What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set?

Photo illustrations by Zachary Scott for The New York Times

Photo illustrations by Zachary Scott for The New York Times

By BRUCE GRIERSON
Oct. 22, 2014—The New York Times Magazine

One day in the fall of 1981, eight men in their 70s stepped out of a van in front of a converted monastery in New Hampshire. They shuffled forward, a few of them arthritically stooped, a couple with canes. Then they passed through the door and entered a time warp. Perry Como crooned on a vintage radio. Ed Sullivan welcomed guests on a black-and-white TV. Everything inside — including the books on the shelves and the magazines lying around — were designed to conjure 1959. This was to be the men’s home for five days as they participated in a radical experiment, cooked up by a young psychologist named Ellen Langer.

Click here for full article (NYT Magazine) 

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A Guardian Seagull

seagull on rail

By Charles Forsher

October 13, 2014

This morning, as I’ve been doing for many months now, I visited a pocket park near my home that overlooks a very old railway drawbridge. Today would likely be the last day I could sit and enjoy the park before our rainy season begins. Of course, Seattle’s rainy season consists of days on end of rain—sometimes light, sometimes heavy—that can cancel plans for a long sit on a park bench.

In good weather, one of my favorite pastimes at this particular park is feeding the local crows. I bring two ounces of sesame seeds and a few slices of bread with me for each visit. Over the past week some seagulls took note of my beneficence to the crows and began interrupting our get-togethers. While not interested in the sesame seeds, they’ve gobbled up the crow-sized pieces of bread and blocked the crow’s access with shrieks and half-raised wings. My crow friends now seem terrorized and reluctant to help themselves when I throw the bread.

Today, on this last possible morning for our sunny park bench tradition, the seagull disruption continued. This time I waited patiently for the seagulls to lose interest and fly off. After they’d gone, I noticed several crows waiting nearby as if in secret, so I resumed breaking up my wheat bread and tossed some out. I am not by nature a praying man, but here I petitioned the unseen to please hold back the seagulls so I could feed the crows one last time.

I quickly collected a tribe of a half-dozen crows. After a brief hesitation, and as if my prayer had overcome their own terrors, the crows merrily set to consuming the strewn bread.

Before long a lone, large white seagull appeared overhead and circled several times before landing on a thick wood railing at the edge of the park. I continued spreading small pieces of bread to the crows, and they kept eagerly snapping up the pieces tossed.

The seagull just watched us.

Amazed, I took the second slice of bread and shared it around. By this time the morning fog had evaporated and a late morning sun cast its shadows wide. My crow friends flew away sated but the lone seagull stood sentinel on the wood railing. Staring. This vigil continued for the longest time.

Had some agency conveyed my request to this bird?

Only when a smaller, gray gull flew in and landed on the empty brick patio did the white seagull shriek, in a manner strongly suggesting to the newcomer, ‘Leave…NOW!’ The interloper departed but the lone gull continued to stand and watch. By now I had the uncanny feeling this seagull had answered my prayer.

Not long after, the seagull disappeared and I was left alone once again. I did not see it fly away.

·    ·    ·

Author Charles Forsher is a PNA Village member.

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“Generation Nice” at Herkimer Coffee

"The Millenials" by Bon Duke © The New York Times

“The Millenials” (Bon Duke © 2014 The New York Times Company)

By Dick Gillett

A few weeks ago, as I reported to my regular coffee hangout at Herkimer Coffee, on Greenwood and 74th, Josh, the barista greeted me as I put in my usual order for a macchiato.

“How are you, Dick?” he asked.

“Terrible,” I responded. I’d just finished reading the morning papers, their headlines proclaiming depressing news the world over.

“That was your mistake,” he responded cheerily.

·    ·    ·

Since my wife and I arrived in Seattle in 2007, I’ve been going to Herkimer’s for my morning macchiato at least three times a week, and a good part of the reason I go is the baristas who work there. To a person they are cheerful, upbeat and just plain nice. Most are “millennials”, born between about 1980 and 2000, although a few are “Gen Xers”, born from the early 1960s to about 1980.

At about the same time Josh joked with me about the news, a prominent story titled “Generation Nice” in the New York Times made me think of this barista crew at Herkimer’s. In the few minutes conversation affords while your coffee is made I’ve learned a surprising amount about them over time. As a member of the so-called “Greatest Generation” (putting me in my 80s), I’m interested in building bridges between generations. We of Planet Earth are going to have to make it together or not at all.

So here’s a glimpse of their thoughts and aspirations, mundane and otherwise.

One early conversation I had with Josh, for example, touched on the 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard we both knew.

Then there is Chad, a UW grad with a master’s degree in sculpture, who wears T-Shirts that frequently prompt you to ask about them. Recently one bore just the word “Claptrap”, so I asked him what it meant.

“It’s the name of a “fictional, 1920s-era robotic band.”

O ka-a-a-y.

Then we have Cassidy, a serious musician whose indie rock band Pickwick appeared on stage this summer at Benaroya Hall with another group, Sir Mix-a-Lot, and the Seattle Symphony! And Jay, who is studying at Seattle U. for a masters degree in music administration.

Also in the arts is Janelle, an anthropology major who became seriously interested in Arab music and dance. This in turn has informed her of the great importance of valuing Arab culture and history, and she’s been twice to Egypt. She also dances and teaches dance.

Marisa was a Spanish major at UW (we have practiced Spanish occasionally). Her plans are to complete the prerequisites for a degree in occupational therapy. And Elaine, the manager, has worked for Herkimer’s for six years and likes the coffee business as a profession. She also has her bachelor’s degree.

Finally, Erin is a writer on food issues. She’s soon leaving Herkimer’s to work as assistant web editor at Yes! Magazine. She recently reviewed a conference convened in South America for subsistence farmers at high altitudes, whose crops are becoming at risk due to global climate change.

At my age I may not be alone in thinking the world is going to hell in a hand basket; that we of the generations preceding have left an awful, awful mess. I sense that these Herkimer millennials and Gen Xers know that. Yet they are smart and cheerful, and appear to have a sense of where they are going.

Maybe we are going to make it!

·    ·    ·

Author Dick Gillett is a Member of PNA Village and a retired Episcopal priest. His previous article, “Martín’s Journey to the White House”, was published August 26, 2014.

“The Millennials Are Generation Nice” by Sam Tanenhaus, published August 15, 2014 by The New York Times.

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PNA Village Piano Benefit Concert

Monica Chiyoung Yoon

Please join for an intimate musical evening

·     ·     ·

A Benefit for the Village

Monica Chiyoung Yoon, Pianist

Sponsored by PNA Village members Donald & Gloria Swisher

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
6-8 pm
Phinney Center Brick Building, Community Hall

Program will begin promptly at 6:15 pm. Delicious hors d’ouevres provided by FareStart.

·     ·     ·

Get Tickets »

A special thank you to Don and Gloria Swisher for underwriting this event, and to A-1 Piano for donating a grand piano for the event. Proceeds benefit the PNA Village program.

A-1-Piano

PNA Village Piano Benefit Concert
Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
6-8 pm
PNA Brick Building, Community Hall
6615 Dayton Avenue N. Seattle, WA

Click for tickets: Get Tickets »
I cannot attend but would like to make a donation:  Donation »

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“Roofers”

Rooflines | ©2014 HouseofHank.me

Poem by Marilyn Zuckerman

After W.C. Williams

Mountain climbers—
striding across the sloped roof
where yesterday they stripped
away old tiles
until only the beams remained,
then spread blue plastic
when it rained.
Today
balanced like dancers
they turn in efficient choreography
and place each length of plywood
board by board and straight
to cover the incline,
gear strapped to a sagging
belt about the waist—
hammer, bags of nails,
carpenter’s level,
a flexible tape measure
—the lethal power saw
set down across the slanted planks
and safely roped.
After a flamboyant toss of the staple gun
one to another
they stand swaggering at chimney level
while one casually gets off a golf swing
in silhouette against the mountains.

·  ·  ·  ·

A belated Labor Day poem, dedicated to all workers everywhere. May they always have work and be paid well!

From my book, In the Ninth Decade, Red Dragonfly Press, 2010.

www.marilynzuckermanpoet.com

Roofers 2 | ©2014 HouseofHank.me

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Building Elder Friendly Futures Locally and Globally

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Building Elder Friendly Futures Locally and Globally October 8-9, 2014 | University of Washington – Seattle | HUB Register now for EFF – October 8-9, 2014


Each day begins with an exceptional keynote speaker:

Dr. May Wykle PhD, “Aging in Uncertain Times: Creating Elder Friendly Futures for Caregivers” Dr. Eric Coleman, MD, “Bridging the Great Divide: Integrating Health Care Delivery and Community Based Services?”

Over the two days there will be multiple concurrent sessions including the following:

  • Plenary Panel: Innovations in Dementia Care
  • Legal Issues: Elder Law, Guardianship and More
  • New Technology to Support Aging in Place
  • State of the Science: Behavioral Health and Aging
  • Aging in Poverty: the Politics of Marginalization & Inequities for both Rural and Urban Adults…and many more!

There will also be a lunchtime roundtable discussion, a poster session, innovations showcase and short film viewing, a reception and closing words from Judy Pigott; co-author of “Personal Safety Nets” (http://www.personalsafetynets.org). Visit the program page for the exact details of the two-day conference and register today!

CONFERENCE THEMES

  • Community and Technological Supports for Aging in Place
  • State of the Science: Maintaining and Enhancing Physical and Mental Well-Being
  • Cultural Competence, Marginalized Populations and Disparities Across the Life Course
  • Current and Future Policy and Legal Issues
  • Linking Local to Global in Urban and Rural Settings
  • Cross-disciplinary and Inter-professional Collaborations

Working Together for Elder Friendly Futures is co-provided by:

  • University of Washington School of Nursing, de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging
  • University of Washington School of Social Work
  • University of Washington School of Nursing, Continuing Nursing Education

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Introducing Our New AmeriCorps Volunteer

Amanda Walker

By Amanda Walker

My name is Amanda Walker. I am the new AmeriCorps, PNA Village Volunteer Coordinator. In this position I will be reaching out to you with opportunities for helping with on-going Village programs and events. Additionally I will be developing a new Fall Prevention program to be presented in the winter and spring.

Since moving to Seattle from Fort Lauderdale two years ago, I have been working in various administrative roles, most recently at our local PBS station, KCTS 9, as a receptionist and office assistant. I attained my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida State University in 2011, and I am now pursuing my Master of Public Administration degree at Seattle University.

During my time as an undergraduate, I was a member of the national service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. Leadership, Friendship, and Service are the core principals of APO, and it has been my goal to continue to live and work by these principals. This is my first AmeriCorps position and I look forward to learning as much as possible and serving in this role.

In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering at the Jet City Improv Theater and enjoying the arts of Seattle with my boyfriend, Jimmy Avery, an MBA student at Seattle Pacific University. On many days you’ll find us walking around Green Lake and enjoying the local cuisine.

I look forward to serving in my community. If you have any questions or concerns I can be reached at amandaw@phinneycenter.org or 206.789.1217.

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Mud Bay & PNA Village

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Have you heard the news? Mud Bay has generously partnered with PNA Village to help our members and their animal companions.

  • Do you need someone to walk your older dog once a week on an ongoing basis?
  • Need a friendly cat visitor while recovering from an illness?
  • Interested in preparing an emergency kit for your cat or dog?

Mud Bay staff have been trained as PNA Village volunteers and are eager to help provide assistance with these and other tasks!

logo-mudbayMud Bay stores and employees are a wealth of information for all your pet care questions. From tips on how to choose a healthy dog food to how to brush your cat’s teeth, they’ve got great handouts available in stores and online. Helpful “Creating an Emergency Kit” checklists for dogs and cats (available in-store) are valuable additions to your own emergency preparedness kits.

Our friendly Greenwood Mud Bay is located just across from Fred Meyer at 8532 1st Avenue NW (206.789.7977) and available online at: http://mudbay.com/stores/Seattle/Greenwood

There’s also a Mud Bay in Ballard, located at 5314 15th Avenue NW (206.783.1328) and available online at: http://mudbay.com/stores/Seattle/Ballard

Contact the Village today at village@phinneycenter.org or call 206.789.1217 to get connected with these great volunteers!

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Running the Village

PNA Village Summer BBQ 2014 | ©2014 HouseofHank.meBy Kelly Maddox

It takes…well, a village. As many PNA Village members know, we have a fantastic resource in our volunteers who help members go to doctors’ appointments, events, or shopping. They also fix computers, make small home repairs, and provide garden help.

But who runs the Village operations? Who thinks about how the Village can work, and who makes decisions to make it successful? Who creates brochures? Who organizes events and socials? Who helps find volunteers to meet members’ requests? Who finds all the vetted vendors? Who manages our finances and fundraising? The answer to all these questions is volunteers! While we are fortunate to have a tremendous staff, Janice Dilworth, our Director, and Amanda Walker, our AmeriCorps Volunteer, they are only human and they must sleep at some point.

PNA Village members donate their time and expertise on committees to make sure our Village is successful. The committees meet regularly to discuss their specific focus areas and to plan for upcoming work.

The PNA Village Advisory Board members are part of the committees listed below. This board ensures all our organizational areas are successful now and in the future. The Board currently has a sub-committee that is creating a plan for the next three years.

The Membership & Marketing Committee shares our story with the community to attract new members and community partners by creating brochures, posters, events, and social media stories (Be sure to “like” the PNA Village on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PNAVillage).

PNA Village on Facebook screenshot

The Social Committee creates events such as game night, quarterly potlucks, and the book group at Couth Buzzard to keep our members connected.

The MSST volunteers are the office people you speak to when you call to request a volunteer. They also reach out to makes sure our members’ needs are being met.

The Business Referral Committee finds vendors who are a good fit for work that volunteers cannot do (say, rewiring a house or taking down a tree). They have created a process to find the types of services most requested, and they work with businesses to make sure they can safely and securely meet our members’ needs.

The Finance Committee manages our budget, works with partners and sponsors to support our community, and spearheads fundraising efforts that keep our Village financially viable.

The Volunteer Committee recruits and trains the volunteers that are the lifeblood of the member services the Village provides. They also organize volunteering events, like the spring and fall weeding, as well as deliver ongoing training to help our volunteers understand and meet our members’ needs.

facebookthumbThe Communications Committee shares articles written by and relevant to members through our blog, newsletter and Facebook (did I mention “liking” the Village on Facebook?!).

It really does take a village, and we are fortunate to have a vital community that shares their time, energy, and expertise. The committees always need help, so please call 206.789.1217 or email amandaw@phinneycenter.org if you want to join a committee and get in on the fun!

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Bring More Humor and Laughter Into Your Life

Ballard Wall by Henry | ©2014 HouseofHank.me

— Reblogged from personalsafetynets.org

Laughter is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life.

Enda Junkins, LMFT, in her book, We Need to Laugh More suggests we begin by setting aside special times to seek out humor and laughter, as you might with working out, and build from there. Eventually, you’ll want to incorporate humor and laughter into the fabric of your life, finding it naturally in everything you do.

Here are suggestions from We Need to Laugh More on ways to start:

Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Pioneers in “laugh therapy,” find it’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same holds true for smiling. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling. It will get easier!

Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When in a state of sadness, we have further to travel to get to humor and laughter. Counting blessings cuts down the distance.

When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?” or just join in!

Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily—both at themselves and at life’s absurdities—and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.

Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?” Then listen to the answers and enjoy shared mirth.

.  .  .  .

Laugh with Enda at her website.

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