Changing Our Views on Aging

Posted by: Nikki Buckelew

Spotlight on Dr. Bill Thomas

"I am a firm believer that older people should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want." -Dr. Bill Thomas 

This quote comes to us from Dr. Bill Thomas, the founder of The Eden Alternative and professor at The Erickson School of Aging, University of Maryland/Baltimore County.

What's intrigues me most about Dr. Thomas is his take on changing our views concerning aging.

If you know me, I'm a big proponent of the benefits of altering our perceptions on a regular basis. It helps us grow as human beings and become more aware of those around us. And I feel that Dr. Bill's thoughts on aging are something that any real estate agent or housing professional involved in the senior market should understand.

But, of course, I'll let you make that determination for yourself.

In short, he puts forth the hypothesis that society should abandon its' focus on the “anti-aging” movement and zero in on developing more of a “pro-aging” mindset. Basically, let's stop fighting the aging process and accept it as a healthy, normal part of life that we are all eventually (God willing) going to dance through.

Instead of viewing senior citizens through a microscope of pity, let's toss away the dread and instead do what we can to make aging an exalted place of fun and transcendence. I say "AMEN" to that!

An especially interesting aspect of his work is Dr. Thomas' Green House® Project, an initiative that creates small, intentional communities where 7-10 elders and staff focus on living full and vibrant lives. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded $15 million to support rapid replication of the model in all 50 states.

If you're a real estate agent or broker in an area where Bill Thomas' work is available as an option, it may be a project that should be brought to the attention of any senior clients, or their families, with whom you work. At the very least, the movement may may provide an opportunity for you to share his work with – and enhance the lives of – your senior clients.    (Dr. Thomas' Website)      (The Changing Eden Program)

Dr. Thomas Speaks at TED




Nikki Buckelew is the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation. A veteran REALTOR® of over two decades, she holds a bachelor’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. As a professional speaker, coach, and trainer, Nikki is committed to empowering, equipping, and educating real estate sales and senior housing professionals seeking to better serve the mature market segment. 

Anonymous commented on 10-May-2013 04:57 AM
Hi Nikki -- great post, thanks for sharing Dr. Bill's perspective with your audience.
Anonymous commented on 10-May-2013 04:57 AM
Happy to do it. I like what he has going on and intend to forward that line of thinking in all we are doing as well!

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