I've had second thoughts about my last post: "How to Handle this Age Issue," where I decided that the best way for me to deal with being an older woman was to ignore my age. That decision nagged at me so I did a little research. I reread an essay that I had saved from … Continue reading Rethinking How to Handle this Age Issue
The woman who was interviewing me asked my age. She was apologetic. “My boss wants me to get ages.” I was ready for her. “I am 76,” I said. “Not a problem to ask. I think it’s good that folks realize that older people can still be productive.” “That’s one way to handle it,” she … Continue reading How to Handle This Age Issue
A fellow nurse clued me into Doris Carnevali’s blog. Here is what a Seattle news station, K5News, wrote about her. Her blog follows.
A retired nurse is helping explain what happens when we grow old. Some of it might surprise you.
Author: Ted Land
Published: 7:10 PM PDT June 5, 2019
Updated: 7:25 PM PDT June 5, 2019
SEATTLE — A 97-year-old blogger is helping explain what happens when we grow old. Some of it might surprise you.
Each morning, Doris Carnevali sits at a desk in her West Seattle home and starts writing.
“The ideas are bubbling in my head between the time I’m asleep and awake,” she said.
She has plenty to say about what it’s like to age and she’s sharing it all on her blog, Engaging With Aging.
“Sure, there are times when I am down, and the 14th thing I drop in a day makes me frustrated as all get out. But on the whole, it is so much more exciting than I ever thought it was going to be,” Carnevali said.
She is retired from the UW School of Nursing and has written medical textbooks. Then at the age of 95, she picked up a new hobby: blogging.
“I had been ranting about the fact that I thought aging had gotten a rotten deal. That it was much more pleasant, exciting, and challenging than I had been led to believe,” she said.
After hearing that rant, the dean of the UW School of Nursing urged her to publish her thoughts. So Carnevali’s granddaughter created a blog account and the words flowed.
Today, she’s written dozens of passages on what she calls age-related changes.
“My hands don’t pick up things the way I used to, do I say I’m losing my hands? No, I’m changing how I use them and that way I don’t get down in the dumps,” Carnevali said.
Engaging With Aging isn’t a how-to advice blog. It’s more of a diary about what she’s going through. If her readers extract lessons, great. If not, the exercise keeps Carnevali sharp.
“I’m still growing, I’m green, I’m inept, I’m clumsy, I’m learning every day, but I’m green, and I’m growing,” she said. “I thought of aging as being grey, no, it’s green.”
She does not shy away from the fact that there will come a day when her hobby is no longer possible.
“When it happens, it happens, and it would be nice if it didn’t, but I’m too busy doing other things to worry about it right now,” she said.
With that expertise come responsibilities
Many of the people who study old people, theorize and write about us, take care of us, or relate to us are not “old’ themselves. They experience old age second handedly. Earlier in my life as a nurse I often had older patients. As a daughter I shared my parents’ aging. In my 50’s I blithely participated in three editions of a nursing book about caring for the elderly without taking note of myself as the “outsider.”
Now I feel as If I had been a pilot flying over the city of aging, assuming I knew how the residents lived. What an illusion! It’s not that what I knew, used or wrote about elderly people was inaccurate. But it paid only narrow attention to the significant ways normal aging was changing agers’ capacities to manage their ever-present tasks and relationships. I had looked at them…
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I talked to my friend Lois the other day. She was telling me how she is orchestrating a skit for Talent Night at her church. “It’s silly,” she said. “It’s a skit that I have done years ago with my family.” What caught my attention was the fact that Lois is selling this idea to … Continue reading We don’t give a rip what anybody thinks.
I had finally decided to clean out my office closet. I started with the stuffed cardboard file box. The first thing I reached for was a frayed manila envelope. The stack of typed pages spilled out onto the floor. After I read the first two sheets—an early attempt at documenting my nursing life—I knew I … Continue reading A Long Overdue Thank You
My husband and I went to Charleston last week and came home with bed bugs—maybe. A lovely city, we have been there many times joining friends at the same hotel. This time, after a hiatus of a couple of years, the hotel was looking a bit rough around the edges. Our first room was quite … Continue reading Bedbugs and Friendships
Many of you reading this are not old enough to remember the disengagement theory. When I started out in gerontology in the 80s this was one of three theories of aging I learned about, and the most depressing. The disengagement theory of aging states that "aging is an inevitable, mutual withdrawal or disengagement, resulting in decreased … Continue reading From Disengagement to Balance: The Journey to Positive Aging
My friend, Lois, turns 77 and shares her thoughts on celebrating her birthday without her husband, Marv, and cooking a dinner for her family.
“Can I help you?“ a butcher yelled from a packaged meat display.
A few feet away, I was standing, clueless, in front of an impressive array of glass-encased chunks of red meat. “Yes, I guess,” I bellowed back. When he was situated across from me, I asked, “How many pounds of a chuck roast do I need to serve six adults?”
“About three and a half.”
“How long would I have to bake it in the oven?”
After he outlined exact hours and temperatures, I gushed my thanks. “It will be the first roast I’ve made in forty-seven years; I want to impress my family.” After no response, I added, “I’ll take about four pounds; I’ll want left overs.”
As excited as I was to purchase this $25.00 piece of thick, marbled and bladed meat, his bland facial expression told me he was not interested in why it was the…
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I am reblogging this post because Grace and Frankie are coming back this Friday on Netflix with the fifth season. You can bet I will be sitting on my sofa in the TV room ready to laugh, cry and thoroughly enjoy these two older women breaking down the stereotypes of aging. My only problem is how to make Season Five last a really long time.
I am thrilled that the third season of Netflix’s Grace and Frankie is finally here. As one of the first gerontological nurse practitioners to be certified by the ANA back in the 60s and now a 70-something woman, I am depressed that the very same stereotyping and dismissal of the aged I first encountered is still happening.
I came across this article by Ann Brenoff who says, “Season 3 of the Netflix series gets a lot right—and it’s funny.”
Read what Brenoff says about the series and how Grace and Frankie attack the entrenched biases that are reflected by laws, business opportunities and interpersonal relationships in our social networks, including family.
03/30/2017 03:37 pm ET
‘Grace And Frankie’ Totally Nails What It Means To Be Getting Older
Season 3 of the Netflix series gets a lot right — and it’s funny.
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A serendipitous meeting with Michele Berger reminded me of the long road I traveled conceptualizing, creating, and finally completing my book. Many folks that I met along the way inspired and supported my efforts. Most I never had the chance to thank. Fortunately, now I can tell Michele that her creativity workshop and follow-up coaching encouraged me to stay on track.
Thank you, Michele.
Below is Michele Berger’s recent post spotlighting me and my book.
Happy new year, everyone! It feels especially poignant to begin the first post of the year with a special Author Q&A. More than a decade ago, before I formally began my coaching practice, I taught creativity workshops at UNC-Chapel Hill’s The Friday Center. They had a thriving adult enrichment program. My classes were popular and I met and coached people from all backgrounds. It is always a delight to run into people many years later and hear about their creative adventures.
Two months ago at the North Carolina Writers’ Conference, out the corner of my I saw a distinguished-looking woman. Her face looked familiar, but I only caught a glimpse before moving on to my next panel. To my great delight and surprise, this same woman came up to me at the reception. We immediately recognized each other. She had taken one of my classes at the Friday Center and…
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