Long-time readers of Time Goes By know of my admiration, respect and enthusiasm for the work of William H. Thomas, M.D. and for the man himself. His book, What Are Old People For?, has been both an affirmation of my own elder advocacy and an inspiration to keep this blog going and expand the areas of aging that it covers.
This morning, the Heinz Family Foundation announces that Dr. Thomas has been selected to receive its 12th annual Human Condition Award. Teresa Heinz, who is chair of the foundation established by her late husband, Senator John Heinz and, I’m sure you will remember from the 2004 presidential campaign, the wife of Senator John Kerry, says:
“With contagious enthusiasm and an unwavering vision, Dr. Thomas has helped bring dignity, joy and love into an environment that has been too long lacking in these essential human qualities. As America continues to age and the nation’s population of seniors doubles over the next quart century, Dr. Thomas’ transformation of our system of long-term care is, quite literally, just what the doctor ordered.
“His ‘Edenization’ of long-term care environments has dramatically improved the quality of life for countless older adults, engaging them in their own care creating active, home-like communities. Because my late husband John was so committed to answering the special problems and needs of the older population, it is especially fitting that this Heinz Award for the Human Condition goes to Dr. Thomas for his ennobling work.”
In the past, I have quoted liberally here and here and here and here and here and in other blog posts from What Are Old People For? and will again. It is so good and so important a work on elders and aging that if I had my way, I’d just reprint the entire book on TGB. But you could buy it for yourself.
On the back burner for Times Goes By during the months of my move to Maine has been a planned series on alternative living arrangements for elders. At the top of the list to be covered is Dr. Thomas’s Eden Alternative along with another elder housing concept he has created called Green Houses, smaller-than-Eden communities of six to ten people that provide high-quality eldercare in environments that feel like home.
In a couple of weeks, TGB will present an interview with Dr. Thomas. Meanwhile, congratulations on the well-deserved Heinz Award to this extraordinary man who has devoted his lifework to countering ageism in all its forms by becoming a force in helping to create a positive elderhood for everyone.