Bay Area Creative Aging Collaborative Hosted by WoodPark Community

For the past two years, Creative Aging SF (CASF) professionals throughout the Bay area have joined WoodPark community members to share creative approaches to aging.  Topics have ranged from jazz music to sand play therapy to virtual exercise to artwork to discussions on aging to a career/life game, with plenty of networking in between. CASF, now in its 3rd year, is the first regional Creative Aging collaborative in the U.S.

Chinese Harpist Captivates Elders

Melody Yan is a Guzhengist (Chinese Harpist), educator, and performer. She has captivated WoodPark elders, combining Gusheng music with Tai Chi. Guzheng is a Chinese traditional instrument with origins traced to 475-213 B.C in China.  The Guzheng has been played for 2500 years. Its beautiful sounds induce a wonderful state of tranquility in the listener, of such value to AgeSong elders.

Sound Healer/Storyteller Engages with the Community

The WoodPark community welcomes engaging entertainers who facilitate music with members of the the community, not just perform for them.

Evelie Delfino Såles Posch has these skills. She is a sacred song singer/writer; recording artist; drummer; dancer; Pranic and​ ​Certified Sound ​Healer ​​and Therapist; choral director; storyteller; actress; music educator; independent scholar; and magical activist whose talents have flourished for over forty years, spanning the traditions of her ancestors and the progressive edge of ceremony, world music and dance.

She sings in 32 language and has shared the stage with many luminaries such as ​Joan Baez,​ ​Gary Malkin (Grammy Awardee), Mary Black, Shay Black, ​Olympia Dukakis, Eve Ensler, ​Starhawk, ​Gloria Steinem, Linda Tillery, Luisah Teish, Tuck and Patti​ ​and many, many others.



Visual Artist at WoodPark Fosters Creativity and Imagination Unique to Each Elder

Prajakti (Praj) Jayavant combines projects and approaches to art making that are tailored towards the physical and mental needs of each elder.  Her work with WoodPark elders is an example of the community’s core values, a dedication to whole-body healing, the Ayurvedic belief that health and wellness depends on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
Jayavant holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ohio State University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from California College of Arts and Crafts. She has worked with students whose ages span from three to one hundred and three years old. She has been an art teacher in convalescent hospitals, colleges, elementary and special education schools for two decades. Under her tutelage, WoodPark elders develop skills in aesthetics, critical thinking, and hand/ eye coordination through the use of a variety of materials and a healthy dose of fun.

AgeSong Brings Generations Together in Holiday Chorus

Elders at WoodPark love to engage with youth through music.  Therefore, they were delighted when students from Patten Academy of Christian Education, a private K-12 Christian school in Oakland, performed a festive holiday chorus. It didn’t stop there.  One elder was so excited, he joined the choral group on stage, singing with them familiar holiday carols.



Join Us for Reimagine This April

What would it mean for an entire city to reimagine the way we live and die?

We at AgeSong are thrilled to be part of a unique San Francisco experience called Reimagine. From April 16-22 with more than 150 events all exploring big questions about life and death, Reimagine features a lineup from Academy Award winners Frances McDormand and Pixar’s team from the film Coco, to Daybreaker, GLIDE Memorial, SFJAZZ, and the founder of Burning Man. Our intention is to help break down taboos and inspire brave conversations across the city.

Want a special discount for some of these events? Read on!

AgeSong is participating in Reimagine by hosting an event because we share this nonprofit’s vision of a world in which we are all able to reflect on why we’re here, prepare for a time when we won’t be, and live fully right up until the end. Check out our event WHO WE ARE MATTERS AS WE MOVE TOWARD END OF LIFE.”  on Friday, April 20, 2018, from 10 am to noon at a private home, convenient to public transportation, and free street parking, 551 Page Street, San Francisco.

If you RSVP to our event, you will receive a special 20% off discount code to experience some of Reimagine’s curated events, including Opening Night with a stacked lineup including Dr. BJ Miller, members of the SF Symphony and Opera, Comedy Central comedian Chris Garcia, indie folk band Cloud Cult, and many more!

We hope you’ll consider attending a few of the incredible happenings during Reimagine week. Take a look at the full schedule to discover events drawing on everything from the arts to spirituality to healthcare to design.

We’d love it if you could help us spread the word about Reimagine by sharing this information with your friends and family, and we’ll see you soon!

Look forward to your participation!


Dr. Sally Gelardin
Career & Carepartner Educator
Cell: 415.312.4294

How can we move toward end of life with a joyful vision?

“Who We Are MATTERS” as We Move toward End of Life!
Friday, Apr 20, 2018, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Private SF Home, lite refreshments
551 Page St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA


As part of Reimagine End of Life in San Francisco, we invite you to join us for an event exploring this: Who We Are MATTERS as We Move Toward End of Life. By playing the Who You Are MATTERS! board game that sparks meaningful conversations, we move forward with clarity, confidence, and a stronger voice.  Join us on Friday April 20, 10 am to noon, at 55 Page Street, San Francisco.

We’re thrilled to be a part of Reimagine, a week of exploring big questions about life and death. We will join an amazing lineup of artists, storytellers, healthcare professionals, innovators, and designers, who are coming together to host events that look at living and dying well from all different, often creative, perspecgives. There are over 50 other workshops, experiences, performances and more to check out during the week of events.

Interested in this topic? Let us know on the Who We Are Matters as We Move toward End of Life Facebook page.

View the entire Reimagine lineup at





Dr. Sally Gelardin, Dr. Nader Shabahangi, Kyrie Carpenter, MA, Kadir Uyanik



Who We Are Matters as We Move Toward End of Life

Reimagine FB Event Page

Moving Forward

When I was moving my mother from her home of 40 years in New England, where she had lived her entire life, I found books on the topic of “caregiving” on her bookshelves. When Mom was interested in a topic, she researched it. She had been primary caregiver for my father for 10 years before he died.

About 15 years later, she was ready to move to an assisted living community near my brothers in Florida. The move was a huge transition for her, but within two weeks, she had made new friends, was exercising, and had settled in her new environment.

I learned from my mother to move forward in my life, no matter what obstacles. READ MORE….

Replacing “Eldercare” with “Eldership”

A few months ago I was invited to talk about AgeSong for a film that is being produced. Following are interview questions and my responses.

What is the primary difference between AgeSong and other assisted living communities?

Individuals are not their diagnosis. AgeSong moves from “assisted” to “community living,” from “eldercare” to “eldership,” replacing medical labels, such as Alzheimers and Dementia, with “forgetfulness” and generally accepted assisted living terminology, such as “activities” with “meaningful engagement” and “quality of life at any age, stage, cultural background, or ability.”

 What is your personal view of aging?

Aging is an antedated term. An individual can be an elder at any age. The importance of this view of aging hit home for me when my granddaughter died at the age of four years, 11 months. She was a true elder, living in the present, preferring to be outside, in the garden, dropping stones one by one to hear them ping, opening and closing the window blinds to see changing light patterns. Olivia, born with neurological challenges, was slower than other children in traditional developmental stages of childhood, but she enjoyed life fully. Like Andy Goldsworthy, the famous British sculptor and founder of modern “Rock Balancing,” she was brilliant in touch, sound, taste, and sight, though not in the usual child development stages, such as walking to running, bicycle riding, or climbing.

How was your granddaughter like the elders with whom you work?

In many ways, Olivia was like the elders with whom I interact every day, moving cautiously, because her eyesight was different from that of most children. Like a particular elder who has lived in AgeSong’s communities for over 20 years, Olivia needed to be changed every couple hours. But like AgeSong’s a respected community member, who is now in her 60s, this daily living need for help did not take away from Olivia’s full participation in life. I learned from both Olivia and from AgeSong’s elders how to listen and be present, rather than being tied to my computer and need for daily accomplishment.

I’ve heard memory loss compared to meditation. Could you tell me about that?

My yoga teacher said her mother, who had been an author running around the country on book tours, became much happier and relaxed when she slowed down after she developed rapidly increasing memory loss. Nader Shabahangi, AgeSong’s founder and CEO, compares memory loss to meditation, a state in which one doesn’t think about about the future and all the things one needs to get done, but rather allows oneself to experience a more peaceful state. He says that we start forgetting from the moment we are born and that we can aspire to, not fear, changes in memory.

What interests AgeSong community members?

Elders love children, music, and sharing stories about their lives with folks who like to listen to their stories – staff, Gerowellness interns (MFT and other therapists in training), volunteers, family members, and international visitors. They come from a variety of backgrounds and enjoy celebrating multicultural holidays and learning about different spiritual beliefs. They enjoy exercising to music in the morning, taking daily walks around the picturesque Oakland neighborhood, and dancing (whether standing or sitting) to their favorite music. Each community members also has his/her own special interests.

Why do you work with Elders?

Formerly AgeSong’s Regional Director of Engagement and Education, I now prefer to serve as a consultant, spending time socializing with community members and their families and friends and providing experiences in which they can gain self-respect and be respected by others. As a member of the same generation as many AgeSong elders, I have similar tastes in music – opera, classical, jazz, blues, folk. I turn to elders in the community to learn patience, self-acceptance, quietude, compassion, and other “Eldership” attributes.

I work with community members to learn how “to be an Elder,” rather than “to care for” Elders. Care is mutual. We learn from each other. I facilitate Elders Academy and provide training programs in which participants explore Eldership as a state to aspire to, rather than fear. I teach others in order to learn about being an Elder, myself.


Dr. Sally Gelardin is a Career and Life Transitions Educator. As former Regional Director of Engagement and Education for AgeSong’s elder communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Career Planning and Adult Development Career Coach, she writes articles for industry and public media and designs training programs for paid and family “care partners” (alternative ways of viewing “caregivers”), volunteers, and community members on how to serve elders and how to be an elder. Dr. Gelardin presents on innovative approaches to public health, psychology, entrepreneurship and leadership. For more information, contact and view