Sunday, April 18, 2010, 03:56 PM - Heros & HeroinesIf you don't like cute animal stories, . . . read this anyway. You'll love this one.
A dog, Bella, and an elephant, Tarra, living on an elephant sanctuary, became best friends. They don’t let their differences (in this case their species) get in the way of their friendship. These animals have something to teach us about accepting each other’s differences and finding joy in unlikely situations.
Click below to see the original story, broadcast on CBS News by reporter Steve Hartmann.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010, 11:18 AM - Heros & HeroinesDirector Stephen Walker, pictured here, has made a film for Indepedent Lens about a chorus in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Although the chorus members are in their 80s, the music they perform is anything but geriatric, unless the Clash's "London Calling" now qualifies as old folks music.(I think not). Although you're probably still skeptical, as I admit I am, you can tell just by looking at the film's poster, below, that it is something special.
Will Joe Strummer be rolling over in his grave when they perform "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" Tune in tonight and find out. Here in the Bay Area, the program plays on KQED, Channel 9, at 9 p.m. PST. Click here to go to the Young@Heart website to watch a preview and check the time of your local listing.
Sunday, January 10, 2010, 12:30 PM - Heros & HeroinesA group of elderly adventurers are finding new ways to challenge and enjoy themselves in their 80s and 90s, and in the process changing the way society views the elderly. The New York Times just did an article Seeing Old Age As A Never-Ending Adventure profiling three adventurers, Ilse Telemanich, 90, Tom Lackey, 89, and Charles Smith, 89, pictured here.
Ilse goes hiking in South Africa, even on a sprained leg. Tom Lackey does "wing walking" -- flying over the English Channel strapped atop a single engine plane. Tom just took up the sport in the last 10 years, and has done 20 such flights. His goal for his 90th birthday this year is to be the first person of any age to wing walk across and back the English Channel. Tom,pictured wing-walking here, a self-described "adrenaline junkie," persisted with his new hobby even when members of his church saw his sport as nothing more than a "death wish." (They have since changed their minds, thankfully).
Paul Smith travels to exotic places such as the North and South Poles.
Paul, Tom, and Ilse are not alone. The percentage of elderly travelers going in for adventure travel has gone up as much as 70% in the last 6 years. In fact, Elderhostel, Inc. the travel company specializing in travel for the elderly, has changed its name to Exploritas, to keep up with the trend. One hospital in New York City has even started the nation's first medical fellowship in trauma treatment for the elderly, to deal with mishaps that the elderly may have on their adventurers.
When people hit a ripe old age, they often brag about it, and that is evidently true in the adventure travel area. Paul Smith told the Times that on his South Pole trip, "a woman got off the plane at base camp and started bragging about being 80. She was quickly put in her place. One of the fellows in our group tapped her on the shoulder and said, ‘I don’t want to prick your balloon, but there are three in our group who are older,’ ” Mr. Smith said. Ha!
I used to tell people that if old age did not agree with me, I would take up parachuting lessons, and one day not pull the string. Now I think I will have something to look forward to when I reach that point.
Wing walking may not be your thing, but individuals such as Paul Lackey remind us that, whatever your age, you can have fun and reinvent yourself by taking on new challenges and doing things you thought you would never do. Take it to the limit one more time.
To read the Times article, click here.
National Academies of Science Host Author of New Book "A Place Called Canterbury: Tales of the New Old Age in America"
Monday, October 13, 2008, 05:39 PM - Heros & HeroinesThe National Academies of Science presents author Dudley Clendinen, reading passages from his new book, A PLACE CALLED CANTERBURY: Tales of the New Old Age in America, on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. at the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W. Washington D.C. The event is free; a photo ID is required for admittance.
DUDLEY CLENDINEN is a former national reporter and editorial writer for The New York Times. This description of A PLACE CALLED CANTERBURY APPEARS on the National Academies' website.
“In 1994, New York Times writer Dudley Clendinen’s mother followed the example of her generational compatriots: she sold her home and moved into an all-amenities-included geriatric apartment building: Canterbury Tower in Tampa Bay. Wealthy, poor, Christian, Jewish, widowed, married—all of Canterbury’s residents had come together, at the average age of 86, in search of a last place to live and die.
Clendinen’s curiosity about this final phase of human life in the 21st century led him to spend 400 days and nights living at Canterbury, during which he became intimately involved in the lives of its residents and staff. With A PLACE CALLED CANTERBURY: Tales of the New Old Age in America (Viking), Clendinen offers a beautifully written, hilarious and deeply moving look at old age in the new millennium.
The last challenge to the generation of the Great Depression and World War II is longevity—none of them expected to live so long, and their baby boomer children weren’t prepared to take so much responsibility for parents who seem to live forever, collecting ailments and shedding assets as they go. But places like Canterbury Tower, more adult camps than retirement homes, allow residents to live out their remaining time on their own terms.
Peopled by brave, daffy, memorable characters determined to grow old with dignity, A PLACE CALLED CANTERBURY is at once a delightful soap opera and a poignant chronicle of the last years of the Greatest Generation. It is an essential read for anyone with aging parents and anyone wondering what his or her own old age will look like.”
If the book is a good one – and this sounds like it – there’s nothing better than hearing the author talk about the book and read part of it. Check it out if you can.
For the National Academies' website, click here.
Nonetheless, when the Dad (played by Philip Boscoe) is diagnosed with Parkinson disease, and needs their help, they travel to Sun City Arizona, where he lives, and bring him back to live in a nursing home in Buffalo, New York where Jon Savage is a college professor. As they arrive at the Dad’s home with an “I love you” balloon, Wendy says to Jon that “maybe Dad just forgot us” to explain his lack of communication.
Lest you think that the nursing home scenario promises to be too depressing to be enjoyable, the opposite is true. There are truly hilarious scenes which the director/writer Tamara Jenkins uses to illustrate the sometimes absurd rituals that family members go through when putting their parents in a nursing home. Wendy, for example, is convinced that her father will like a designer red pillow from Urban Outfitters as much as she will, and she goes ballistic when she discovers that another nursing home resident (who actually does LIKE if not LOVE the red pillow) has appropriated the pillow (which her father could care less about). The tug of war that ensues when Wendy tries to get the pillow back is priceless. There is also a scene where the kids try to talk to the Dad about advance directives, where the Dad proves wiser than the kids, although he’s the one with Parkinson’s disease. And many others.
The film also uses animals (a dog and a cat) to affirm the value of human life. Keep your eye on the dog in particular.
To view a trailer/preview, double-click below on the picture: