Eldership Academy Press Offers New Book by Dr Julia Wolfson

Eldership Academy Press is honored to offer “Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services.” the latest book by Julia Wolfson, PhD.  Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services empowers those in need of care services, caregivers and care organizations using a strengths-based approach to recovery and change.

Dr. Julia Wolfson is a frequent presenter at AgeSong Academy, an life-long education program for residents, volunteers and staff. She has presented workshops on changing the culture of care in ways that give equal emphasis to individual agency, reciprocity in relationships, and community belonging.

Dr. Julia Wolfson, human ecologist, is founder of Turning Forward. She works with people, organisations and communities around the world.

“Dr. Wolfson’s book Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services shows how certain skills and metaskills using ‘deep democracy’, can help those in need, caregivers and whole organizations thrive!”
– Drs. Amy and Arnold Mindell, Founders of Processwork, deep democracy and worldwork

“A refreshing and thought provoking must read if you or your friends or a family member is in a care environment.”
– Drs. Ellen and Max Schupbach, Founders of the Deep Democracy Institute International

“This book will help people reframe the key issues in human services around the themes of self-direction, relationships, and social capital.”
– Dr. James F. Gardner, Former President and CEO, Council on Quality and Leadership, 1989-2012

Find out more about Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services >>

Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services

Diversity, Inclusion and Innate Powers
Applying Deep Democracy to Human Services cover

By Julia Wolfson, Ph.D.
Eldership Academy Press (2017)
$18.95 Softcover, plus shipping

Purchasing Details:

Now Available in Paperback!

Buy a version for your Kindle!
Order the Kindle ebook of Applying Deep Democracy to Human Services

One billion people across the globe of all ages – one eighth of our human community – are dependent on health, disability and/or care and protective systems and providers. For millions of people, everyday survival depends on caregivers, supporters, care programs and funding. The need may be temporary, longer term or lifelong. Many people in care systems and assisted living settings are lonely, isolated and long to feel at home in a community with meaningful opportunities to participate and contribute.

Mistreatment, exploitation and neglect in protective environments and institutions, has come to light in a sweep of shocking revelations and inquiries worldwide. Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services is relevant for caregivers, educators and direct support professionals, and people who rely on support and care. This book is also important for family members, policy makers and community developers, facilitators, leaders and administrators involved in this ever-growing and expanding field of human services.

The nine innate powers explained, are a concrete way to address one of the core questions people in care institutions, educators and helping professions are grappling with: How best to respond to people who require assistance and care in a strengths-based, individualized and respectful way. Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services is a humanising and pragmatic response to addressing and preventing abuse and awakening inner resources for a self-directed life, rich with meaning, friendship and contribution.

From the Foreword

“This is an important text for the future. On a global scale we are discovering that relationships and connections with other people, opportunities, and resources provide the best guarantee of health, safety, and growth and development. We are also discovering that we can no longer afford to continually enlarge the disability bubble. We will need to master the material that Wolfson provides us if we intend to explore sustainable lives and relationships beyond that bubble. This book will help people reframe the key issues in human services around the themes of self-direction, relationships, and social capital.”

– James F. Gardner, PhD, President, J Gardner & Associates, LLC, and Past President and CEO, Council on Quality and Leadership, 1989–2012

What Leaders in the Field are Saying About the Book

“Dr. Wolfson’s book Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services shows how certain skills and metaskills using ‘deep democracy’, can help those in need, caregivers and whole organizations thrive!”

— Drs. Amy and Arnold Mindell, Founders of Process Work, deep democracy and worldwork

“A refreshing and thought provoking must read if you or your friends or a family member is in a care environment.”

— Drs. Ellen and Max Schupbach, Founders of the Deep Democracy Institute International

“Finally, after working for over 40 years with people with challenging behaviors, predominantly in the field of Intellectual Disability, I am awed and heartened by this book. Rich with insight derived through direct practice and capable of being extrapolated to all nature of oppression and abuse of power, Dr. Julia Wolfson uses her own rich life and work experiences to expose the painful abuses and misguided power-over in interpersonal relationships that often commingles with well-meaning care-taking intentions for people with different abilities. Through her powerful storytelling she simultaneously exposes us to pain and suffering, as well as the hopefulness of the healing path when truth is heard in a facilitated environment. This book is very important for us all to read, especially if we hope to help humanity develop to its fullest potential. I will assign it to my students in our MSW program as well as to our clinic interns as a strategic guide to transformative leadership, and recommend it to everyone I come across who is trying to help change the world.”

Dr. Beth Barol, Associate Dean and Director of Social Work, Widener University, Pennsylvania, USA.

“For more than a decade the author has worked with our organisation in a village in Africa, for children, youth and young adults with different abilities, bringing us together to discover at progressively deeper levels what the core of our work is. In this book she shares the treasures and insight of many decades of work supporting organisations to bring out the strengths of vulnerable people. It is a remarkable book that should be required reading for all who work in this field.”

— Agas Groth, CEO Camphill Communities, Botswana.

“This masterpiece promises to make a significant contribution to the most difficult existential questions of our time. In a fascinating weave of experiences from her professional life and deep, personal accounts, Julia provides a roadmap for a journey of a universal kind. The inquiry is both confronting and comforting. The authenticity of the voice in this narrative demands of us as readers that we, too, ask ourselves: how can I be safe and free? What does it mean to be alive? Can I become an agent of change? Can I grow my own power or must I wait for this to be authorized by another? This book should be on any reading list that aims to educate people within the social sciences. It applies not only to the education and care sectors but in any context within which our aim is to serve others. With its refined approach to inclusion, this book applies to any culture or nation where there are individuals who put their work in service of their fellow human beings. Courage and love in equal measures has made this book what it is. Read it and be changed.”

Charlotte von Bülow, founder and CEO, Crossfields Institute, Awarding Organisation for specialist qualifications, Stroud, United Kingdom.

“Bringing in her personal and professional experiences with people of diverse ages, backgrounds, abilities, sexual orientations, political and spiritual beliefs, Julia discusses ‘nine innate deep powers,’ giving concrete examples in her work and suggesting ‘on-the-spot practices’ that can be used to apply these powers. As a counselor, multi-cultural educator, and mother/grandmother of a family with varying abilities, I identify with and will continue to learn from Julia and the people and situations that she describes.”

Dr. Sally Gelardin, AgeSong Community Engagement Director, 
San Francisco, USA.

Applying Deep Democracy to Human Services
By Julia Wolfson, Ph.D.
Eldership Academy Press (2017)
$18.95 Softcover, plus shipping

Available Now on Kindle!
Order the Kindle ebook of Applying Deep Democracy to Human Services

Paperback to be Available in June, 2017!
Order Applying Deep Democracy to Human Services

Related Post:
Dr Wolfson Presentation From the Inside Out: Changing Our Culture of Care

Reflections on Eldercare Today and the Future

The Senior Care Industry at one point only saw its role as one that assisted elders with basic living needs, not to help them live in meaningful communities that provide continued integration of elders in and with society. The former approach often led to the valid criticism of senior care providers ‘warehousing’ elders. This warehousing criticism was based on an overall simplistic approach to eldercare which led to large profit margins in the industry.

Now developers and operators have a difficult time letting go of such margins. But in order to provide more sophisticated and intelligent care, more professionals in social work, psychology and other human services need to be employed, all people who cost more. The carepartners, who belong to the lowest paid people in the United States, yet are tasked with helping our elders (one time that will be you) in the most intimate and relational ways – are tired of working two and sometimes three jobs to make ends meet.

The profit margins of yesterday belong to an outdated concept of who are our elders: not useless members of society but rather highly mature, experienced as well as knowledgable people whose wisdom must be used to steer this planet and people in more sensible directions, whose experience can maintain certain ethical and rational standards of sustainability for both civil conduct and care of our planet.

Elders are a resource, not a liability. Aging allows us to mature, not to decline. This shift in attitude towards our elders and anyone being older than what is considered young (and has that not moved to a younger and younger age with teenagers now being used in marketing and on billboards everywhere?!) – this shift, indeed, is the challenge ahead of us.

Senior care providers can either help or obstruct the much needed and wanted attitudinal change towards valuing our more mature members of society. Doing so will not only be better for planet and people but, in the long run, will make sure that our present assisted living industry will not become a dinosaur because it was not able to adapt to new needs and attitudes.

~ Nader Shabahangi, PhD, CEO and CoFounder of AgeSong, Eldercare Communities

Eldership Dinner w/ Dr Nader Shabahangi March 9th, 2017

Please join us for a light supper as we explore perceptions about aging.
Come away with a new understanding of:
What is life like as an older adult?
How can we help our loved ones as they grow older?

Thursday, March 9, 2017 
6:00PM – 8:00PM

Betti Ono Gallery 
1427 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612

Nader Robert Shabahangi, PhD, CEO/Founder of AgeSongGuest Speaker: Nader Shabahangi, PhD 
Renowned aging and elder care expert
CEO/Founder of AgeSong Senior Living Communities

Eldership Dinner Presentation:
As many a philosopher and sage have pointed out, what is nearest is often the hardest to see. Particularly in our so-called adult life, it is seldom a simple matter to take a step back and evaluate how we are living. How often do we reflect on whether our ways of living are really our choice or are instead heaped on us by external influences, ranging between mainstream values, education, family, social, and cultural norms? Do these resonate with our own inner inklings and desires? Are we simply following the herd?

These questions make sense when we can see available alternatives. Moreover, new alternatives seem to be emerging. As our society ages demographically, we begin to re-evaluate the arc of life from the point of view of the mature elder. Many life philosophies and thought traditions are available to us. In a sense, we start taking a rear view perspective of our lives, looking at the values we have followed as adults mirrored by those who have long life experience.

Watching any news or informational program on television will give one a good idea of the values held by a given culture. Throughout the global north, and increasingly in the south, a common set of adult values is quite well known to us. Yet these values are seldom questioned unless something happens in our lives, perhaps a tragedy, heartbreak, or misfortune. At such a crisis, we may come to a stop, wonder about our approach to life and our attitude to people, review our direction, and even change course.

I will give a brief synopsis of dominant values in order to contrast them with a different, elder-informed set of values. Those values form part of what I call the foundation of an attitude towards life I call Eldership.

Humans are meaning-making beings. We need purpose to feel fulfilled. What is our purpose when we get older, old, and very old? How do we make sense of our accrued years within societies that have done away with the role of elders and forgotten about eldership? Clearly, the world needs elders and the values they bring to the fore. Even a cursory view of the world today and the many issues needing to be tackled shows that people and planet are not well served by our dominant adult values. Elder values can augment these adult values with a more sustainable approach to these challenges. For this to happen our aged population, our elders, need to start valuing themselves, to appreciate what their life journey has endowed them with.

It is the very process of aging that allows a person to ripen into full humanity, to develop into the elder who is able to guide and mentor the next generation. In this way, elders are to be understood as stewards of society and the planet—as has traditionally been their role. Would we not rather have the most experienced and wise leaders guiding us, especially during troubled times?
I hope to see you there,
Nader Shabahangi

Hosted by:
Center for Elder Independence
Fund for Elder’s Independence

Space is limited. Dinner and Presentation are free, RSVP is required to attend.
RSVP by Thursday, March 2, 2017 to Elana Sissons, Development Associate
Email: ESissons@cei.elders.org

AgeSong WoodPark Jan/Feb 2017 Newsletter

The January/February issue of the AgeSong WoodPark Newsletter is out!

In this recent issue AgeSong Founder articulates the condolences from the residents of WoodPark to the families of those lost in the Ghost Ship artist colony fire. New GeroWellness Groups are going to be forming, input appreciated. There is a new program to be facilitated by the GeroWellness interns and 3 local classrooms – in this group students and elders will work together to create a Memory Book. Also in January and February AgeSong at WoodPark is addressing intergenerational needs with a new program on Meaningful Based Relationship (MBR) facilitated by Dr Nader Shabahangi, PhD, CEO and Founder of AgeSong, and Dr Bryan Ricks, MD. Also shared in this issue is a look back at what was new at WoodPark in 2016.

Check out this issue below or find it on the AgeSong WoodPark webpage.

Click the image to download the WoodPark Newsletter.

Click the image to download the WoodPark Newsletter.


AgeSong University Jan/Feb 2017 Newsletter

The January/February AgeSong University Newsletter is out! Read the recent news, stories and about the upcoming events at the community.

In this issue we celebrate the elders who participated in the 24th Annual Art with Elders Exhibition and Celebration at Laguna Honda. Congratulations to Miss B, a winner in the juried exhibition! Read a note from Cornerstone Academy first-grade teacher, Kelsey Grich about the student’s first visit to AgeSong University and the hopes for a continued partnership. During the holiday’s residents took a trip to Widmer World in Pleasanton to see their famed Christmas light display. Also included are Upcoming Events and a note from Family Connect team.

Check out the Jan/Feb issue of the AgeSong University Newsletter below here or on the AgeSong University Community webpage.

Click Image to Download AgeSong University Newsletter[PDF]

Click Image to Download AgeSong University Newsletter[PDF]

Musical Holiday Celebration at WoodPark With a Performance by The Linwood Project Choir

Happy Holidays at WoodPark: A Holiday Celebration Featuring the Linwood Project Choir

Linwood Project Choir entertained WoodPark residents, family, friends, & team members with Christmas songs on Dec 11th. We all had a wonderful time and sang along with a few of the carols ending in a beautiful & fun rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas!”. Delicious holiday treats were served after the program.

Poems by Tom Greening – Shared on his 86th Birthday!


Now I’m just an aging wretch
limping down a bleak homestretch
with legs that ache and two sore feet
ready to concede defeat.
Still the autumn grass grows green
thus redeeming this bleak scene.
One more round and then I’m through–
from now on it’s up to you.
Carry on as best you can,
even with ersatz elan.

    Tom Greening





The fates are playing tricks on me
and tarnishing my brilliancy.
Alas, I have become afraid–
my brain has now begun to fade.
I search for words, for clever rhymes
that graced my verse in better times.
Instead of flaunting fluency
I’m warding off senility.
So be it if the gods decree it.
I’m sad that I am forced to see it.

Tom Greening




Surrounded by swarming samsara,
I resist, protest,
try to fight through it,
get entangled,
curse the absent gods,
resign with a petulant but timid growl
which scares no one.
I will plan my next incarnation
more carefully,
making sure it does not include
excursions through mind fields.

Tom Greening



Grasping, clutching, craving meaning,
in its absence howling, keening,
here we pace like some crazed beast
mourning for a world that ceased.
Bring fresh sense into our life,
peace instead of mindless strife.
Give us some new raison d’etre
quench the raging storms of hate, or
show a path for our redemption,
from this hell— a circumvention.
      Tom Greening

Halloween at AgeSong WoodPark – Costume Party

AgeSong WoodPark Celebrates Halloween with Costume Party

Members of the the community get decked out in Halloween costumes with carepartners and family to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve. With face painting and costumes, the party was spooky, fun and swank alike!