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Championing Elderhood…

3 June, 2011 (14:07) | Community

I’ve shared previously that one of my other activities has been serving on the Board of Directors for The Eden Alternative, a culture change organization involved in improving the lives of all Elders.  Dr. Bill Thomas, the founder with his wife, Jude, have created a worldwide movement dedicated to changing the way society views aging.  Dr. Thomas has been invited to speak on Saturday June 4th at the very influential San Francisco TEDx Conference, sharing the stage with some of the most talented and visionary thinkers of our time.  He will be introducing this audience to “the hidden virtues of elderhood, an intrinsic part of the human lifecycle that has nearly been erased from the cultural map.”

Please join Dr. Thomas as the live feed will begin at 12:00 PST and you can join in that feed at or   Dr. Thomas has shared a philosophy of the plagues of old age as; loneliness, helplessness and boredom.  Fortunately for all of us there is an antidote.  I hope you have a chance to listen to the live broadcast or at least download the archived presentation, as this incredibly talented author, philosopher, educator and gerontologist shares some of the tools for a better future.




Comment from Gary Olson
Time: June 25, 2011, 8:18 pm

As an elder who has just begun to explore creative expression through paint, I was delighted to discover that the company producing the wonderful acrylics I’ve been working with shares many of my own values. This probably won’t make my art better, but I will feel better when I do it.

Comment from Mark
Time: July 11, 2011, 4:11 pm

Gary, Bill’s presentation is on the TED site from San Francisco. It is incredibly valuable as he traces the issues of elderhood and hope for the future as our baby-boom generation finally realizes the value that there is a next stage of life after adulthood, our “Elderhood”. And yes, it comes with many problems and issues, but also a great promise for bringing our lives back into balance. Best, Mark

Comment from Sibylle Schempf
Time: August 7, 2011, 8:02 am

Mark, I am happy to know that this effort is gaining momentum since it is not just the current elders but future elders that will benefit from new concepts for the last quarter of their lives. My peers are actively discussing what we can do now, not only rethink the way we create community and care for later, but also start now to make the steps that will enable us to have the structures and thinking in place when the time comes. I can tell you first hand that this is a major theme in Germany where 30% of unemployed are 50 and older. This number is growing and encompasses all social and educational classes. I just lost my father and now am assisting my mother to find new meaning in her life. Doing things on her own and to keep up the initiative to seek out activities that will provide a vessel for her intellect creativity and need to be in community are a full time effort. Best Regards, Sibylle

Comment from Mark
Time: August 8, 2011, 1:23 pm

Sibylle, thanks for your comments. My peers, my family are all getting to the age where these issues can no longer be ignored. Being in a position to be able to take care of our elders takes a great deal of planning, effort and patience. It can also be an incredible gift as we get to say goodby to those we love, who cared for us in the most special way possible.

I’m passing off to you a link to an amazingly talented and dedicated woman in Germany, Christa Monkhouse. She has led the Eden Alternative effort in Europe and is making great strides in creating a model for care that while meeting Dr. Thomas’s 10 principles does it in a European context.
Best, Mark

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