I am a proud gerontologist. Gerontology is the multidimensional, non-medical, study of aging. This is important because each one of us is multi-dimensional. Aging is multi-dimensional.
A few fun facts about me:
I grew up living with my grandparents, so this is the foundation of my respect and awe of elders and my curiosity of the experience of growing older.
I have been volunteering/working with elders since I was 11.
Professionally, I do a lot of different things within gerontology – education, evaluation, and “practice” – creating ways to support elders through programs, projects, services. You can learn more about Sonya Barsness Consulting LLC here.
My work is about transforming the way we care for each other as we age. I believe this transformation needs to happen at every level – education, evaluation (research), policy, and practice.
We do through by being person-centered. This means starting with the person who is growing older or growing with dementia and listening to what is important to them, from their perspective. Before we develop any product or service, or build systems of support, we need to listen to what elders say and what is important to them. This process of listening to elders needs to be integrated into everything we do WITH elders.
I meet elders “where they are” and they are in nursing homes, assisted living communities, CCRCs, senior housing communities, hospitals, our neighborhoods, Starbucks, the gym, the grocery store……
We need to hear the voices of people who are growing older and growing with dementia, and those who support them.
This blog is about me sharing MY voice, as well as all the voices I have heard over the years. (This makes me sound like I hear voices in my head. But that is not what I mean.)
I am a bit of a rebel- I like to challenge thinking – and revisionist is a term that seems to capture this. A revisionist is “an advocate of revision; a reviser; any advocate of doctrines, theories, or practices that depart from established authority or doctrine.” Revisionist historians re-interpret historical records or events. As a revisionist gerontologist I believe we need to change the paradigm of aging and dementia.