In March 2015 I wrote Elders and Students Living Together: A Novel Housing Idea, describing how a Humanitas Deventer elder community, in the Netherlands, implemented the concept of “woonstudent,” by designating four apartments for students to live in at no cost. The only requirement? Resident students are expected to volunteer with their older resident neighbors, and together the two groups create an amazing intergenerational community.
Visit the Judson Manor website,
A May 2015 New York Times article, In Cleveland, Young and Old Keep Tempo of Life, highlights another intergenerational community program, this one in Cleveland, Ohio. The Judson Manor elder community designated three apartments for students at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), offering free housing for as long as each student attends the Institute and expecting each student to perform at least once a month. Read what the description of the program on the Judson Manor blog. What began as an experiment has been a huge success and you can read the a piece about the students at the CIM website.. The students feel they have learned a lot as do the elders. (See a CBS News video below.) Continue reading →
This picture has the old operating system. I’ll take a screen shot of his new iPad once it is up and running.
I finally figured out what iPad model to purchase for my 90-year-old dad as a Christmas 2013 present, and I thought I’d share my decision-making process here, just in case others are dealing with the same conundrum. My mom is under strict instructions to keep him away from this blog (he is a regular reader) until mid-day on December 25th.
Deciding what to buy as a replacement iPad took quite a bit of time and energy, mostly because a range of models are available at a range of prices. Below are some of the factors that contributed to my decision. At the end you can find out what we bought for dad’s Christmas present.
iPad Keyboard – Dad has an easy-to-use keyboard. He sets the iPad right into the 30-pin port and begins typing. His speaker system for music connects the same way. The newest iPad models come with the smaller lightning to USB connector. To change connections, he would need to change keyboards. Moreover, the newest keyboards are all bluetooth, and I really did not want my dad to have to add keeping track of bluetooth to his digital iPad tasks. We searched for keyboards that would connect the same way as his older one — just with smaller connections, but they just aren’t available. Continue reading →
It’s Veteran’s Day 2013, when we remember men and women who fight and those who gave up their lives in wars — wars fought largely to maintain democracy and take stands against extreme hate and cruelty. Each year, I think about my Uncle Sherman, because while he did not die fighting, he made an ultimate sacrifice — forever losing any quality of life after he suffered extreme shell shock (now called post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD) in World War II. Sherman was a B-24 tail gunner.
These days, as various groups make life complex by telling people what to believe, how to worship best, and who they should and shouldn’t love, I remember Uncle Sherman, precisely because of how a kid from a poor family told his mother that he had made a complex decision with understated simplicity. He told her he wanted to fight Hitler because of what he learned in Sunday School about freedom, evil dictators, persecution, and even a bit about world religions. Not many people were talking about religious persecution back then, but somehow in American Baptist Sunday school in Terre Haute, Indiana they were.
Uncle Sherman told his mother that he understood that we were fighting evil — and that he could lose his life — but that he wanted to join up. His mom, my grandmother, who was a short order cook with a fifth grade education, made a deal with him. She would sign the papers as soon as he graduated from Gerstmeyer Technical High School. He graduated, she signed, and he was still 17 when he went to war.
At work do you ever feel especially old when teams or committees neglect to include veteran employees? Do you occasionally see younger colleagues roll their eyes or flaunt up-to-the-minute technology skills when an older colleague makes a suggestion or comment? Does this situation make you think defensively, sometimes making jokes about your senior moments or aging? We’ve all been there!
I’ve noticed that when a few people in their late fifties get together and talk about their jobs, it is not uncommon for them to mention how workplace environments, while building leadership skills in younger workers, forget emphasize how older employees continue to have much to share.
Sometimes at my church in late October we sing the hymn, For All the Saints. At that service we remember the many dedicated and committed people who have died over the course of the year. For me, this service is always a time to think about long time members, most of them elders and many the age of my parents, who have accomplished much and made the world and community — not just our church — a better place.
This celebration of All Saints’ Day makes me think about getting older, how much life I have left to live (quite a few years, I hope), and whether, when the time comes and my life ends, I will look back and feel like I have lived my life with service to others.
My church is celebrating its centennial year, and right now it’s mid-May, not October. I just enjoyed another opportunity to listen and ponder the well-lived lives of elders (age-wise, not in the church governing sense), some departed, but a good many still alive and active. So many of these people, contributing time and talent, ensured during the first 75 years, that the church would endure for generations, making is possible for the rest of us to celebrate this 100th year. For three hours people shared stories and special memories about the history and lives lived in ways that affect change without rubbing their religion in the face of others. Though it was a long afternoon, hardly anyone left before the event ended.
I am tiring of “the boomers are coming” dire warnings that seem to be everywhere. Boomer bashing is nothing new — it’s been going on since it became clear that the demographic cohort would be a large one.
Yes there are problems with so many people growing old in one generation, but it also means there are lots of people who have time and energy to give back. In my life and in the lives of the boomers I know well, we have time after time given more than we’ve received. I expect this giving to continue.
Whether we were fighting for civil rights, starting careers later than usual because we worked on projects that supported other types of change, or continuing throughout our lives to contribute major amounts of community service, giving back has always been a theme in our lives.
What a delight to read Dorothy Sander’s April 11, 2012 post in the Huffington Post describing a “new way of aging” that involves deepening a vision about the many things that are left to be done even as we grow older. Sander, the founder of Aging Abundantly, expresses ideas that many boomers share.