March 13th, 2014 12:33 EST
Agesong Assisted Living: Not just an Elder Community
For many years Agesong has been embracing elders, sharing their wisdom, and educating families and communities that one may be teachers until their last breath is taken. Alice Herz-Sommer, the oldest pianist and holocaust survivor in the world exemplifies the vision that Agesong`s CEO Nader Shabahangi strives to achieve at all the communities. Alice passed away at age 110, but not before she shared her wisdom and peaceful-loving heart in an Oscar nominated documentary called The Lady in Number 6, " an 11 minute interview may be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oxO3M6rAPw
Not only has Shabahangi`s philosophy toward elder care inspired people locally and nationally it inspired Rose Wake to move from Australia to become a part of the Agesong community: My position as Executive Educator and Director of Enrichment allows me the privilege of bringing and sharing cultural change, spiritual awareness and growth, and enriching magical moments for
our elders and care-partners. " Wake was also awe stricken when she first met Shabahangi because he articulated confidently his belief that elder care communities could embrace a philosophical and psycho-social framework while using loving and spiritual descriptive language.
Additionally, Rick Stanuikynas, the Chaplin at Agesong, stated that: A chaplain co-creates meaning with residents by being with them in their story. Through the ministry of presence, we are companions. Through emotional and spiritual support, we carry their story into memory, "forget me not` moments hold us all together in the AgeSong community. In the end "being with` enriches and validates the unique experience we all have in the search for meaning. " Stanuikynas then shared a few experiences he had with the elders at Agesong: An elder tells me she hums a little ditty when she feels lonely for comfort; we hum together. Another elder tells me, gratitude helps me cope; we thank together. And, another elder sits in silence; we sit together. " Stanuikynas finished with: A chaplain`s empathic stance opens a sacred space to walk with elders wherever they are at, wherever they lead us. "
Currently Rose Wake and Rick Stanuikynas are also working on a project together at Agesong called: Learning to Love. " The path of learning to love is described as being a spiritual path, one where each person seeks their journey toward love, spirit, and is highly individualized while being nurtured and accepted with unconditional-loving-regard. The philosophy is: Irrespective of
each person`s path to love more deeply Agesong welcomes all religious denominations as an integral tenet for ecumenical collaboration " Soul soars high when the acceptance of all faiths and beliefs occur side-by-side. "
Shabahangi, choosing to expand on the original vision at the elder communities has also broadened the scope of care to include adults and elders who suffer from psychiatric disorders as well as terminal illnesses who are on hospice and walking through the end of life process such as
schizophrenia, depression, bipolar, cancer, epilepsy, congested heart failure, and other debilitating conditions. Through a cooperative, nurturing focus from the administrators, therapists, care-partners, student interns, and staff members Agesong is giving families an alternative option and
environment to place their loved ones.
In addition to the care at the San Francisco community it was Shabahangi`s vision to connect the local community with the elders at Agesong by opening up the Forget me not cafÃ© to the public. By doing so it opens a channel for the elders to stimulate their intellect, share their wisdom, and deeply connect. The cafÃ© is open from Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and serves an assortment of soups, sandwiches, salads, desserts, and drinks. To view the philosophy behind the Forget me not cafÃ©, and see the menu go to: http://agesong.com/care/communities.php#FMNC
If you`re interested in learning more about AgeSong, Shabahangi and the AgeSong vision please contact Nader Shabahangi at: firstname.lastname@example.org; and/or view AgeSongs many web-links at: www.agesong.com; www.agesonginstitute.org; www.poeticsofaging.org; www.pacificinstitute.org.