Thursday, March 9, 2017
6:00PM – 8:00PM
Betti Ono Gallery
Oakland, CA 94612
Guest 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,
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