It is working so well–!! I love it when a good plan comes together. I have facilitated four small group discussions i.e. “Video Book Clubs” where groups of older adults (I think the term “agemasters” can be used here…) get together, view one of the Mastery of Aging Well web-based modules and talk about the information provided/tell their stories.
Yesterday was a ‘Depression in Later Life’ discussion. I am moved by the raw authenticity people displayed when they talked about their own depressive inclinations… One brave person opened up and others felt they have been given permission to “let their sad out” too. It was like watching a haltingly beautiful, slow-motion word-dance.
Yesterday’s group learned that depression in later life often involves somatic complaints (someone’s aches and pains are referenced repeatedly) and that crankiness and irritability can be signs of depression–especially in aging males. They talked candidly about the pros and cons of the newest form of therapy (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and everyone in the group committed to using aerobic exercise as a way to manage depression.
One man, using the action planning approach introduced as part of the discussion, left the room chanting …”I will walk 35 minutes a day for the rest of my life.” You know, there was definitely a bit of a bounce in his step that I had not noticed earlier.
Mastery of Aging Well http://outreach.oregonstate.edu/aging-well is an easy-watching, easy-listening approach to web-based instruction for aging eyes.
I just facilitated a “Mastery of Aging Well” online series (http://outreach.oregonstate.edu/aging-well) as an audio book club. A group of 18 older adults watched the Memory Difficulties module together and then we all discussed the content. A few of the participants plan to facilitate similar audio book club discussions in their own homes. The online ‘Mastery of Aging Well’ approach has loads of possibilities. Onward!
When I begin to talk about the process of aging—here is what usually happens. People roll their eyes and look down, or sometimes they just sigh and gaze at me indulgently. Maybe you are doing that right now.
But I soldier on—intent on sharing enticing pieces of age and health-related information—ever looking for new ideas that may have practical application to a life well lived.
There are occasions when I’ve pointed to the importance of laughter in preventing heart disease (Archives of General Psychiatry, 1994) or touted red and purple berries as being particularly good for maintaining cognitive health. (The Memory Prescription, Gary Small, 2006)
Sometimes I just ruminate on those things that touch my heart. Like the time our aging spaniel smiled at me. Or the middle-of-the night experience with our seven-year-old granddaughter, spending the summer with us and appearing at our bedside to ask “Are cats color blind?”
I write a weekly column about life’s little idiosyncrasies and this business of aging and have enough readership to know I am not the only one pondering this stuff—not the only one still asking questions at age sixty and counting.
Getting older is the only thing we all hold in common. I put that phrase in a recent column and it clearly resonated with folks, so I thought I would repeat it. I choose to think of it as underscoring a well-made point, not an indication of cognitive repetitiveness and early dementia. But you decide.
I have a theory that ‘aging well’ means you don’t take yourself too seriously. I choose to embrace the reality that flashes back at me when I unexpectedly catch sight of myself in a reflection.
My plan is simple. Try to do it well—aging, that is. Stay active, eat wisely and laugh long and hard when I recognize my own youth-obsessed vanity—.
Floss. Visit ailing friends and bring Gerber daisies. And if I am ailing—I may need to buy my own daisies. I will put them in a red vase with a smiley face on it.
I made a pact with myself a few years ago. I promised I would not let aging ‘just happen’ to me—I wanted to be an active participant in the process of getting older. “Ever learning” was my declared motto.
And so I try. I look for information and insight-everywhere.
And recently, bouyed by a USDA grant, I decided to package information about aging well in a way that made it easily accessible on an on-going basis–without hassle or cost. I called it Mastery of Aging Well.
Online learning is new territory for most of us who are in our sixth decade. And blogging is never something I anticipated I would be doing. But now that I am into it, I find it rather purging. Stream of consciousness for sure.
You just write what you are thinking—like a form of therapy. Here’s a thought. “If you learn—you must teach.” And another……