In this lively panel discussion, speakers from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds provide new definitions of aging and elderhood. Leaning on their practice-based research and lived experiences, these experts in medicine, healing, art, and social innovation offer tools and strategies to help us change our own mindsets and ultimately shift how society values aging.
Meet award-winning author and geriatrician Louise Aronson, M.D., a vocal critic of the ways in which our society and healthcare system neglect, stereotype, and mistreat older adults. Engage with Omisade Burney-Scott, founder of The Black Girl's Guide to Surviving Menopause and a leader in fostering healing spaces for non-binary, Black women, and femmes to share stories about life, aging, intimacy, pleasure, and vulnerability. Learn with Jeff Hamaoui, founding partner and Head of Education and Innovation at MEA, a school dedicated to helping you navigate midlife and beyond. And rock with June Millington: guitarist, music educator, and co-founder of the pioneering band Fanny.
- Is elderhood an ending? A decline? Another stage of life with its own hardships, opportunities, and joys?
- How must medical systems change in order for us to age well throughout the arc of our life cycle?
- How can we transition effectively as our minds and bodies advance and decline?
- How can intergenerational exchange promote creativity and regeneration, especially for women and people of color?
Louise Aronson, MD, MFA, is a leading geriatrician, writer, educator, professor of medicine at UCSF and the author of the New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, and Reimagining Life. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Aronson has received the Gold Professorship in Humanism in Medicine, the California Homecare Physician of the Year award, and the American Geriatrics Society Clinician-Teacher of the Year award. In addition to her clinical practice and teaching, she currently leads the AGE SELF CARE program and serves as an advisor to the state of California on Covid19 in elders. Her writing credits include the New York Times, Atlantic, Washington Post, JAMA, Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine, and her work has been featured on NPR, NBC, CBS, and the New Yorker. https://louisearonson.com/
Omisade Burney-Scott (she/her) is a Black southern 7th-generation native North Carolinian feminist, mother and healer with decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy, and social justice. She is a founding tribe member of SpiritHouse and previously served as a board member of The Beautiful Project, Village of Wisdom, and Working Films. Omisade is the creator of The Black Girl’s Guide to Surviving Menopause, a multimedia project seeking to curate and share the stories and realities of Black women and femmes over 50. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, the proud mother of two sons, and resides in Durham.
Jeff Hamaoui is Co-Founder and Chief Education and Innovation Officer of Modern Elder Academy, the first-ever ‘midlife wisdom school.’ Dedicated to reframing the concept of aging, Modern Elder Academy (MEA) supports students to navigate midlife with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility. With prior roles at NASA, IKEA, and Nike before permanently landing in Baja at MEA in midlife, Hamaoui is a seasoned teacher and master facilitator with an entrepreneurial mind, teacher’s heart, and seeker’s soul. Hamaoui is also the founder of Baja Sage, MEA’s adjacent residential community. This new type of community utilizes regenerative principles to support flourishing and resiliency across the entire community.
June Millington, “one of the hottest female guitarists in the industry”(Guitar Player Magazine), has been making music since she was a child playing ukulele in her native Philippines. Having moved from Manila to California in the early sixties, she and her sister, bassist Jean, turned in their folk guitars for electric guitar and bass and formed a succession of all-girl bands. By 1969 they were in Hollywood with their band Fanny, one of the first all-women’s rock bands to be signed to a major label (Reprise). Through five successful albums and extensive touring of Europe and North America, Fanny served notice that women could do more than simply sing; they could write and play passionate rock ‘n roll. As David Bowie said of the group in an interview with Rolling Stone, “They were one of the finest fucking rock bands of their time ... They were extraordinary: They wrote everything, they played like motherfuckers...They are as important as anyone else who’s ever been, ever...” In 1975 June played on Cris Wiliamson’s “The Changer and the Changed” which launched her involvement in the genre of women’s music, and which led to being a co-founder and Artistic Director of the Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA), a non-profit organization for women and girls. IMA has been hosting Rock ‘n Roll Girls Camps each summer since 2002 and has grown into an internationally known teaching, performing, and recording facility supporting women in music and music-related business. The founding board included activist/writer Angela Davis and acclaimed engineer/producer Roma Baran (Laurie Anderson, Rosalie Sorrels). June released her autobiography “Land of a Thousand Bridges: Island Girl in a Rock ‘n Roll World” in 2015; Bobbi Jo Hart’s documentary, Fanny: The Right to Rock, is currently streaming on PBS. June’s latest album, Snapshots, was released last year via IMA on her label Fabulous Records.
About Reimagine and the “Aging as Grief, Aging as Growth” Series
Reimagine is a nonprofit organization catalyzing a uniquely powerful community–people of different backgrounds, ages, races, and faiths (and no faith) coming together in the hopes of healing ourselves and the world. We specifically support each other in facing adversity, loss, and mortality and–at our own pace– actively channeling life's biggest challenges into meaningful action and growth. www.letsreimagine.org
Age isn’t “just a number.”
Western culture does an awful job of helping us face the universal experience of aging. We’ve created a society that celebrates and rewards youth and often makes older adults feel invisible and unnecessary. As a solution, beauty brands sell “anti-aging” products. Doctors and researchers suggest that aging is a disease treatable with surgery and medication. Ageism is real for job seekers, beginning with those in their 30s.
Certainly, there are real adversities and challenges associated with aging, and so few spaces to acknowledge and mourn these losses. At the same time, there are aspects of getting older that are, in fact, gifts to recognize and share with our loved ones, communities, and workplaces…if only we could see them.
With guidance from healers, artists, social entrepreneurs, and activists, we’ll gain tools and inspiration to view aging not only as an inevitable challenge, but also as a source of newfound strength, vitality, and wonder.