Those of us lucky enough to have aging parents who live long and remain nominally healthy are often struck by the wisdom we hear as they ruminate about relationships and love in the past. To really understand what they are getting at we must toss away any notions that our parents are merely clinging to the “good old days” and instead gaze through a prism that acknowledges their wise and long-term perspective.
Karl Pillemer, Ph.D. writes, “What elders have that young people don’t is something special: the view from the end. For them it’s no longer a mystery as to how everything will turn out — it’s already happened.”
Dr. Pillemer is the author of 30 Lessons for Loving. I wrote a short Valentine’s Day post, Elder’s Share Wisdom About Love, sharing a Next Avenue review of the book, and was intrigued. I bought the book and posted it here on this blog as my current read. Now I’ve read the book and have more to say.
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Take a few minutes to read How I REALLY Feel About Getting Older, a Huffington Post article by Jane Gross, that reflects and reviews many of the most concrete problems that occur when people age.
Gross describes the frustration of living in a society that trivializes older adults while it also turns away from the wisdom of elders. At the same time, she observes, the media bombards older adults with messages urging people to overcome aging problems simply by purchasing one product or another. And then there are the media messages that reinforce the aging stereotypes held by those who have not yet started to worry about growing older…
Check out the caregiving IQ quiz over at the NextAvenue website. It includes some questions about how we define caregiving, what we spend on caregiving, and the costs of long-term care. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable and I missed a couple of these.
After each question the quiz shares the answer and offers some detailed explanations. It’s well worth a few minutes of your time.
Those of us with aging parents know that there’s a lot to learn!
The direction of every life can change in a moment. We learn this as we age and also as we support elder parents.
In his February 19, 2015, New York Times’ opinion piece, My Own Life, Dr. Oliver Sacks illustrates how fast things can change. If you missed his article, it’s a stirring description of what it’s like to feel good and robust at one moment and discover a metastasized cancer tumor at the next. There is nothing unique about this situation — it happens all the time. What is unusual is that a person takes the time to write about it and the ending of life with intimacy and clarity.
Dr. Sacks, a neurologist who has written many books about our brains and how they work — my personal favorite is Musicicophilia — is in his eighties and a professor at New York University’s School of Medicine. The movie Awakenings, with Robin Williams portraying Dr. Sacks, was based on his book of the same name. Continue reading
Visit the Museum of Modern Art to learn more about the exhibit.
Those of us with elder parents spend a lot of time thinking about age and change. As adult children, we observe the aging of our parents, but not infrequently we wonder aloud how they got so old. At the same time we don’t always notice how we, too, are growing older.
In October 2014 the New York Times Magazine published a feature by Susan Minot, Forty Portraits in Forty Years, that described the remarkable photographs of the Brown sisters. The photos, shot with the four women in the same order and with somewhat similar poses over 40 years, demonstrate with singular clarity how we grow older. Photographer Nicholas Nixon took the pictures, which were recently displayed at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. Continue reading