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Goose Bumps from the Thrill of Hope April 18, 2010

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When did you last experience the goose bumps from the thrill of hope?  It’s enough to make your heart skip a beat.  For us the thrill of hope arrived in an email announcing Ageless Dreamer as a semi-finalist for the www.ShowUsYourGoodness.com Program.  Imagine being one of 33 non profits out of 2800 applicants? And the ONLY New Hampshire non profit.  Any one can vote, just once, at the website above or through the www.AgelessDreamer.org web site.   $ 20,000. is the top prize, with two $ 5,000. prizes, and twelve $ 1,000. prizes. But the thrill of hope is one heck of a prize in itself.  We’re elated at the possibility.  Voting ends on April 30, so if you have 45 seconds to spare, please VOTE for Ageless Dreamaer to become one of the most inspiring charities.  You might also get to feel that utterly delicious thrill of hope!  Thanks for your vote, dear readers.  P.S. Don’t forget to try the Gourmet Brown Rice Crisps put out by the sponsoring company called RiceWorks.  Tough to select a favorite but the Parmesan & Sundried Tomato is a huge favorite with Sweet Chili next on my list.  Will try another flavor this week!

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Remember When Most Homes Had Only ONE Bathroom? February 20, 2010

Posted by Ageless Dreamer Foundation in Ageless Dreamer, Ageless Dreamers and Dreams, Inspirational Stories.
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Born and raised in Massachusetts, I was the middle child of five daughters. No brothers. Oh, did I tell you there was only one – yes, one – bathroom in the house? I’m sharing that with you because maybe it’ll help explain why I’ve always been a dreamer. Maybe I was dreaming of having more than one bathroom.

As Founder of a non profit organization, Ageless Dreamer, I immersed myself in encouraging our oldest generation to dream out loud. The idea came to me ten years ago when I went to the mailbox and received my first invitation to AARP. I circular filed it, of course, but realized that I was about to cross into someplace that I’d never been. Then I noticed, as I walked the sidewalks of the town in New Hampshire where we live, that there weren’t many old folks walking around. Where were they? And I began to notice that when I drove by assisted living or nursing home, or other similar places, that I didn’t even turn my head to look.

My husband and I started visiting these places and after a few months realized something very important: It didn’t matter if someone lived in the least expensive or most expensive senior living arrangement, if no one knocked on your door to visit and share stories, then stories and dreams were left untold. Constipated, if you will.

AARP doesn’t give up easily, so once again when I went to the mail box, a second invitation arrived which I also proceeded to recycle. But this time as I threw it into the blue plastic bin, I declared: I’m not an AARP-er. I am an ageless dreamer. The rest is history. You can learn more about that on the website: http://www.AgelessDreamer.org

This book is about stories of our oldest generation who are living and ageing successfully at home. It’s about our own futures and the lessons we can learn on how we can remain in our own homes as we age. Planning for that is important, both from a financial perspective, and a well being perspective. They’ll certainly be other options for many people, but this one option of ageing at home, is the one I’ll be capturing through stories shared with me.

With the 100 year old being the fastest growing demographic today, it’s very likely that the vast majority of Baby Boomers will grow to be part of that demographic. The wisdom, knowledge, and talents of today’s elders – also known as the Greatest Generation – will provide inspiration and insight into what we have to look forward to.

If you know someone who’s part of the oldest generation who’s successfully ageing at home and would like to share the story in this book or future ones, please send it to me at lauriewidmark@comcast.net. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

Are You Ever Too Old to Orgy? December 7, 2009

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By Frank Kaiser
www.suddenlysenior.com

To the utter horror of our children, today’s seniors are pushing the sexual envelope in ways, some say, contrary to all that’s right and holy.

Used to be, by age 60, seniors were expected to hang it up, start acting their age, and prepare for the solemn business of departing this world.

No more. What with Viagra, Levitra and all the other Ra-Ra’s now available, even nonagenarians are behaving much like hormone-crazed teenagers, blithely ignoring both old-fashioned shame and open-mouthed stares.

Consider this story out of London:

Nine Oldsters Booted Out of Nursing Home –
For Trying to Have an Orgy!

Seems that a bunch of old goats, ranging in age from 73 to 98, schemed a secret sex party to celebrate the 90th birthday of one of the “girls.”

As a British newspaper reported, “The let-it-all-hang-out party took place just after midnight on October 28. The three wrinkly Romeos and six sagging seductresses gathered together in the rec room and stripped to the buff.”

Well, you can imagine the staff’s alarm and embarrassment when orderlies investigated rumba rumbling from the rec room. There, surrounded by candles and dressed in birthday suits slathered with baby oil, the horny nine were wing-dinging to lay canes in dusty corners.

“They hadn’t got too far,” a staffer was reported to say. “I guess it was taking some of the gents a while to started. But they were all naked. Believe me, it was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Well, get used to it!

Gramps and grannies have been doing the wild thing since Adam and Eve were deep into their Golden Years. That old leech Methuselah was 187 years old when he fathered Lamech. And that was long before either Viagra or the Internet.

These days, old coots are turning on to the Web in more ways than one. It’s but a click from Google to photo sites like “Old Tarts. The Secret Sex Lives of Old Women,” “Old ‘n’ Horny,” Gorgeous Grannies,” “Hot Gummer Babes” and “Nasty Old Widows” One site opines, “Some guys just like their women aged like fine wine.” To which another adds, “Grandma has been around the block and back again, aged to perfection.”

Science backs this up.

According to a recent Janus Report, “Seventy-four percent of women age 65 and older engaged weekly in sexual activity compared with 68 percent of women ages 18 to 26. And get this: Four of 10 old biddies claim they’d like to have sex even more often.

Wow! Kind of makes you regret that you wasted all those years being young, doesn’t it?

But here’s the dirty little secret: What older women want, men can’t deliver! At least that’s what the experts at SeniorSite believe. A global survey of 27,780 aged 40 to 80 from 30 countries found aging women become sexually dysfunctional at half the rate of men.

But isn’t that why God created Viagra?

And, yes, coffee. The Archives of Internal Medicine tells us that drinking a cup of Joe translates into “a higher rate of sexual activity in elderly women and a decreased prevalence of impotency among elderly men.” No one knows why. Some speculate that the brew promotes more liberal behavior, but if that were true, Democrats would now occupy the White House.

Whatever, coffee can’t hurt.

Even if it’s only because it keeps you awake longer, have a cup of java tonight before turning in with your creaky better half. May be just what you need to get a leg up on the situation. Remember, though, if you encounter an erection lasting four hours or more, don’t blame me.

And next time you happen onto an orgy and need yet another cane, please don’t call me. I’m trying to cut back on caffeine.
© 2005 – Frank Kaiser

Assumptions about Old Age challenged by Benjamin Zander September 12, 2009

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That’s where Ageless Dreamer and The Art of Possibility naturally come together.  In his book, The Art of Possibility, Ben Zander writes about a talk he was invited to give at a Jewish home for the elderly (pg.64).  When he arrived at the rather dingy hall 10 minutes before he was to begin only one person was sitting in the fifth row of a bank of folding chairs. The woman, Sarah, chatted with him for a moment and he asked her to move up to  a seat nearer the front. Sarah declared: “I always sit here.”  Ben good-naturedly challenged her, saying, “who knows, Sarah, if you change your seat maybe something new will happen today.”

“Are you crazy? At my age?  I’m eighty-three!”  By now, Ben writes, she was standing, and, as if to prove him wrong, she actually moved, from the fifth row to the fourth. After wondering if anyone else would be coming to hear him speak the remaining chairs gradually filled and shortly after he scheduled time to begin a sizable group was ready to begin.  It turns out, Sarah was by no means the oldest; one member of the audience was 103.  The topic was “New Possibilities”. 

Ben shared some heartfelt stories  about his Father and his wonderful sense of humor. The audience laughed and sang with him “igniting the air in the once-dingy room.”  And this is where I yellow highlighted another sentence he wrote: “We challenged assumptions about old age and pointed toward some new beginnings.”   So does Ageless Dreamer.

That’s what Ageless Dreamer, since January 2006, has been working to do – challenge assumptions about old age. Encourage our oldest generation to dream out loud and remind caregivers and adult children to engage them in conversations that enhance their quality of life.  And, as author Elizabeth Coatsworth wrote when she was in her eighties, “When I dream, I am ageless.”  So am I.

Return of the Ageing Adventurer April 20, 2009

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Well, no one noticed I was gone. Hmmmm, makes me wonder how long I could sneak out for?   We’ll have to test that theory another day. I bumped into Stanley as I was walking up the sidewalk — you know his walker took up most of the sidewalk. At any rate, he was curious as to my whereabouts.  He was suspicious because the frozen pudding ice cream melted a bit under that bright sun and left some spots on my blouse.  He always was pretty observent and sharp as a tack.  Maybe he’ll join me the next time I sneak out. We could have a sneak-a-thon. Ha, Ha. Wouldn’t that be a hoot. Me and Stanley.  Stanley and me. One walker and one cane and a sidewalk that’s not wide enough.  Sounds pretty unconventional to me.

Copyright Laurie Widmark 2009

To Sneak or Not To Sneak OUT April 19, 2009

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With a blue sky day in progress, daffodils tossing their yellow petals in the breeze, and  robins picking worms from the grass, it seemed like the perfect call to make believe.  Make believe that this nursing home has released me, at age 94, into the wonder of the blue sky and green grass.  Actually, if truth be known, I’m sneaking out of that place .

The Doc says fresh air will do me good and it does.  It’s not that far to the ice cream stand – which, I heard, just opened last week.  I hope they have Frozen Pudding.  Used to walk miles a day, so what’s one more today?   This cane will help me out if I need it for balance but I’ll use it to stop anyone who tries to stop me from dreaming out loud and going after that scoop of ice cream.  The cemetary is on the way and I can use it as a shortcut. Maybe I’ll check out a few spots along the way that I could mention to the family next time they visit.  Of course, they don’t want to “talk about it”.  Good grief, you’d think I was going to live forever.  For sure I’ve got five or ten more years, but if they’re not going to be good and healthy ones like I have now, I sure don’t plan on hanging around.  That’s another story. Right now I’m standing up and walking for today’s dream: ice cream at Golick’s…with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Yum.   My friends at the nursing home will be jealous.

Copyright 2009 Laurie Widmark

Focus – a Five Letter Word April 9, 2009

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Phew. The power of focus takes alot of focus.  I’m learning that every day as I aim to put into action the lessons taught in the book, The Power of Focus. [by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Les Hewitt].   Focus on your strengths, it says, and eliminate everything that is holding you back. O.K. I’ve been working on that for almost two weeks and find myself talking to myself as a reminder: “If you keep doing things the same way, you’re going to keep getting the same results.”  O.K. I’m definitely hooked on that one and changing some of those “bad habits” that have taken over.   

For example, I never realized how many e-newsletters, that have no real immediate value to me, that I get every week. In the past ten days I’ve “opted out” of 27 different ones. Good grief. Everything from BJ’s, to Campers World, to Crate and Barrel, and everything in between.  I know where to find them if I need to look for something — but I don’t need them in my face when I’m trying to FOCUS. 

What am I focusing on?  The success of Ageless Dreamer.  Ways to capture the hearts (and checkbook – let’s be honest here!) of those who visit the site.  One way we’re working on is a free teeshirt. Yup,  F R E E.  in exchange for a minimum $ 50. donation.  The design is a secret until it’s up and running on the site.  Of course, if you want to be one the first ten people to have a coveted Ageless Dreamer teeshirt please let us know.  The first ten will also receive a surprise. I’m not telling you what it is, then it wouldn’t be a suprise.  So what do you say?  Who’s going to be the first to keep the dream alive!

Laurie Widmark 2009 Copyright

SAGE Advise April 4, 2009

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Talk about  weather that defined dreary and foggy – not doom and gloom, mind you, just dreary.   As we made the one hour drive to speak at a luncheon in Nashua, NH. we couldn’t help but wonder if anyone would show up.  Who said the over 65 age group were wimps about driving in lousy weather? Not this group. Ninety hearty souls ventured out to this once a month SAGE group, associated with St. Joseph’s Hospital.  Lunch was to be served up and Ageless Dreamer was the speaker du jour.

With microphone in hand the story began. The WHY’s of Ageless Dreamer.  Hmmmm…WHY’s and WISE sound alike.  Maybe there’s something to that. Anyway, the real magic happend when I invited one of the guests I brought with me to stand up to share her story at the microphone.  With a twinkle in her eye, Ruth led the audience to utter silence as she expressed her experience with Ageless Dreamer and how having her dream unfold, her first art gallery event exhibiting her oil paintings in 2006, changed her life.  The only sound that came from the audience was when she explained that all her friends had passed on — after all “I’m 96 years old”.  The gasp was audible. The giggles welcomed.   They thought THEY were the oldest ones in the room and Ruth just took their breath away.  Yup.  Ruth, the artist, who still teaches art lessons every week, empowered them to keep on dreaming.  One day at a time, one dream at a time.  You GO, Girl!

Copyright Laurie Widmark 2009

Laurie Widmark meets Miss Strafford County November 5, 2008

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It was very exciting to meet Jennifer Clements, Miss Strafford County, at Senior Wellness Expo, which took place on October 31st, 2008 in Rochester Elks Lodge. Jennifer expressed her appreciation and support of the Ageless Dreamer mission. For more details visit http://missstraffordcounty.blogspot.com 

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Another Aha Moment October 7, 2008

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Yesterday I set up a table at another Senior Wellness and Awareness fair in Concord, NH.  Looking around the room I saw maybe 50 or more providers all with different products or services: Refurbished medical equipment, hearing aids, emergency life lines, AARP, Assisted Living facilities, insurance, inhalers, and more and more and more.  It made me realize that, after doing a dozen of these type events, that maybe, just maybe, Ageless Dreamer was trying to get the attention of the wrong audience.  Our table display was also the only one that had balloons – orange, yellow, and red – to match our sunrise/sunset logo!   Ageless Dreamer – an attitude worth having.  But the folks there who really cared  what Ageless Dreamer was about were some of the vendors.  Those that were age 30-something to 60 something.  They talked about their parents and grandparents and their dream.  Ageless Dreamer was a “fun” mental wellness display amongst all the other displays of basic everyday, albeit important, needs.  I do need to say that one other display who was there could also fit under the “fun category”:  Elder Music.  The Director and developer of this program, Paul Bordeleau, gives piano lessons to groups of ages 55 to 99+.  Paul’s brochure says “You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you  grow old because you stop playing….”  The program was specifically designed to meet the needs of the senior student, with teaching materials especially developed for Elder Musik.    We might just need to invent a senior Fun Fair!  The displays will all and only be for things like: bicycles and trails to ride or walk; where to go for hot air balloon rides; how to publish you first book; voice or dance lessons; fishing trips; and more and more and more.  Then Ageless Dreamer will be the star of the show, reminding the care-givers and adult children of our oldest generation to remember to ask them: Do you have a dream?

Copyright 2008 Laurie Widmark