A Commitment to the Cause

By Stein, Robert G. | Aging Today, March/April 2011 | Go to article overview

A Commitment to the Cause


Stein, Robert G., Aging Today


Despite complaints that frequently surface in our media streams about self-absorbed generations - Millennial are egocentric, baby boomers are the Me Generation - I see many people, across all generations, who are serving the greater good. California's new governor, for instance. No one can deny that Jerry Brown is passionate about fixing what ails the Golden State, working tirelessly (if sometimes quirkily) toward that goal, no matter how many legislative hurdles loom or how large die deficit may be.

I've observed the same passion in the people I work closely with every day in the field of aging. Their commitment to the cause of supporting and serving elders is strong and whole-hearted. Whenever I pick up the phone to gamer support for ASA's mission, programs and projects, or to discuss new ideas and plans with someone who already has a full plate, I'm usually welcomed with enthusiasm and heart.

GETTING THE WORD OUT

Our ASA members, a dedicated community of professionals, are determined to get the word out about where we stand - whether it's on healthcare reform, ageism or new medical monitoring technology. They know that the more they do this, the more help they provide to the millions of elders in need of services and support. They make sure elders have a voice.

As these professionals navigate Capitol Hill, or work in the trenches writing and amending policy, they put the pressure on our ambassadors of older Americans to do their best. This is active engagement that doesn't end at 5 p.m. When you love the work you've chosen and care deeply about the population you're committed to serving, the work doesn't wear on you, but spurs you on. When every day you can say you may have enhanced the quality of life for older adults, when you know innovation can potentially save a human life, it's a powerful motivator.

Getting to know each other and our various specialties can also be enervating. If you're joining us, take a moment this year at our Aging in America Conference to meet some new-to-you members of our community and be inspired by dieir ideas and presentations.

Maybe it'll be this year's Mind Alert Award winner, who succeeded in combining a childcare center with an elder daycare center to great effect for both populations. Or perhaps you'll run into someone on the frontlines of caregiving, someone whose passion began very personally but has extended to years of service for others in like situations. Or possibly it will be a researcher who's constantly crunching numbers and other data to make sure the true story is told about American confusion over healthcare reform or the state of financial stability in the cohort of single, older-than-age-65 women.

ASA BUILDS INSPIRING «VIRTUAL' COMMUNITIES

Every such meeting can inspire harder work on your cause. And then there are the advantages of "virtual" meetings. ASA also builds collaboration and community through weekly online learning gatherings - our web seminars.

On March io we offered a practical and pragmatic seminar on "Sibling Wars and Parent Care." Led by Francine Russo, autìior of They're Your Parents, Too! How Siblings Can Survive Their Parents' Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy, clinical social worker Steve Barlam and geriatric care manager Rona Bartelstone, the session taught participants how to become more sensitive to complex family dynamics, and provided potential interventions to help adult children reach resolutions.

In May we'll offer a web session on the inspirational "Art and Science of Lifelong Learning Programs," presented by Ruth Flexman, the Statewide Osher Lifelong Learning Coordinator for the University of Delaware. There are also upcoming web seminars on longdistance caregiving, medication monitoring, in-home care during a recession and patient-doctor communication. …

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