As a followup to an article written by Dr. Ronch, Interim Dean at the Erickson School for Management of Aging Services (and an MKCREATIVE client) — where he discusses the paucity of Gerontologists in the USA — I thought it useful to post a link to a compelling video presentation made by another Erickson School faculty member, William Thomas, MD, at TEDx San Francisco recently.
In the early 1990’s, Dr. Thomas and his wife Judith Meyers-Thomas developed the Eden Alternative. Dr. Thomas’ groundbreaking work in person-directed care also led him to imagine a new approach to long-term care that became known as the Green House.
In the video, Dr. Thomas argues that a new lifestage might well evolve out of the growing number of baby boomers in our ranks so that the human lifecycle may soon come to be defined as “Childhood”, “Adulthood” and “Elderhood.”
Thomas suggests that the obsession with “Adulthood” is misplaced and that our elders are “disappeared” into retirement communities simply because they don’t fit the model of existence that has been defined for the “rest of us”. One could also argue that relocation is foisted upon many seniors because they are perceived as having nothing “new” to contribute to society, they are “unproductive”, and consume goods to a lesser degree than other members of the community. This argument is false, argues Thomas (as does this blogger).
Thomas suggests that the Baby Boomers will redefine aging in the same way, and to the same extent, that they redefined adolescence and youthful rebellion.
Watch this amusingly presented, but ultimately, sobering talk by the self-appointed ambassador of “Elderhood.”