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« Endless Tales of Woe | Main | Ancient Mariners Feel the Heat »

October 29, 2007 |Permalink |Comments (11)

Ask Dr. Bill

Many of my readers (I hope) are students at the Erickson School at UMBC, where I recently joined as a faculty member to teach in the first-of-its kind undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the Management of Aging Services, or MAgS. I know by experience the passion and enthusiasm found among those who have dedicated their lives to working with elders, but I have been truly impressed by the dedication of my students. Because my travel schedule takes me away from campus often, I'm not always available to answer all of the probing questions they raise. In fact, there is rarely enough time during many of my lectures and speeches to answer all the important questions that folks bring up, such as "Just What are Old People For Anyway?" Well let me tell you... Starting now I'm launching a new feature on my blog called "Ask Dr. Bill." I'd like to invite all my readers to post their questions about aging, longevity, elderhood, old people, geriatrics or whatever else, in the comments section below by email to changingaging AT gmail DOT com.

Comments ( 11)

Hi, Dr. Bill,

What a wonderful source of information on aging! Enjoyed your interview with Ronni Bennett. Glad to see some of my elderblogger friends on your blogroll. Ronni's blogroll is a rich source of day-to-day, personal creativity about getting old in a culture that doesn't do a very good job of valuing its elders.

To put the cherry on top, your writing is top-notch. You are a welcome addition to the world of elderblogging. Thanks for the good work you're doing.

Thanks for the note Claudia, I feel like I have just entered a large hall filled with people laughing, smiling, telling stories and creating a new vision of age and longevity...

Great party so glad to be part of it...

Welcome to the world of blogging, Dr. Bill

I arrived here at your site via Ronni Bennett's "Time Goes By." I discovered Ronni's blog about 2 years ago when I "Googled" positive aging. Since then I have followed links from her blog and others to elder bloggers sites from around the world almost.

The Internet is a valuable tool for many of us elders. I will be 78 years old in December and I count it a blessing the day my son turned me on to the computer and the Internet

I read Ronni Bennett every morning, even before I have my coffee. Now, it looks like I'll be reading you first thing in the morning too.

I'm 82 and my son introduced me to the computer four years ago and I haven't been the same since!!

Looking forward to your posts.

I am honored and it is a pleasure to think of you catching up with the world even before breakfast. Hope you like the post I just published on Sea Turtles...

your responses today at TGB particularly resonated for me, "let go of youth...embrace..." old age. many of my peers are emotionally challenged by that important notion. sometimes, as an active elder among younger people, i have to remind myself about that also.

could i suggest an area of investigation for your blog? it would be the role of social action in the lives of those beyond retirement. in the current focus on volunteering as an important activity for elders--and it is--i believe it has great value to ourselves as well as our society. for some it means risk-taking that was desired but avoided due to employment constraints.

oops, a bit long-winded for a comment!

I, too, found your blog by being an avid reader of Ronni Bennett's blog, 'Time Goes By' and am grateful for her reference. Thanks to Ronni's tip I am ordering your book today.

Millie Garfield and I share something; we are both 82 and enjoying our elder years. At one time the subject of Ronni's blog was fear of dying and I commented that I have 3 friends who range in age from 75 to 92 and in our discussions we have all indicated that death holds no fear for us. In your research have you found that we are in the mainstream or are we unusual?

Congratulations on your fine age. Research would suggest that you and your friends are right on the mark when you report a lack of fear about death. One of the fancy names that scientists have used to describe the feeling you are experiencing is "gerotranscendence." This word comes to us from a Swedish researcher named Lars Thornstam.

I write about this idea-- and do my best to explain in plain English-- in my book "What Are Old People For?"

I'd be delighted if you were to drop me a line on your thoughts about this after you read it...


Dr. Bill Thomas

Thank you for your reply. I have ordered your book and it should come tomorrow. Rest assured, I will send you my comments on gerotranscendce. I had no idea that this phenomenon had a name.

Does everyone eventually reach gerotranscendence? At about what age? I'll be 66 next month and I definitely am not gerotransgendent. To the contrary, I'm feeling very vulnerable at this age, especially when former classmates have either recently died or have cancer. It's kind of like I suddenly came to the tack-sharp realization that, yes, I, too, am going to die. And I'm scared. Not of being dead. But of the vast unknown that surrounds the dying process itself. And the possibility of intractable pain, or dying in some other horrible way. My grandmother died in her sleep; that's a good death. My mother is 91; she doesn't seem scared of what is to come. My husband, 20 years older than I, is in the severe stage of Alzheimer's. Sometimes he'll look at me and tell me I'm dead, which is creepy. He often says he's dead. Maybe these are reasons why death is scaring me right now. Well, it IS Halloween today, so I guess Death is saying BOO and scaring the spooks right of me. BTW, congratulations on your blog. I think it's going to be a big help to those of us who are - gasp - rapidly heading toward elderhood and wondering how the heck we got here so dang fast.

Dear Dr. Bill:
I enjoy listening to and learning from the thoughts on the blog. I especially enjoy your conversation on women and minorities and aging.
I was recently introduced to a new book and am just starting to read it. I would appreciate your comments and feedback on this book by Beth Baker, "Old Age in a New Age: The Promise of Transformative Nursing Homes".
Thanks so much,

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