Where Do TGB Readers Live?

Opening Day of the Second Wind Tour

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Not long ago, I told you about the new book, Second Wind, from geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas and two TGB readers won tickets to the tour he is conducting throughout the United States that extends the ideas he presents in the book to change aging.

Today's post is a report from the tour by Wendl Kornfeld who attended its premier in New York City on Monday.

I've known Wendl for about 40 years – she married the man I had lived with for several years in the early 1970s. I don't recall how we became friends – it's one of those lovely occurrences: one day you realize how important someone is to you and that you didn't notice it while it was happening.

Here is Wendl's report.

Billed as “live non-fiction theatre,” Dr. Bill Thomas and entourage opened a 25-American city tour in New York Cithy on 31 March, to publicize his latest book, Second Wind, Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper, and More Connected Life.

The tour, the tagline of which is, “This changes everything,” was almost four hours (with intermission) of well-paced testimonials, slides, music, video, and audience participation.

I have been a huge admirer of Dr. Thomas and his message to the world ever since reading his book, What Are Older People For? How Elders Will Save the World. The Second Wind Tour continues his message of embracing the person we are yet to become.

Dr. Thomas, a self-described “ambassador from Elderhood,” painted a fanciful “What if?” scenario of how the world might look and act if we grew in height as we grow older, and told a wonderful anecdote about taking his medical students to a cemetery so they really understood the difference between being dead and being old.

Supporting Dr. Thomas were Dr. Janet Taylor, M.D., MPH, who discussed how latter-life brain changes are put to positive use in navigating life transitions along with David Farrell, Senior Director of The Green House® Project, which re-imagines soul-less, institutional nursing homes into an experience similar to a real home.

In addition, local musicians and personalities shared stories about how getting older, despite some serious setbacks, proved to be the key to a more satisfying and expansive life.

There was also a documentary, Alive Inside, about how an iPod experiment evolved and expanded to dramatically change the lives of North American dementia patients, their families and caretakers.

I had seen this film before at a New York City nursing home but it astounded me anew at what science has learned about how the human brain allows music to re-open memory paths where other interventions have failed.

The program ended with an interactive musical interlude with a charming Ugandan-born musician with profound life stories of his own before the entire “cast” came on stage to bid us farewell.

I introduced myself to Dr. Thomas at intermission and told him we were linked through Ronni Bennett and TGB which delighted him. He even asked my name; I don’t expect him to remember it but I will always remember that moment.

Presumably, a few members of the tour’s cast will change as it embraces local culture and personalities in each succeeding city but the core presentations are inspiring, moving, and often very funny.

The overall tone of the tour is upbeat and if you attend with an open mind, you may well leave changed in some way - just as they promised.

Ronni here again: you will find a list of tour cities and dates here.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dan Gogerty: Happy Cows, Happy Cheese


Two lovely things stand out for me: the power of music to re-open memory paths for people with dementia; the Green House Project Homes and keeping the number of each home to 10-12 residents.

Wish I lived in USA to be able to take advantage of the that if needs be.

I have an example of how music reopens memory paths. A childhood friends mother knew me very well as I was a guest in her home many times. She always asked me to play the piano for her.

Fast forward 60 years when my friend took me to visit her mother, who was suffering from advanced dementia. My friend asked me to play for her mother and suggested songs her mother loved. As I started playing the numbers my friend's mother started singing along. She did not know who I was, but she knew the music and remembered every word of the lyrics. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

I have reserved a free ticket to the Seattle Second Wind tour stop. Just a heads up, the process was a bit convoluted but free tickets are available through the Seattle sponsor, listed on the web site.

Does anyone have tickets to the Portland event?

Marcie - AARP Oregon is distributing free tickets to the Portland event: http://aarp.cvent.com/m-events/Info/Summary?e=88c28ddc-5f01-4c98-9ac9-e01900065e2c

There are free tickets available from sponsors in every city. Email info@secondwindtour.org to request a ticket.

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