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
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.
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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Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does … Continue reading Dream Deferred
Ten of us from a class of 44 traveled to Cape May, New Jersey to attend our 55th nursing reunion. We first met as young Catholic teens in the late ’50s enrolled in the diploma program at Saint Peter’s School of Nursing in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Hard to believe we are now in our … Continue reading Nurse at the Switchboard
I wrote about a new initiative from Pfizer (getold.com) back in July 2014 that posts issues on positive aging. I checked the site recently to see if it was still active. It is and looking good. Here is one of their latest articles. GET OLD: FIVE LESSONS FROM HYGEE: THE DANISH SECRET TO HAPPINESS by Shelley … Continue reading The Danish Secret to Happiness
As a retired gerontological nurse practitioner and a woman dealing with my own aging, I am always happy to read about successful aging. This one comes all the way from China. I hope you enjoy 80 year-old Wang Deshun’s story as much as I did. An 80-Year-Old Model Reshapes China’s Views on Aging … Continue reading 80 year-old male model