Elders and Students Living Together: A Novel Housing Idea

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This picture was shared with AsOurParentsAge.net by  Humanities Deventer community administrators. Many thanks!

What if every long-term care and assisted living community had a few areas where students could live for free in exchange for an hour a day of volunteer work? Wouldn’t that create an interesting multi-age community? Well it’s been tried in The Netherlands, and it’s successful.

According to a story from the Australia Broadcast Company (ABC) an assisted living community in The Netherlands now sets aside six rooms for college students. The students live free in exchange for 30 hours of volunteer work each month. The students and the residents love it, though according to a student interviewed in the article, the main problem is that people they know die.

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Elders Share Wisdom on Love: A Valentine’s Day Treat!

Adult children learn a lot from elder parents.

book-cover-305x450Take a few minutes to read Love Lessons From the Wisest Americanspublished over at the NextAvenue.org site and a great Valentine’s Day treat. The article, published on February 12, 2015, will help to clear up quite a few misconceptions about our aging parents.

Written by Suzanne Gerber, this piece describes research interviews with around 700 elders documenting what they say, looking back, about love and life. Cornell University gerontologist Karl Pillemer, Ph.D conducted the research and wove it into a book, 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationship, and Marriage.

At his Vimeo video website, Dr. Pillemer has posted some of the interviews. You can also visit Dr. Pillemer’s Legacy Project website. Check them both out.

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Thanks to the Elders Who Built My Church Community

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.

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Elders’ Mental Wellness and Outlook on Life

Click on the image to listen to the program.

Recently I listened to an NPR radio program, On Point, featuring a discussion about Mental Wellness in the Elderly. The program originates at WBUR in Boston with host Tom Ashbrook. Ashbrook’s guest was Dr. Marc Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist (there aren’t many of these physicians in the whole United States) and the medical director for mental health and clinical research at Miami Jewish Health Systems in Florida.

In his interview, Dr. Agronin points out that many people, including adult children, mistakenly believe that elders get more depressed as they grow older. Actually the frequency of problems with depression goes down, not up. He also notes that people in their 80’s have the highest sense of well-being. In response to a listener question Dr. Agronin said that people in their eighties have  “…lifelong perspective, more knowledge, have dealt with loss and coped well with it.”

Dr. Agronin was also featured in a  May 1, 2011 New York Times article, Doctor Focuses on Minds of the Elderly.

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