Close

Blog

Upcoming Eldership Dinner with Dr Nader Shabahangi

Nader Shabahangi, PhD

The Eldership Dinner Co-Hosted by EBALDC & SPUR

Co-Presented by The Center for Elders’ Independence

Date: January 24, 2018

Time: 6pm – 8pm

Location: SPUR Oakland, 1544 Broadway, Oakland CA 94612

Cost: FREE, RSVP Requested.

[Updated Jan 25, 2018: This event has passed]

You’re invited to a fun & friendly discussion about aging!

We all do it (age), but how do we really feel about it? It’s a tough topic for lots of adults. Let’s talk it out over dinner and entertainment; with friends!

By 2030, one in five Alameda County residents will be older than 65, and by 2050 the county will have nearly 100,000 residents over the age of 85. This demographic growth represents a profound shift, and one that requires revisiting how we design our cities and systems. Join us for dinner and an open discussion about our own perceptions on aging and what infrastructure, political will and policies are needed to give older adults the opportunity to age in place. Co-presented by the Center for Elders’ Independence, East Bay’s Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

Guided Discussion Led by Nader Shabahangi, Ph.D.

Renowned aging and elder care expertauthor and CEO of AgeSong Senior Living Communities; and founding Trustee of CEI’s Foundation Board, FEI.

We’ll discuss:
Our perceptions of aging. To start change the key is “changing our perceptions of aging!”

What we can do to make our communities better for seniors.

The demographic changes in the number of Bay Area seniors.

Hear about “Age Friendly” policies & solutions to keeping seniors living well and independently in our communities.

Schedule:
a. Aging Intro: why this topic?
b. Age-friendly – starts with our own mindset -changing our perceptions of aging.
c. What is your mindset? Discuss our feelings about aging – be open and talk about your idea about aging, about yourself – no abstraction, your own innermost feelings.
d. Ideas about how to become age-friendly ourselves.
e. Do you know how much effort it takes to pick yourself up after tragedies? How much effort it takes not to throw in the towel? See that when you see an older person: he/she has not thrown in the towel!

Entertainment by Stagebridge!

stagebridge logo with address and photo of actors on stage doing dance movements
Entertainment by Stagebridge!

“The nation’s oldest and most renowned theater company of older adults”  will have guests laughing in their seats as we ease into a joyful discussion.

The Hosts, Co-Sponsors and Co-Presenters!

SF-Bay Area Planning Urban Research logo
Co-Hosted by SPUR

SPUR is a member-supported nonprofit organization. Through research, education and advocacy, SPUR promotes good planning and good government in the San Francisco Bay Area. SPUR brings people together from across the political spectrum to develop solutions to the big problems our cities face. With offices in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, SPUR is recognized as a leading civic planning organization and respected for our independent and holistic approach to urban issues.

Find out More on SPUR’s Calendar

east bay asian local development corp logo
Co-Hosted by EBALDC

East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) is a non-profit community development organization with over 40 years of experience in building healthy, vibrant and safe neighborhoods in Oakland and East Bay. EBALDC addresses the specific needs of individual neighborhoods by connecting the essential elements of health and wellbeing through their Healthy Neighborhoods Approach.

Find out more about EBALDC

center for elders independence
Co-Presented by The Center for Elders’ Independence

The Center for Elders’ Independence (CEI) is a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the total environment of older adults in the East Bay. CEI provides high quality, affordable, integrated health care services to the elderly, which promote autonomy, quality of life and the ability of individuals to live in their communities.

Find out more about CEI

 

Eldership Dinner with Dr Nader Shabahangi

Date: January 24, 2018

Time: 6pm – 8pm

Location: SPUR Oakland, 1544 Broadway, Oakland CA 94612

Cost: FREE, RSVP Requested.

RSVP to Join Us: Contact Elana- Email Elana today

The Eldership Dinner Co-Hosted by EBALDC & SPUR Co-Presented by The Center for Elders’ Independence Date: January 24, 2018 Time: 6pm – 8pm Location: SPUR Oakland, 1544 Broadway, Oakland CA 94612 Cost: FREE, RSVP Requested. [Updated Jan 25, 2018: This event has passed] You’re invited to a fun & friendly discussion about aging! We all do it (age), but how do we really feel about it? It’s a tough topic for lots of adults. Let’s talk it out over dinner and entertainment; with friends! By 2030, one in five Alameda County residents will be older than 65, and by 2050 the county will have nearly 100,000 residents over the age of 85. This demographic growth represents a profound shift, and one that requires revisiting how we design our cities and systems. Join us for dinner and an open discussion about our […]

Read More

Recommended Read: Aging Famously by Elizabeth Mead Howard

Eldership Academy Press would like to congratulate Elizabeth Howard on the publication of her new book, Aging Famously: Follow Those You Admire to Living Long and Well.

In Aging Famously, Howard shares intimate interviews with her inspiring role models. She offers readers helpful tactics and lasting legacies of creative people in their 70s, 80s and beyond who continued to take risks and contribute their talents. They celebrated aging as a time of depth, understanding, commitment and hope.

“Some mentors teach us specific skills; others teach us major life lessons. Elizabeth Howard gives the reader the opportunity to learn from an impressive group of wise and experienced elders, beginning with her own father.”
-Dr. Margery Hutter Silver, co-author Living to 100, retired Assistant Professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School

Find out more about Aging Famously and upcoming author appearances on the Aging Famously website.

Buy Aging Famously on Amazon!

Eldership Academy Press would like to congratulate Elizabeth Howard on the publication of her new book, Aging Famously: Follow Those You Admire to Living Long and Well. In Aging Famously, Howard shares intimate interviews with her inspiring role models. She offers readers helpful tactics and lasting legacies of creative people in their 70s, 80s and beyond who continued to take risks and contribute their talents. They celebrated aging as a time of depth, understanding, commitment and hope. “Some mentors teach us specific skills; others teach us major life lessons. Elizabeth Howard gives the reader the opportunity to learn from an impressive group of wise and experienced elders, beginning with her own father.” -Dr. Margery Hutter Silver, co-author Living to 100, retired Assistant Professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School Find out more about Aging […]

Read More

From Aging to Eldership Video

This presentation was given at a recent dinner hosted by the Center for Elder Independence and the Fund for Elder’s Independence.

This video, from Nader’s recent eldership presentation at CEI, is about changing our perception of aging, reframing the conversation from about getting old to getting mature and opening ourselves up to the concept of Elder as a role and engaging in Eldership practices. Elders of any age can practice the Eldership values of giving back, mentorship and providing guidance to their communities.

Eldership Dinner w/ Dr Nader Shabahangi
Presentation for the Center for Elders’ Independence(CEI) on exploring our perceptions about aging and eldership.

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.

In this presentation Nader gives 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 he believes is the foundation of an attitude towards a life of 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?

Nader Shabahangi, PhDPresented by Nader Shabahangi, PhD
Renowned aging and elder care expert
CEO/Founder of AgeSong Senior Living Communities

March 9th, 2017 at Center for Elders’ Independence, Oakland, California

Hosted by:Center for Elders’ Independence and
Fund for Elders’ Independence

 

Transcript of Video:

We actually want to bring up the conversation of Aging and reframe aging away from the decline model to a model where we say “growing old,” we would want to change this word from old to something else…Growing wise, mature.

When you say normally, “37 years old” and what happens when I say “59 years mature” and he’s 37 years old?

In our society, youth dominated society we always talk about, he just won.

Ageism is one of those last archaic “isms” where you say, “Oh, you look young for your age.” You go, “huh, thank you,” right?

[Nader is writing out a diagram]Here we are born, over here. You are happiest when you are youngest. And you are happiest when you are most mature.

The idea that there is a time when I just get through this middle adulthood crisis that here things are going to, you know, move up in the way that I feel about myself, and the world. I think that is a wonderful “image.”

We live in a society that has the “decline” model, right? There’s the prime of life, and then it goes downhill- and this would be something that we would want to supplant with an idea that life gets better and better and better. So this is a “maturing” idea where I “wisen,” as you guys said, “wisen.” Where I mature. Where I deepen.

Do people know about the word, “Eldership?” [workshop attendee asks, “Eldership?”] Eldership. It’s kind of a new word, we don’t hear it much.

I am bringing the values, or the ideas that come with being an Elder. Talk about what it is that you, forget “society” and “how you should be,” what you look forward to as you are maturing more into your next however many years there are. What are the things that you really would love to shed right now, at your age and still really look forward to growing into?

Related to agism, how we really cannot take “age,” the chronological age, as a measure for anything.

Think about how much effort it takes to live a life and then to actually be told “you haven’t lived that much, you haven’t put in that much effort,” right? You say, “No, I am sorry, I really do feel like I should, I own the 72 years.”

I would like to propose, a number-free idea of Elder.

So then, “What is an Elder?” So then maybe I just introduce this little idea that Elder is a role.

Elder is someone who actually deescalates conflict and in someways can see both sides, right? That’s an “Elder.” That’s actually also what we would call earlier, “practicing Eldership.” So Elder would actually actually go into any kind of tension and deescalate tension.

It would be beautiful, that’s my goal anyway, that the older or the more mature I get in someways I can help practice eldership in a way that for example an older wise person would continue to guide and a mentor. Continue to actually bring in, wouldn’t it be beautiful, if those elders could actually really be part of helping the youngsters who are often very lost. You know, on their path.

Isn’t that beautiful, if you have a really older person say to a youngster, “You are going to be ok. It looks formidable. It looks like you’re never going to get there, but you are going to be ok, I believe in you.” And that’s Eldership.

How you behave and how you act, that’s more the role. Like the role of the mother, the role of the father, etc. So Elder is the role and Eldership is ideally what an Elder, whatever age, so this is any age, would exhibit or practice or in the sense of mentoring, in the sense of guiding, in the sense of not stepping back, and thinking “I am too old I can’t do anything.” But rather, say “No, I have lived and suffered through many, many decades and I am not going to let that go, I am not going to waste that. I am going to put that, it has value.”

So we actually need to learn, we don’t need to do anything, but it would be nice if one can appreciate all the suffering that you’ve gone through.

I have some students that work with people who are forgetful and after a few months I ask them, “So what are learning working with people who are forgetful in different stages?” and almost all of them say, “Oh, I have become less critical of myself.”

Dementia literally means no mind. I mean, it’s another topic, but many of us are afraid of becoming forgetful.

Get away from burdening yourself from thinking that being an elder is something that is not as desirable, but rather to one that I want to become an elder so I can do the woodworking, I can become a mentor. I can become someone that can give to this planet.

The way you treat an elder is the way you will treat yourself when you are older. So especially when you’re driving behind someone who’d, [laughter], right? Just remember you’re going to be honking towards yourself one day. So really any moment, actually I really do mean that, you know, so if you can actually look elders and then yourself in the mirror in a way that is loving and kind and caring and appreciative of the wrinkles and the gray, green or whatever you have going, that would really be a first step. So you can actually in the morning when you about to take that anti-aging cream, you know? I know, I know, I do it. So then just think about that, whatever that is. Be kind to Elders of any aging. Hopefully we will continue these dialogues, changing the concept of aging, to something that is more loving, kind and caring.

Thank you guys for coming.

[clapping]

This presentation was given at a recent dinner hosted by the Center for Elder Independence and the Fund for Elder’s Independence. This video, from Nader’s recent eldership presentation at CEI, is about changing our perception of aging, reframing the conversation from about getting old to getting mature and opening ourselves up to the concept of Elder as a role and engaging in Eldership practices. Elders of any age can practice the Eldership values of giving back, mentorship and providing guidance to their communities. Eldership Dinner w/ Dr Nader Shabahangi Presentation for the Center for Elders’ Independence(CEI) on exploring our perceptions about aging and eldership. 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 […]

Read More

Upcoming Eldership Dinner with Dr Nader Shabahangi

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 required to attend.
RSVP by Thursday, March 2, 2017 to Elana Sissons, Development Associate
Email: esissons@cei.elders.org

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 Guest 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 […]

Read More

“I Like to Listen”: The Need for Eldership in Challenging Times

logo for California Health ReportNader Shabahangi shares an op-ed piece on his thoughts about how growing Eldership can have a positive impact in our challenging times.

Excerpt from California Voices on California Health Report here:

Eldership.

Eldership is a role all of us can inhabit when called upon. It is the two year-old at the kitchen table reminding the parents that they are fighting while eating. It is the young adult standing up and letting the manager know workers are hurting. It is the middle adult who calms the temperament of two people about to get into a fight.

Since becoming older does not automatically create an elder – it does not automatically create the skills needed for eldership – we often need to acquire them. We learn to understand how people communicate, connect with one another, exchange experience and knowledge, and feel heard.

Read the whole piece here at CalHealthReport.org (the California Health Report website.)

Nader Shabahangi shares an op-ed piece on his thoughts about how growing Eldership can have a positive impact in our challenging times. Excerpt from California Voices on California Health Report here: Eldership. Eldership is a role all of us can inhabit when called upon. It is the two year-old at the kitchen table reminding the parents that they are fighting while eating. It is the young adult standing up and letting the manager know workers are hurting. It is the middle adult who calms the temperament of two people about to get into a fight. Since becoming older does not automatically create an elder – it does not automatically create the skills needed for eldership – we often need to acquire them. We learn to understand how people communicate, connect with one another, exchange […]

Read More

A History of Eldership

There is renewed interest today in the idea of eldership. Eldership refers to a role a person takes within a group or larger community. This person is called an elder and is someone who exhibits certain qualities and traits that help another individual, group or larger community in time of need. The Hebrew zah-kehn, the Greek presbuteros and the Latin senex mean the same as the English senior, elder, or aged. The English word Sir or Sire, the Spanish Senor, the Italian Senior are derived from senex and show the respect the elder was attributed.

The Greek word presbuteros, from which is derived the word Presbyterian, refers in the Old Testament to age and experience translated to English as ‘elder’. Some biblical scholar contend that the word bishop, from the Greek episkopos, overseer, is used interchangeably with the word ‘elder’.

Eldership as a role and position within a human community started within the tribal traditions. There we find an emphasis on elders as guides and leaders. Among the Australian Aborigines men slowly move into the status of eldership once they show signs of age, such as gray hair. This indicates that they are experienced and wise and are fit to lead the tribe and teach the young. Elders in the tribe also guide the young with issues such as the selection of jobs for which they see them fit, whether someone has the ability and talent to be a good teacher or the skills to be a hunter. They also resolve tribal concerns and are expected to make final decisions about the direction the tribe will take on various issues.

In the Native American tradition, elders are placed in the highest position of honor and respect a tribe can offer its members. The traits generally associated with elders in this tradition are 1. knowledge, 2. wisdom, 3. counseling skills, 4. loving heart, 5. compassion, 6. willingness to teach, 7. even temperedness, 8. patience, 9. willingness to take on responsibility.

More recently, the term eldership is also found within the Old and New Testament. Within this religious context an elder was thought of as a helper, someone who assisted the priest with communal tasks and responsibilities. The traits of eldership were outlined quite specifically in this tradition. Elders were to be:
1. gentle, not violent
2. not greedy for money
3. respectable
4. loyal to their partner
5. temperate and self-controlled
6 hospitable
7. moderate with alcohol
8. parents who raise their children a believers
9. willing to lead others
10. willing to oversee others
11. not recently converted
12. those with a reputation with outsiders
13. those who love what is good
14. disciplined
15. those who held steady against false beliefs
16. those who led an exemplary life.

In the New Testament the concept of ‘elder’ was sometimes used interchangeably with bishop, overseer and pastor and shows the status an elder held in this tradition. Elders are described as teacher, leader, shepherd and ruler with qualities such as wisdom, maturity, knowledge, honor and balance. They were considered representatives of the people because they were ‘called by God’. The necessity of desire and joy in being an elder is stressed in biblical scripture. It emphasized that elders were elders not only because they were appointed but also because they themselves desired and enjoyed being an elder.

Another important aspect of eldership was that elders, though entrusted with the welfare of God’s people, were seen as humans. This meant that they were prone to errors and frailties as all other humans. They were not infallible. Additionally, scripture makes a distinction between elders who ‘rule’ and elders who ‘teach’. Though scholars have different opinions on this matter, some argue that this distinction was made because of the recognition that some elders were more qualified to rule whereas others were better teachers and preachers. The ability to rule and the ability to teach were seen as distinct qualities, that is they were not understood as complementary. Whereas little is mentioned about how ‘ruling’ elders were to practice for their task, ‘teaching’ elders were definitely called upon to prepare for their role:

“The one elder who, by the force of circumstances, is obliged to pass through a process of preparation to fit himself for his work, finds himself in a position different from the other elders; he has been subjected to a long course of intellectual and moral training; he adopts the pastoral work as the business and pleasure of his life. ”

This a very brief synopsis of the role elders held and in some important traditions and what qualities were generally associated with them. Even though there are expected differences within different cultures, the overall role and qualities of elders seems to transcend time and space.

There is renewed interest today in the idea of eldership. Eldership refers to a role a person takes within a group or larger community. This person is called an elder and is someone who exhibits certain qualities and traits that help another individual, group or larger community in time of need. The Hebrew zah-kehn, the Greek presbuteros and the Latin senex mean the same as the English senior, elder, or aged. The English word Sir or Sire, the Spanish Senor, the Italian Senior are derived from senex and show the respect the elder was attributed. The Greek word presbuteros, from which is derived the word Presbyterian, refers in the Old Testament to age and experience translated to English as ‘elder’. Some biblical scholar contend that the word bishop, from the Greek episkopos, overseer, is […]

Read More

Why ‘Eldership’?

eldership academy

The principal emphasis in our trainings has been on allowing people to experience that their lives are intrinsically meaningful. This means that all their pain and suffering, all the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’, all of what they have already experienced and all of who they already are, somehow create the tapestry we call ‘life’. Becoming aware of how the many facets and aspects of our life and life history form a whole provides the basis for what we call understanding. Understanding, in turn, allows for our ability to feel that our life has meaning.

Because much of more conventional psychotherapy has emphasized symptom and pain reduction, help with adjustment and adaptation, we felt that we wanted to focus more on helping people uncover who they are, not what something or someone believed they should be. The role of helping others to be who they already are and of facilitating their process of becoming, we saw most closely connected to the role of the elder. This led us to conceptualize our plan as an eldership training program.

The principal emphasis in our trainings has been on allowing people to experience that their lives are intrinsically meaningful. This means that all their pain and suffering, all the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’, all of what they have already experienced and all of who they already are, somehow create the tapestry we call ‘life’. Becoming aware of how the many facets and aspects of our life and life history form a whole provides the basis for what we call understanding. Understanding, in turn, allows for our ability to feel that our life has meaning. Because much of more conventional psychotherapy has emphasized symptom and pain reduction, help with adjustment and adaptation, we felt that we wanted to focus more on helping people uncover who they are, not what something or someone believed they should […]

Read More