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

The Experience of Aging Loss and Opportunity – Eldership Video

This video is an excerpt from AgeSong Academy training on Eldership with AgeSong’s Nader Shabahangi,PhD, and author Liz Bugental, PhD. In this video Liz speaks about preparing ourselves for opportunity as we age.

Liz starts the conversation with the statement,”In our old age we are swimming in a sea of loss, and that this is the given.” It is not something we can avoid. We will age and that means different things for different people. We will lose some of our vitality, our looks, and our physical potency. We lose friends, family, children. We have to move into new surroundings. We are constantly having to deal with something that isn’t there anymore. It doesn’t mean that we have to be depressed or unhappy. It just means that we have to acknowledge that this is where we are. If we use the metaphor that we are swimming in a sea of loss, as we age were grabbing what will keep us alive and enhance our living with inspiration, joy and creativity. If we are not aware and awake we will not pay attention to those things around us and we wont pick the right things. This is the challenge of these later years, staying awake, staying aware, taking what gives us life. Enjoying everything that we can, not losing our capacity for pleasure. Constantly discovering and re-inventing ourselves so that this is a joyful swim. That is up to us.

Find out More!

Read more stories about Eldership on the AgeSongToday blog.

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

What is the Image I Have of My Elder?

This video is an excerpt from AgeSong Academy training on Eldership. Nader Shabahangi,PhD, is founder of AgeSong and licensed psychotherapist working with elders at AgeSong. In this series on Eldership he is presenting with author Liz Bugental, PhD.

What is the image that you have of your elder? Nader demonstrates he has an image of his elder’s walk…bent over holding his back he needs assistance from Liz Bugental to sit down.

Liz Bugental talks about how this is what we live with in our culture. We see this picture of a bent old person and we think bent old mind or bent old personality or nobody there. A whole lot of things go along with that walker. And so alot of older people resist getting a walker even when it would help them walk around because they know there are a whole lot of connections that can be made that don’t feel right to the person.

Liz finishes this excerpt by talking abit about perceptions about age. It can be flattering when someone questions your age and is disbelieving when you tell them but what does it really mean when someone says “you don’t look that old?”

Find out More!

Read more stories about Eldership on the AgeSongToday blog.

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

Who Am I? In Relation to the Elder I am Becoming

This video is an excerpt from AgeSong Academy training on Eldership. Nader Shabahangi,PhD, is founder of AgeSong and licensed psychotherapist working with elders at AgeSong. In this series on Eldership he is presenting with author Liz Bugental, PhD.

We are trying to become more clear about who we are. It is a question of identity. How do I define myself? What do I see as important. What is that that really makes me who I am? What is that in me that I want to express that I want to become more of? We have challenges with the media perception of being are so focused on being young, having physical prowess or doing.

What about the ability to sit still, to be silent, or the ability to be not judgmental about the various paths others make. The ability of the elder to differentiate between that difference between being human and when someone would genuinely need help to get back onto the path. To have compassion to say that’s ok, so you messed up here so you are going to do this. That is all not very far away from who you really are.

Find out More!

Read more stories about Eldership on the AgeSongToday blog.

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

Becoming Who We Are – An Eldership Video

This video is an excerpt from AgeSong Academy Eldership training. Nader Shabahangi,PhD, is founder of AgeSong and licensed psychotherapist working with elders at AgeSong. In this Eldership video he presents with author Liz Bugental, PhD.

Nader starts off with a quote from Nietzsche: “The goal of life is to become who we are.” Nader suggests that we can throw out the idea of aging because it is basically maturing. We are our Inner Elder. We are learning everyday more to become this man or woman who is our Inner Elder. Nader finds this fascinating and a relief because he can keep falling down and making errors but go ahead and try again tomorrow. He has more tries and trials to get “there.”

Liz Bugental points out that this is fine as we have nothing to lose. We are who we are, we made mistakes and we have survived. We have more to learn but we are comfortable. We are not so comfortable that we are bored. But we are comfortable enough to be interested, to try, to play, to experience new things and to be creative. All of those things take a certain level of gravitas or settling in. We spend so much of our lives trying to get somewhere that we forget to be and do from that centered focused place that we finally get to be in.

Find out More!

Read more stories about Eldership on the AgeSongToday blog.

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

AgeSong WoodPark: Changing Our Culture of Care w/ Dr Julia Wolfson






5:30PM – 7:00PM


WoodPark RCFE #019200514



In this presentation, Julia Wolfson, PhD will share ideas on changing custodial attitudes to care, in ways that give equal emphasis to individual agency, reciprocity in relationships, and community belonging. She calls this approach to transforming our patterns of mind and feeling “Deep Power.”

For many people, care is a necessity, for others it is a job, and for many it is a calling. Too often people dependent on care and support are stigmatized and trapped in systems of control that are unsafe, and they’re robbed of basic human rights and freedoms many of us take for granted. This is as relevant for older adults as it is for people with a disability and children, in need of health, functional and social support in daily living.

Drawing on a wealth of research, stories and lessons learned, Julia will address the following three topics:

• How the care relationship changes us as care providers

• How use of in-born powers can transform care cultures from the inside-out

• How diversity is a key to communication, conflict and community building

Dr. Wolfson draws on nearly 40 years of experiences in organizational and human service communities around the world. She works directly with people, leaders, caregivers, specialists and family members, whole teams and organizations. Her experiences with people primed for helplessness led to her discovery of nine in-born powers hidden within the experiences of care practitioners, leaders and people dependent on support. Her concept of “Deep Power” is a powerful response to the central question we humans will always have to face: Who are we, really? How can care cultures facilitate friendship, purpose and contribution?

About Dr. Julia Wolfson

Julia lives in in Australia. She is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra. She is founder and principal of Turning Forward, a global network organization dedicated to uplifting self-powered people, organizations and communities anywhere. Her forthcoming book Safe and Free: Transforming human service environments from the inside out will be available later in the year.

 AgeSong at WoodPark RCFE License Number: 019200514


Click image to download the AgeSong WoodPark Poster

Eldership: Joy in Aging Series Video

Sharon of KRON Channel 4 speaks with Dr Nader Shabahangi, cofounder of AgeSong about Eldership and what it means to AgeSong.

Nader describes the concept of eldership. The idea that there is an older person who you can come to for advice or help. The idea of the wise old elder, being there in the family. The elder is someone family can go to and ask basic deep questions about life. That has not been so present in society in most recent times.

Eldership is trying to speak to that role in society. Nader want to bring elders back into society. A society where elders are to be revered, to be loved and sought out so that those of us who are younger can learn from them. We can learn from their life experience, from their knowledge from the decades of the ups and downs of life that all of us experience. We can use that knowledge for ourselves. Eldership is a powerful concept that Nader would like to have more present in society. We ourselves can grow to become elders and still have a part within society.

AgeSong embraces the idea of eldership as a foundational tenant and approaches the residents as teachers, and approaches them as people who have so much more to give to the world as teachers to those younger than themselves.

AgeSong allows for eldership to also expand out and invites the outside members of society in to connect with the elders living in the communities and to learn from them.

Encounters III Now Available: Elders May Be the Solution to Many of the Problems We Face Today

My brother is in the hospital. For the past 40 years, he has been a primary source of support for family, friends and colleagues. Now he needs support. A medical doctor in hospice care, he cares for others. Now he needs care. Doctors lead a fast-paced life, with many responsibilities. My brother was always healthy, rarely sick. Now, recovering from an operation, he has much time on his hands, can read novels, sleep and heal. He now has the unexpected, and not particularly welcome, opportunity to experience what his patients feel.

Elderhood comes suddenly. Most of us are unprepared to manage the challenges of aging. Pacific Institute’s Gerowellness Program educates students in social work and psychology to learn experientially about elders in AgeSong’s assisted living communities. For the past three years, the interns have produced Encounters of the Real Kind: Book III, a book in which they describe their experience through poetry and prose, being with and learning from elders. My brother values meaning. Now, confined to a hospital bed, he has an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of life.

Working with elders is an amazing experience. Every day is meaningful because elders in hospitals or assisted living tend to live in the present. As driven as I am in my professional role, on a daily basis, I learn from my elders, some of whom are my age or younger, how to slow down, listen, breathe, and pay attention to the moment. It’s a dance, and the writings in Encounters of the Real Kind: Book III poignantly describe the dance of being with and learning from AgeSong elders.

Reading and writing about being with elders is a cathartic experience, not something most of us have the time to address in our everyday hustle and bustle. I wouldn’t wish being a hospital patient or living in assisted living on anyone, but I am thankful to have this opportunity to connect deeply with my brother and to work in assisted living environments.

As Nader Shabahangi, AgeSong founder, writes in the introduction to Encounters of the Real Time: Book III:

Elders show us what our heart needs, what it years for. As such, elders may be the solution to many of the problems we face today. Our lives may never be the same after such encounters of the real kind.

Encounters of the Real Kind: Book III will be available soon throughElders Academy Press and through Amazon.com. It is now available at the Front Desk of all the AgeSong communities. For more information, view http://agesong.com and link to a community.

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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