Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Aging Parents: What's Elderhood

We know childhood and adulthood; but do we know "elderhood?"

The goal of Help! Aging Parents is to enable relatively healthy, aging parents--who live independently--to stay that way as long as possible and age well. But I've wondered when "as long as possible" ends. Clearly it doesn't end the moment aging parents are incapacitated by health issues....

I'd never heard of "elderhood," a term coined by geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas (MD from Harvard Medical School) --until I watched and listened to an almost 26 minutes New Hampshire PBS video interview with him.

"Elderhood" follows adulthood and involves further growth that so many fail to recognize. Understanding the concept can help us help our parents age well. That's why I'm including the video link, which I urge you to watch and listen to.

Dr. Thomas's philosophy challenges the traditional concept of institutional care centers and home care. His ideas encompass relationship changes (mother-daughter, husband-wife etc.) and liberating ourselves by getting past our idea of being the indispensable caregiver; acknowledging the value of caregiving as a partnership; opening our eyes to the untapped richness of elderhood.

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