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Hello Oprah – An Elder Advocate's Appeal – Part 2

A week or so ago, I posted a story about Dr. Bill Thomas's campaign to appear on Oprah Winfrey's television program. Today, I have more for you.

Understand that I am a fan, a BIG fan of Dr. Bill Thomas. I cannot name another person who has done more and continues, non-stop, to do more for elders that has borne as much fruit as this smart, kind, caring, good man.

He didn't start out to be a geriatrician or an activist improving the lives of elders. Circumstances conspired to bring him to this calling. I'll let him tell you about how it happened in this video [15:23]:

[The Eden Alternative -- Discovering a Life Worth Living from Kavan Peterson on Vimeo].

Toward the end of that video you just watched, Dr. Thomas explains the philosophy of the Eden Alternative which he created with his wife. Out of it grew the idea for the Green House Project, a new kind of living place for elders that is beginning to make old-style, institutional nursing homes obsolete, and dramatically improving the lives of the elders who live in these homes.

Today, there are Green Houses in all 50 states and in ten or more countries around the world. Here is video about the first Green House in Tupelo, Mississippi [7:34 minutes].

If the day comes when I can no longer manage life on my own, I will do everything in my power to join a Green House. Take a look at this one in Tioga, New York [6:53 minutes]:

In his previous “Hello Oprah” video, Dr. Thomas asked you to contact Oprah to request his appearance on her show. In Part 2, he is asking you to do more. Here is his challenge for you [2:54 minutes]:

If you can make a video, please, please do so. It doesn't need to be long – a minute or two will do. Tell people – and Oprah – a personal story about getting old, then post it to YouTube.

If you can't make a video because you don't have the equipment or can't figure out how to do it, a written story – a personal one about your own aging – will also help. If you don't have a blog, post your story in the comments here – length doesn't matter. If you make a video or post to your own blog, let me know and I'll pass on the URLs from YouTube and your blogs to Dr. Thomas.

Every one of us can do our part to help convince Oprah that there is more to old age than anti-aging which she has spent years promoting. She is 55 years old now and it's time for her to use the phenomenal media power she has promote the richness of old age.

There are more videos by Dr. Thomas and about the Eden Alternative here.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Pat Tomlinson: I Yelled at You Today.


Daughter-in-law works in assisted living, and loves her job...I mean she really loves it. When she was younger she was a foster mother to 22 children, adopting three, but she says she loves this even better.

How can I explain getting old?
Laws of nature
What’s the alternative to getting old?
Dying young
Why do I fear getting old?
Losing independence
How do people relate to me as old?
Varies—wise/cute/unseen/ straightforward/odd
How do I feel about looking old?
Usually comfortable
How to I feel about being old?
Proud of my journey thus far
What is my role as old?
Educate others by example
What can I hope to teach the young who will be old?
It’s natural to get old
What do people fear most?
What does old really represent?

I am in the process of writing a letter about aging on my blog. I have enbedded the second video and I should have it ready for posting tomorrow.

Oh those videos brought a lump to my throat. Especially highlighting one of their core principles to alleviating loneliness through human AND animal companionship. I know my soul would suffer a very slow death if I didn't have animal companions around me.

I don't believe it...getting older may have benefits finally!

Thanks Ronni.

Dr. Thomas' video about the green nursing home made my year?/ life?
I admit to a lot of apprehension about the years ahead. Right now I'm 75, healthy, active and happy but "the ride into the sunset"- the next 10 years. Has been scaring me silly until I saw this video. Now all I have to do is figure out where (which eden) and when.

Thanks again.

Hello: I am 72+, have had 33 different "jobs" by last count, and worked with Bill Thomas a couple of years ago on a concept we called: "Eldershire." It is about how we can create communities where each person is valued and contributes what he or she can contributes and receives what the others can help with. It is perhaps THE ANSWER to the seemingly unsolvable problems that the tsunami of Baby Boomers pose for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. See:

I hope Bill will give me a call.

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