At the Mercy of Strangers
In the following essay, Wendy Lustbader, MSW, imagines herself at the end of her life, completely dependent on others for her daily care. Based on her experience with nursing home residents, she offers a perspective on how to preserve dignity in a situation that's the very definition of undignified. Lustbader is an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work, a practicing psychotherapist, and the author of
Life Gets Better: The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Older and
What’s Worth Knowing. This essay was published in the Fall 2005 issue of
YES! Magazine and is reprinted here with permission. Read more...
Don’t Deny Your Age, Celebrate It
Recently someone asked me if I would participate in a talk called "Don’t Let an Old Person Move into Your Body." I thought about it for several days, and then I declined. Read more...
Rethinking Drinking in Your Later Years
Baby boomers are working harder and playing longer than previous generations—and toasting life to its fullest at the end of the day. But for many, it may be time to think about holding back a bit as we pour the next cocktail. Even a seemingly temperate drink can become difficult to metabolize as our physical and mental states change with the years. Read more...
The Power of Positive Aging
Do you feel good about growing older? If you do, you may very well live longer than those who dread old age. Read more...
One morning, as I was preparing for an art-making class at a senior home, a resident asked if I knew where the manager was. When a nearby aide told me the request was coming from a 104-year-old, I couldn’t believe it—I told Eleanora she didn’t look a day over 80. Later I found out that the reason she needed to speak to the head honcho was because she wanted to learn Spanish. Why? Because the United States is becoming a bilingual country and Eleanora wanted to be part of it. Read more...
Going Nuclear in a Family Way
I grew up in a nuclear family—parents, kids and that was it—but I had the impression that practically everyone else in America lived in three-generation extended families. When grandparents grew old, I believed, their grown children automatically took them in, and everyone lived together like the Waltons on television. Read more...
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The Hands-Some Journey Project
Photographer Elaine Zelker captures life stories through hand held objects.
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"It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment; in these qualities old age is usually not poorer, but is even richer."
Cicero (106-43 BC)