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 CEO Speaks on Spiritual Purpose of Aging

[This post was updated October 9th, 2015 to include the videos of the workshop and exercise.]

AgeSong CEO and Founder, Dr Nader Shabahangi presents a workshop on the “Spiritual Purpose of Aging” to the Openhouse SF Community on August 27th, 2015. This interactive group workshop was facilitated by Chaplain Renee and hosted by Openhouse SF in partnership with the Ministry of Presence Institute.

AgeSong CEO Speaks on Spiritual Purpose of Aging

Video is now available of the workshop where Nader Shabahangi, the AgeSong CEO, interacts with the Openhouse SF Community the on Spiritual Purpose of Aging
Tune in and watch the Spiritual Purpose of Aging Workshop video created by AgeSong.

Watch the Spiritual Purpose of Aging Workshop Exercise video here. This is the companion video to the Workshop video.

Find out More!

Read more stories  about Aging here.

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

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The Richness of Relationships – Scenarios with Dr Nader Shabahangi, Judy Hess and Stephanie Rothman

The Richness of Relationships – Scenarios of Openness in Practice

In the previous video, The Richness of Relationships, the discussion included a wonderful metaphor on openness. In the heart when a valve is open it brings in fresh oxygen, in a relationship being open brings learning and growth. In this second video, the Richness of Relationships – Scenarios, the discussion veers from the philosophical to the practical. Stephanie starts the session off by asking Nader and Judye “What does it look like in “practice” if a couple were to be very open and aware?”

  

  

Judye and Nader start the discussion with a role play of a Scenario where it does not work…where there is not openness. Scenario 1: Shutting Down the Conversation. In this scenario Nader and Judye work through some steps that can help people to reach a level of openness in a situation. The resulting role-play covers topics such as: Acknowledging the Other Perspective, Seeing Each Other’s Reality, Acknowledging the Other, Comparison Between Two Models, How History Affects the Present, Changing the Pattern and From Default to New Opportunity. Also Nader and Judy discuss how often “Fear is at the Core of Disagreement.” Also they talk about how the discussion is held can affect a positive and open outcome through: Tone of Voice, Body Language and Openness vs. Constriction.

To close they discuss how Openness Exists without Judgment. Openness is there when we are as non-judgmental as we can be and as open to an answer rather than being fearful of what might be behind it.

Find out More!

Read more stories about the The Richness of Relationships here >>

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

The Richness of Relationships Video with Nader Shabahangi, Judye Hess and Stephanie Rothman

The Richness of Relationships – Understanding How they Work and How they Do Not

Nader Shabahangi and Judye Hess, with Stephanie Rothman, in this Richness of Relationships video share a discussion that covers the complex subject of “Relationships.” Judye Hess and Nader Shabahangi have had a relationship for 30 years. They met at California Institute of Integral Studies where Judye was an instructor and Nader was her student. At a recent existential conference Judye and Nader were talking about their mutual lifelong interest in relationships and have teamed up to work on a upcoming book about the Richness of Relationships.

Relationships are rich and everyone does them a little bit differently.

Some of the items that Nader, Judye and Stephanie are addressing here stem from their desire to assist people in understanding how relationships work and how they do not. They ask “Is there a way that we can help the people that come into our lives?” The hope integral to these explorations is the possibility of giving everyone the opportunity to feel ok about their relationship style. Relationships are rich and everyone does them a little bit differently. Nader asks if by exploring the Richness of Relationships we might find out “How can we give people permission to find their own way in terms of relating and not feel wrong for how it is that they relate?”

Some questions they address in this video include: What are relationships for? Are relationships for everybody? Should I be alone or be with somebody?

Nader and Judye open the video with how they got “interested” in relationships. Nader shares a personal anecdote about relationships with the take away his thoughts that being who you are should not be submerged or cut out just because you are in a relationship. How can you find a relationship that still allows you to be who you are? How can you find a relationship that still allows you to be you and still have the benefits of being with somebody.

Relationships are as varied as there are people on this planet, everybody does them differently and there is not one size that fits all. So “Why be in a relationship?” One reason is the differences show us “ourselves.” Only while being with the “other” can we begin to understand who we are.

In this Richness of Relationships video many topics and issues found within relationships are touched upon including: Relationships are Varied, Living Separately, Differences, Relationships as a Spiritual Journey, Pets as Significant Relationships, What Brings Meaning to Life, Accumulation of Hurt, Hurt Builds Walls, “I” Statements, Blame, Owning the Emotion, “I” Statement as a Tool, Ruptures- the Importance of Repair, Acknowledgement and Apology, Repetition Compulsion, Change yourself, Learning about the Self, Different Perceptions about Shared Experiences, Spiritual Development, Acceptance, The Source of Giving, Being Human is not easy, Love, Philosophizing on relationships as a privilege, Measuring the Relationship, Being Open to Change and Uncertainty.

Find out More!

Read more stories about the The Richness of Relationships here >>

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

New Book – Ambiguity of Suffering: Re-introducing a Love of Philosophy to Psychology

Ambiguity of Suffering
by Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D.
2015, Elders Academy Press
$24.95 Softcover, plus shipping & handling
Email: info@pacificinstitute.org

Order

Suffering holds one of the deeper meanings of life: the ability to connect with your soul, your deep humanity. This connection with suffering pushes us to become ever more aware. Rather than trying to eliminate suffering, we can celebrate it as an opportunity to deepen who we are. This book is my effort to re-introduce a love of philosophy to psychology. As Suzuki Roshi states, we’re beginning to look again at the world from a place of not knowing rather than knowing — a world full of possibility and probability, as opposed to fact and clarity.

“A clarion call for those of us privileged to call ourselves awareness workers, psychologists, counselors, social workers, process workers and psychiatrists alike. Nader Shabahangi’s words invite us into a challenging dialogue with Freud and Heidegger, two thinkers whose ideas forever changed our way of understanding the inner and outer world. Above all, Ambiguity of Suffering alarms us to awaken from the prevailing narrative of positivism, and to enter a world rich with ambiguity, mystery, and meaning.”
— Troy Piwowarski, Psy.S., LLP, Licensed Psychotherapist

 

“In this inspired re-contextualization of psychological epistemology, Dr. Shabahangi problematizes the very grounds upon which mechanistic influences of human behavior are predicated. Categorical diagnoses of the many forms of human suffering reflect an effort to eradicate pathological mental conditions, and yet, as Dr. Shabahangi demonstrates, the experience of making meaning as a human in the world compels suffering — just as the ambiguity of suffering, and all that accompanies its existential significance, nourishes the meaningfulness of being. From the orientation of Heidegerrian philosophy, Ambiguity outlines historical and present-day mechanistic conceptualizations of the human experience, problematizes a reductive understanding of the human mind and spirit, and advocates for a more holistic conceptualization and treatment of the “problem” of psychopathology.”
— Stephanie Rothman, M.A., doctoral psychology student

From the Preface by Troy Piwowarski, Ph.D.

The legacy of this book – lived through Nader’s teaching, his numerous elder-focused writings, his groundbreaking work in elder care, and ever rippling into new realms of possibility – is evidence of the vibrancy and passion that reside between its pages. This is not surprising, considering that the ideas put forth in this book are essentially a preface to the decades of Nader’s service to elders. Just as Freud’s Project became an underlying treatise for his later intellectual contributions to psychology,parallels abound between this writing and Nader’s later contributions to existential and process-oriented psychology, as well as his revolutionary impact on elder care.

Nader is acknowledged in the field for his promotion of a new language for what is traditionally known as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Beyond simply reframing these phenomena as experiences of “forgetfulness,” this new language is infused with an appreciation of the utter mystery and depth of the forgetting experience, rather than focusing solely on what is tragic.

Purchase Ambiguity of Suffering

Available here through Elders Academy Press on the Pacific Institute website.

Also available on the Elders Academy Press Amazon store here.

Interested in more Elders Academy Press Books?

View Ambiguity of Suffering & all current Elders Academy Press titles here.

 

AgeSong Guru Week Video: AgeSong Interns Discussion with Guru Project Doctors

The AgeSong Guru Week Video: AgeSong Interns Discussion shares a discussion between AgeSong Interns and Guru Project doctors Dr Richard Taylor, Dr Allen Power and Dr Nader Shabahangi. This group session of AgeSong’s Guru Week includes discussion about how to look at Forgetfulness (Dementia/Alzheimer’s) from different perspectives, how to have a different viewpoint about the behaviors associated with Forgetfulness,  how to continue to evolve therapies and treatments for Forgetfulness and how to reduce stigma associated with Forgetfulness.

From an AgeSong Guru Project perspective Dr Taylor, Dr Power and Dr Nader Shabahangi talk with the AgeSong Gero-Wellness Interns on how “Forgetfulness” affects the patient and how to interpret the behaviors.

Dr Richard Taylor talks about being a person who has been diagnosed with “forgetfulness,” dementia of the Alzheimer’s variety. The AgeSong interns ask him questions regarding what he experiences. He talks about how the changes in his brain and learning to live with them. His insightful talk covers his experiences of the fear and frustration that accompanies the changes that happen in a persons brain. He gives these as examples of the types of things that can be behind what are called the “acting out behaviors.”

Dr Allen Power adds to the discussion by suggesting a talk about “terminology.” The APA in recognizing the stigma attached to the term has dropped “Dementia” from DSM-5 and is now using “Major and Minor Cognitive Disorders.” At AgeSong they use the term “forgetfulness.” In writing his first book, “Dementia Beyond Drugs” he rewrote the definition of ‘Dementia” because he acknowledges the stigmas around the words we use “behavior problems,”  “acting out” are so powerful he believes that the make it difficult to see new solutions. In his book he re-defined it as a “shift in the way a person experiences the world around her or him.” Because this discussion is with the Gero-Wellness interns Dr Power jumps ahead into the more person-center approaches. He discusses the “Needs Based Dementia Compromised Behavior Model.” That basically says when people have expressions or actions it is often the result of unmet needs. Dr Power suggests that might not cover it completely…what about aesthetic enjoyment? If you just use this model and you have Alzheimer’s then everything you do gets pathologized as unmet needs. Dr Power suggests a model he has been working with which is a modified version of Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs. He goes through the pyramid diagram and describes his thoughts on the “needs.”

Nader talks about taking cues from the Existential Humanistic Psychotherapy model and not do psychotherapy as cognition but as emotion. Dr Shabahangi suggests that one of the gift sthat people with forgetfulness can bring in our lives is to give us the opportunity to be able to live more emotionally in the moment and not so much in our cognitive mind.

The AgeSong Interns and Guru Project doctors continue the topical discussions touching on more subjects  including dealing with our aging society, the changes that have occurred within the last 30 years in psychology, the challenges inherent in Existential Humanistic based eldercare.

The last 25 minutes of the video is a fantastic back and forth between the AgeSong Interns and doctors.

See the other Guru Week videos here on the AgeSong Video Library page.

The AgeSong Guru Project

The AgeSong Guru Project is a year-long initiative which focuses on comprehensive care partnerships with elders to understand need-driven behaviors and minimize risky use of psychotropic medication.

To complete this project AgeSong has engaged in a partnership with Psychiatrist and Pacific Institute board member Dr. Richard Patel; Geriatrician, Dr. Allen Power; and Psychologist, Dr. Richard Taylor.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to partner with three of the industry’s leading experts in the area of mental health to thoroughly explore the approach of care for those who are in various stages of forgetfulness, what is commonly diagnosed as Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia, with reduced use of medications,” AgeSong CEO and founder, Dr. Nader Shabahangi said. “The AgeSong Guru Project will focus on learning directly from elders who are living with the changes brought on by forgetfulness (Alzheimer’s/Dementia). Much of the industry resources focus on “instant gratification” medications that often restrict the life of the person, whose lifestyle is shifting due to mental and physical changes. This project is solely based on what elders verbal and non-verbal communication is trying to tell us. We will look at any behavior as an expression of need we, the observers and care partners, must explore and understand more deeply.”

Find out More!

Read more stories about the AgeSong Guru Project

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

 

AgeSong Guru Week Community Discussion on Forgetfulness Care video

AgeSong Guru Project partners, Dr.’s Richard Taylor and Allen Power, engage in a roof-top AgeSong Guru Week Community Discussion on Forgetfulness Care (Dementia/Alzheimer’s) at AgeSong’s Laguna Park residence. The open group forum includes AgeSong Community Residents, CarePartners and Interns from the AgeSong GeroWellness program.

 

AgeSong Guru Week Community Discussion on Forgetfulness Care

The video opens on a frank discussion starting with Dr. Richard Taylor. Included in this group discussion are AgeSong Residents, AgeSong CarePartners and AgeSong GeroWellness Interns. The participants share views both from the caregiver’s perspective and from the perspective of those with varying levels of forgetfulness (dementia/Alzheimer’s). Topics include the types of things we can do in a community like this that will give resident’s the fullest life possible, regardless of their mortality or abilities. The residents, interns and doctors discuss truth-telling in care, white lies, communication, being “present” with patient, labels and stigma associated with forgetfulness, dementia and aging.
What are the types of things we can do in a community like this that will give resident’s the fullest life possible, regardless of their mortality or abilities?

 

The AgeSong Guru Project

The AgeSong Guru Project is a year-long initiative which focuses on comprehensive care partnerships with elders to understand need-driven behaviors and minimize risky use of psychotropic medication.

To complete this project AgeSong has engaged in a partnership with Psychiatrist and Pacific Institute board member Dr. Richard Patel; Geriatrician, Dr. Allen Power; and Psychologist, Dr. Richard Taylor.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to partner with three of the industry’s leading experts in the area of mental health to thoroughly explore the approach of care for those who are in various stages of forgetfulness, what is commonly diagnosed as Alzheimers and/or Dementia, with reduced use of medications,” AgeSong CEO and founder, Dr. Nader Shabahangi said. “The AgeSong Guru Project will focus on learning directly from elders who are living with the changes brought on by forgetfulness (Alzheimers/Dementia). Much of the industry resources focus on “instant gratification” medications that often restrict the life of the person, whose lifestyle is shifting due to mental and physical changes. This project is solely based on what elders verbal and non-verbal communication is trying to tell us. We will look at any behavior as an expression of need we, the observers and care partners, must explore and understand more deeply.”

Dr. Richard Taylor

Dr. Richard Taylor is a retired psychologist and author of “Alzheimer’s from the Inside Out.” As a doctor with dementia himself he has experienced not only the change of state that happens internally but that which happens in external relationships also. He has experienced the change that occurs within the circle of family, friends as community. Dr. Taylor eloquently discusses his experience of living well with dementia.

Dr. Allen Power

Dr. Allen Power, is a board certified internist and geriatrician, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester. Dr Power is the author of paradigm shifting books including “Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care” and the latest, “Dementia Beyond Disease.” As a practicing internist he discovered he was questioning the paradigm and efficacy of just using medication to treat dementia;that perhaps the “deficit-based view that focuses on neuropathology and tends to blame brain disease for distress” is not the best care paradigm for these patients. Instead he suggests: “the experiential approach holds that the best way to care for a person living with dementia is to understand them as a person and their individual experience; so I use the very holistic definition that “Dementia is a shift in the way a person experiences the world around her/him.” This idea of changing perspective is something to which we all can relate, and this commonality helps us build a bridge to better understand the person’s needs.”

Find out More!

Read more stories about the AgeSong Guru Project

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

AgeSong Guru Week Biomedical Convention video

AgeSong invites Dr Richard Patel, Dr Allen Power and Dr Richard Taylor with Dr Nader Shabahangi to present at The AgeSong Guru Week Biomedical Convention to discuss insights into different perspectives on forgetfulness, Alzheimer’s and dementia care. The Biomedical Convention of the partners in the Guru project explores different viewpoints of Forgetfulness, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care with a focus on well-being and enablement.

The AgeSong Guru Project sponsors AgeSong Guru Week Biomedical Convention Presentation with Dr Richard Patel, Dr Allen Power, Dr Richard Taylor and Dr Nader Shabahangi.

The purpose of the AgeSong Guru Project, a year-long initiative, is to look at creating comprehensive care partnerships with elders to understand need-driven behaviors and minimize risky use of psychotropic medication. Not using a text-book to learn about a patient but having the patient be the textbook and teach us what they need. This is contrary to the trend of treating these individuals from a deficit-based perspective. This perspective looks at helping people with changing cognition have more comprehensive care that allows them to be enabled and re-enabled.

Dr Richard Patel

Dr Richard Patel is a professor at USCF in Psychiatry, works at San Francisco General in Psychiatry and Neurology in the ER and is in private practice. His experiences in these areas have lead him to the belief that patient care is about the whole person. And comprehensive care is about the friends, family, community and environment around the person.

Dr Allen Power

Dr Allen Power, is a board certified internist and geriatrician, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester. Dr Power is the author of paradigm shifting books including “Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care” and the latest, “Dementia Beyond Disease.” As an internist he had been prescribing psychotropic medications to his patients. In his practice he discovered that he was questioning the efficacy of a medication-focused perspective. He started to believe well-being is more important than taking a deficit-based approach. He shares insights from his experiences.

Dr Richard Taylor

Dr Richard Taylor is a retired psychologist and author of “Alzheimer’s from the Inside Out.” As a doctor with dementia himself he has experienced and discusses some of the fundamental changes that happen in the process. He talks not only the change of state that happens internally but that which happen in external relationships also. He has experienced the change that occurs within the circle of family, friends as community. Dr Taylor eloquently discusses his experience of living well with dementia.

Dr Nader Shabahangi

Dr Nader Shabahangi, AgeSong CEO and founder, is a licensed psychotherapist. He is founder of Pacific Institute, a non-profit that offers innovative forgetfulness (dementia) and eldercare and has with the Pacific Institute Internship team,  implemented the Gerontological Wellness Program (GeroWellness Program.) Dr Shabahangi in his work with AgeSong advocates for a shift in focus from labels for patients with changing cognition. At AgeSong they refer to patients with changing cognition such as Alzheimer’s and dementia as experiencing “forgetfulness.” This change to a broad non-clinical description is reducing the stress and stigma in the associated care of the individual. The AgeSong vision is one of a humanistic and whole-person approach to the culture of care provided within AgeSong residences and programs.

The speakers at the Biomedical Convention of the AgeSong Guru Project speak about comprehensive care partnerships with people who are experiencing changing cognition. The goal is understanding the need-driven behaviors and minimizing risky use of psychotropic medication. The talk covers forgetfulness, dementia, dementia care and the importance of changing the culture of care. Included are the personal insights offered from Dr Taylor from the perspective of an individual who is working to achieve a state of  “living well” with changing cognition in the world as it exists today.

Find out More!

Read more stories about the AgeSong Guru Project

 
Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

Related Posts:

Dr Allen Power presentation: The Biomedical View vs the Experiential View in Dementia Care video

Dr Allen Power with Nader Shabahangi presentation: Dementia Beyond Disease video

AgeSong Guru Project with visiting guests Dr. Allen Power & Dr. Richard Taylor

The AgeSong Guru Project
The AgeSong Guru Project is a one-year initiative that will focus on comprehensive care partnerships with elders to understand need-driven behaviors and minimize risky use of psychotropic medication.  To complete this project AgeSong has engaged in a partnership with Psychiatrist and Pacific Institute board member Dr. Richard Patel, Geriatrician Dr. Allen Power, and Psychologist Dr. Richard Taylor.

AgeSong Visiting Guests Dr. Allen Power & Dr. Richard Taylor
Psychiatrist and Pacific Institute board member Dr. Richard Patel welcomes geriatrician Dr. Allen Power (Dementia Beyond Drugs) and psychologist Dr. Richard Taylor (Alzheimer’s from the Inside Out) to San Francisco and Oakland for a series of lectures, discussions, and workshops inspired by the wisdom in changes associated with aging and forgetting. Dr. Taylor has been living with forgetfulness (diagnosed dementia) for over ten years. He will give the audience a revealing account of his experience. Beyond Labeling: Exploring the Elephant is a forum for sharing the vision of the AgeSong Guru Project and celebrating the mystery and richness of being human.

Biomedical Convention
REGISTER FOR THE EVENT

Dr. Power, Dr. Taylor, with Dr. Patel
Tuesday, February 17th, 11:30am – 1:00pm
AgeSong Laguna Grove, Laguna Grove Terrace
624 Laguna Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Guru Launch Gala
REGISTER FOR THE EVENT

Dr. Power, Dr. Taylor, with Dr. Shabahangi
Friday, February 20th, 5:00pm – 8:00pm
AgeSong University, University Chapel
350 University Street, San Francisco, CA 94134 guru

 

Find out More!

Read more stories about the AgeSong Guru Project