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Checking In, Catching Up

By December 10, 2018 January 4th, 2019 No Comments
overlooking Mt. Hood & Columbia River Gorge

I haven’t checked in with all of you in a while.

Earlier this summer, we posted a short film about Fire Safety and Emergency Evacuation that sadly took on increased relevance last month.

memoir family, early 20th Century

I also shot and edited a nearly three-hour video memoir for a very interesting family from Kansas. A picture of their ancestors is above.

The project brought some much-needed resources for StayorMove.org and enabled me to travel to beautiful Oregon in October to shoot a couple of Moving On stories.

While there, I reconnected with a woman who moved from Mill Valley to Bend in 2015 to be closer to her children.

I had interviewed her when she was moving, but when I arrived in Bend to follow up, I encountered an unexpected twist to the story. The film will be completed shortly and I look forward to hearing what you think.

The second story is about a 95-year-old man from Alabama who after a stroke moved to an assisted living facility on the Columbia River in Oregon to be closer to his daughters. He showed great improvement but also felt the need to take care of his son in Alabama, so he moved back. I’ll check up on how he’s doing when I go there this winter. Should he have stayed near his daughters when his health was improving so much? Should he have moved back to Alabama to help out his middle-aged and unemployed son? There’s no pull date for tough decisions.

I called a small hotel in a teeny town in rural California on my drive back to see if they had any vacancy in case I got too tired to drive. When the proprietor learned about StayorMove.org, he told me I should do a story about his 83-year-old mother who refused to leave her ranch in spite of the difficulties caring for it. This is a common story in rural areas, especially when so many of the younger generation have moved away, so her story is a future possibility.

Recently, Kim Tingley published an article in the NY Times, “The Future of Aging Might Just be in Margaritaville” about the Jimmy Buffet-branded community for seniors in Florida. In spite of the fact fewer than 14% of Americans over 75 live in senior housing, this community was pretty remarkable — if it’s your cup of tea.

But what really rang true were Kim’s observations about how we view aging. “We think of other life phases as having a particular purpose — childhood is about growing and learning, adulthood is about procreating and producing—we have not defined old age as clearly.” In the same article, Elana Buch adds, “We have no shared collective articulation for what later life is for, what the value of living longer is, except not dying.”

Staying Put or Moving On explores the meaning of later life and how and where we’re going to live it. We find the insights of others on the journey particularly valuable. Like the man in rural California, everybody seems to have a story to tell, but then another question arises: Do people really want to hear about these stories and the accompanying issues or would they rather keep any discussion of that last third of life at arm’s length. or more? The famous denial of INRY’s – I’m Not Ready Yet. It’s a question I grapple with all the time.

I’m hoping our stories are making a difference, but I do need your feedback. Which ones are the most meaningful for you? What do you want to learn more about when it comes to deciding how and where you’re going to live that last, (hopefully) long third?

Please get in touch and let me know.

Happy Holidaze, Everyone! More to come very soon. A hint: Do you think robots are useful tools for seniors?

Kristi

P.S. If these issues are meaningful to you, please support us by donating. All donations are tax-deductible and we are grateful at whatever level you are able to give. We also welcome sponsorships or introductions to potential sponsors. Thank you so much.  

Kristi Denton Cohen

Author Kristi Denton Cohen

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