Creative Aging Expert

Fall 2013

In This Issue

Books on Aging

Aging in Community by Janice M. Blanchard and Bolton Anthony. In this anthology, editor Janice Blanchard brings together the perspectives of visionaries, practitioners, and pioneering elders who together are forging an exciting new paradigm of aging — aging in community.

My House, Our House: Living for Less in a Cooperative Household by Karen M. Bush, Louise S. Machinist, and Jean McQuillin, three women who formed a cooperative household. It details the decisions and issues they faced together. Visit their web site: which lists resources and advice for cooperative living. I find there is a growing interest amongst older people for exploring new living arrangements.

A Woman Alone: Travel Tales From Around the World edited by Faith Conlon, Ingrid Emerick, and Henry De Tessan. This book was brought to my attention by friends who see me as an adventurer. Believe me I am a wimp compared to these women travelers! I never rode a camel through the Gobi desert, or traveled alone in third world countries where I didn't speak the language. Going by yourself to a Roads Scholar program will seem like a piece of cake after reading these exciting tales.

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Educating Medical Students about Seniors

Virginia Commonwealth University Assistant Professor M. Elizabeth Meyers, Lead Educational Coordinator for the School of Medicine's Partnership in Geriatric Education, invited me to lunch to discuss ways to connect medical students with retirees. We brainstormed a lot of ideas. For a start we invited two active seniors to be at the geriatric education table during the introductory open house for first-year medical students: Pete, almost 80, who is walking across America pulling his homemade cart (2000 miles so far), and yours truly dressed in biking clothes and with bike. The poster next to me read: "The Aging Adventurer Is In: Ask Me Anything. (Yes anything!)"

It was interesting interacting with the students as they walked the room looking at information on various specialties like surgery, pediatrics, primary care, etc. In our conversations, we discussed how seniors are living longer and healthier lives. Even if we enter the health system for one thing or another, we bounce back to continue our active lives. Unless they are in pediatrics, more than half of their patients will be over 60, so it is important that they are informed about this new group of elders.

Up next might be a panel of active seniors talking about their experiences in the health system. I look forward to continuing this important conversation.

In addition to working with VCU, the University of Richmond asked me to return to speak to the Doctors Becoming Doctors class to acquaint them with the new group of healthy, active seniors and to share my experiences with the health system both positive and negative.

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Getting a Transportation Program Started

If there are no transportation services for seniors available where you live, take a look at the Beverly Foundation's TurnKey Kit — an online resource that offers information on how to get a local transportation program started. Visit or call 626-792-2292 to learn more if their web site is not up.

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American Institute for Cancer Research

The AICR newsletter explains current cancer research, provides recipes and menu ideas for healthy aging, and offers practical advice to lower cancer risks. Since so many older women experience breast cancer, I wanted to share the information. For a $10 contribution you can receive the newsletter. Sign up at or by calling 800-843-8114. An article in AICR's fall 2013 issue discussed how I dealt with my two bouts of breast cancer. Read that article

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Recent Speaking Engagements

I keynoted the Country Meadows Retirement Communities' Pennsylvania conference in July. Its' theme was "Celebrating Your Independence" and my topic was "It's Never Too Late To Make It Happen!" They were a wonderfully responsive group of seniors — ages 80 to100. As they listened in on my workshop on "Risk Taking at Any Age," the staff said they learned a lot of new information about their residents. In September, I will address the Covenant Woods Retirement Home residents in Richmond, Virginia, on "Redefining Old Age for the 21st Century."

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Closing Down

Dear Readers, I am sorry to say that this will be my last newsletter. I am focusing on my second book, tentatively titled Life's Transitions. The book will focus on changing careers mid-life, taking a sabbatical in the midst of a busy career, recovering from divorce, becoming an adventurer, and transitioning into retirement. I have taken many risks in my life. People doubted they would work. They mostly did! I hope to encourage others to go for their dreams against great odds and share with them what it takes to make these transitions work. I might also include more tales of my adventures.

I will retain my mailing list, and new people can add their names to it by going to my web site When I finish the book, you will be the first to know. I especially apologize to my most recent subscribers and would encourage you to visit my web site and read my previous newsletters. Many of them are timeless.

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Connecting with other Aging Newsletters

I am listing other aging newsletters which I find inspiring and full of good information. I encourage you to check them out. They will keep you updated on the latest issues in the aging field and give you much food for thought. or Second Journey
Second Journey is among a small number of emerging social-change organizations helping foster a new vision of the rich possibilities of later life.

Their logo is "Mindfulness, Service and Community in the Second Half of Life." I encourage you to explore their bi-monthly publication, Itineraries, at This month it features thoughtful reviews of movies with aging themes — like Amour, Still Mine, It's a Wonderful Life, Wild Strawberries, and John Wayne in The Gunfighter Grows Old.
To subscribe:
The Positive Aging Newsletter is distributed by the Taos Institute and written by Ken and Mary Gergen. It is dedicated to productive dialogue between research and practice. Ken teaches at Swarthmore College and Mary at Penn State. They helped found the Taos Institute.

Human Values and Aging Newsletter
This monthly newsletter comes out of the AARP Office of Academic Affairs and is edited by H.R. Moody. It lists upcoming conferences and events in the field, comments on giants in the field, quotes from significant articles on aging, and keeps us focused on human values in aging. To subscribe contact

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A Final Thought

Oliver Sacks, professor of neurology at NYU School of Medicine, says this in a recent New York Times article: "I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together. I am looking forward to being 80."

I hope you are too!

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