the second half of life moves you from either/or thinking to both/and thinking, the ability to live with paradox. You no longer think in terms of win/lose, but win/win instead. It is a completely different mind. In order for this alternative consciousness to become your primary way of thinking, you have to experience something that forces either/or thinking to fall apart.

Richard Rohr

Advances in dementia care

Some of us are fully or partially responsible for the care of loved ones who are in some stage of dementia. In the past, a dementia diagnosis was dismal news both for individuals with dementia and for those responsible for their. In recent years, however, much has been learned about the capabilities and needs of those with dementia as well as about the kinds of opportunities that can improve the the quality of their lives and those of their caregivers.

PBS has produced a video called “Revolutionizing Dementia Care”  that demonstrates how dementia care is changing.  https://ideastations.org/RevolutionizingDementiaCare

The new  approach is often called “Person-centered dementia care.”  The American Society on Aging explains person-centered dementia care on its website:  www.asaging.org/blog/person-centered-care-people-dementia-opportunities-and-challenges

For advice on how to find a facility that offers person-centered dementia care,  you may want to check out the recommendations in a blog at caregivers.com. https://www.caregivers.com/blog/2013/11/person-centered-care/

Cohousing is a housing option for older adults

The Cohousing Association of the United States explains cohousing as follows:

Cohousing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbors also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.

Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically an HOA, Condo Association, or Housing Cooperative. Community activities feature regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays. Neighbors gather for parties, games, movies, or other events and it is easy to form clubs, organize child and elder care, and carpool.   https://www.cohousing.org/what_is_cohousing

Most cohousing communities are multigenerational but some restrict their community to those 50 and over.  One elders-only community in Toronto is named Baba Yaga Place.  http://seniorplanet.org/senior-housing-alternatives-urban-cohousing-the-babayaga-way/

There are two cohousing communities near Seekers.  One is TakomaVillage, at 5827 4th NW, around the corner from Seekers and also in DC.  http://www.takomavillage.org/  The other is Eastern Village,  http://www.easternvillage.org/ at 7891 Eastern Ave. in Silver Spring, MD.  It is about a mile from Seekers.

The Cohousing Association of the United States provides a listing of cohousing communities that are members of the the association.  https://www.cohousing.org/directory