About this Blog
About Everyone Is Aging
By Steve Gurney
In 2008 I was feeling a bit unsettled as reflected on my 20 year career in elder care and realized I am often referred to as an “expert” in senior housing, Although I had visited over 500 communities and helped thousands of people make the transition to senior living, I questioned “how could I be an expert in something that I have never experienced first-hand.” This started me down a path of personal and professional exploration and marked the beginning of this blog which chronicles my adventures, thoughts and ideas.
The underlying theme of this blog is to focus on the FACT that EVERYONE IS AGING not just people with AARP cards, gray hair, etc., etc. I believe that our culture uses the term “aging” incorrectly and it not only feeds a billion dollar industry of “anti-aging” products, but a mindset which can be poisonous to our future. This blog celebrates ideas and thoughts that break down the wall of age segregation and promote ways that people of all ages and abilities can live and work together.
Click here to listen to a webinar discussing conclusions and ideas. (presentation starts about 12 min in so you can let it buffer)
Here is the video that started it all!
February 2009 — Paul Spring Retirement Community — “The first move”
This independent and assisted living community in Northern Virginia opened its doors to me to feel what its like to make the move from a home I am familiar with to one that is unfamiliar and different.
I learned many lessons, but the most powerful was just how detached I was from the emotion of these transitions. This was emphasized from the moment I signed my name on the application and imagined my own furnishing in my apartment. The most powerful thing I observed is just how much the residents of these communities care for each other. Many of the problems and challenges that traditional neighborhoods face could be solved by replicating the caring that I witnessed in this community.
August 2009 — The Residences at Thomas Circle — “Can all ages live together? The benefits of an urban retirement”
My second move was much more calculated, I wanted to explore the concept that all ages could live together in a “senior living” environment. In addition, I had become more aware of the role that the automobile plays in defining our purpose and independence. To better understand these I moved to a community in an urban setting in downtown Washington, DC with my 6-year-old son.
Seeing this community through the eyes of a young child was the most powerful lesson I learned on this move. My son is not affected by the stigma of aging like most adults are. The experience also confirmed my thought that a city would offer convenience and easy access to enriching experiences for people of all ages.
November 2009 — The Watermark at Logan Square — “Retirement Community or a Hotel?”
My third move was a bit of a surprise, when planning a business trip to Philadelphia I had a retirement community offer to let me stay in their community instead of a hotel. I took many steps in my previous moves to immerse myself in what it would feel like to live in these communities. I was surprised when I viewed the community through the “lens” as an alternative to a hotel at how appealing the option could be for both the traveler and the resident.
January 2010 — Keswick Multi-Care — “Nursing Home or a Hotel?”
I was invited to serve as the moderator for the Keswick Board of Directors annual retreat. As I was getting ready to make a hotel reservation I caught myself and recognized that spending the night in this skilled nursing center would also enhance my ability to serve as a moderator. I would describe the experience as a cross between a 5-star hotel and a college dorm room . . . complete with a shower down the hall instead of my room.
October 2010 — Arden Courts Assisted Living — “A Closer Look at Alzheimer’s and Dementia”
I gained a different perspective on behavior and the challenges one faces with Alzheimer’s after participating in a Virtual Dementia Tour at Arden Courts. The memory care center offered to let me spend a day at the community to build on the lessons and perspective that I gained. Spending time in the shoes of a resident proved to be a valuable experience. Although the residents needs and behavior were markedly different from the other communities I have been at I felt very comfortable in this environment.
Next Move? Stay tuned — I have lots of ideas!
My hope is that my moves, ideas and comments from readers of this blog inspire you to think differently about how we define “aging” in our culture. I encourage you to contact me or use this blog to share your thoughts and ideas.
800-394-9990 ext. 1118