Have blocked off April 3-5 on my 2018 calendar – the 10th Annual Masterpiece Living Lyceum – Making Chronological Age Irrelevant, being held right in my own backyard. Yep, instead of booking a room, will be taking SEPTA or Gibbs (our stout-hearted & true Concorde) every day to the conference.
And I am submitting a proposal for a presentation. Postcard From the Trenches will look at the challenges & opportunities found in those most valiant of care partners – the ones thrown into the maelstrom of elder support, the ones who bring & gain the most from their experiences, who have so much to share & are too often silent. Aka family members & loving friends. The ones who typically shield their eyes & heart from encroaching health issues with older loved ones, typically find themselves drawn into dealing with major problems without any preparation, typically try to get through without being engulfed & overwhelmed and, when the all-engrossing crisis is past, typically seek to forget about it, put it out of mind, distant themselves from the experience.
We are, as a culture, unprepared to provide getting-up-there relatives & friends the sort of support they need to live as fully as possible, in spite of an aging body. We are basically clueless about what to expect, be it for ourselves or others. Go into any major bookstore – you’ll find an entire section on pregnancy & childcare. Where is the section on aging expansively, on childing & eldercare? No where. Search Amazon for books on childcare – almost 27.000 results. Eldercare? 6,000. Expansive aging – if only!
How do we turn that around? How do people involved in family-provided elder support get info & training on helping olders elders ancients LIVE instead of merely exist? How to step them past providing basic maintenance to social enrichment? How to seek find embrace their own support team? How do we prepare youngers to be knowledgeable, effective care partners ~and~ elders to partner in their own care?
It’s not about connecting people to more information about the challenges of dipping into our 70s, 80s & above. Information is NOT power. Wisdom is. That is what’s needed.
Countless people engaged in an older loved one’s care have great insights to share, innovative ways to help olders increase their sense of independence, to be as fully themselves as possible, whatever their circumstances may be, how they’ve lessened the stress & strain on themselves.
Where are the forums to hear them, to build on what they’ve discovered, to stop reinventing the eldercare wheel? How do we create them in time to help boomers & their children, friends?
My proposal for a Masterpiece Lyceum presentation speaks for those in the trenches & throws down the guantlet – – how do those of us who understand the ways, means & power of communication make it easier for the naturally mute to find & use their voice so we can gain from & build on their experiences?
From my earliest days, my great passion has been doing what I can to encourage people of every age to be as fully themselves as possible. My presentation will seek to find ways to help people with no letters after their names, who didn’t ask to become a care partner but have embraced it, who have more to offer than they imagine, to become part of a conversation around how we provide eldercare, to share worst nightmares & best practices. To be part of a greater whole instead of isolated, alone.
There’s always going to be new recruits reporting to the trenches. I aim to make sure that they have the right equipment & guidance to serve with honor & even distinction. That’s what I want to talk about at April’s Masterpiece Lyceum, what I want to spread through the Radical Age Movement, what I want to share in casual conversations.
I am an eldercare evolutionary dedicated to flipping our country’s culture around aging from woe to WOW. Hear me roar, watch me soar!