“People are happiest at the beginnings and the ends of their lives…”

Ashton Applewhite says,

“People are happiest at the beginnings and the ends of their lives. The vast majority of Americans over 65 live independently. The older people get, the less afraid they are of dying. Aging is a natural, lifelong, powerful process. So how come so many of us unthinkingly assume that depression, diapers, and dementia lie ahead?  That the 20th century’s astonishing leap in life expectancy is a disaster-in-the making? Underlying all the hand-wringing is ageism: discrimination that sidelines and silences older people.”


Ms. Applewhite has written a book and blogs about ageism, and also authors a Q & A blog called “Yo, Is This Ageist?”  These, and tools such as a consciousness-raising booklet and a vigorous speaking schedule, all “help catalyze a movement to make discrimination on the basis of age as unacceptable as any other kind.”



We hope you’ll join Care Partner Connection and The Ithaca College Gerontology Institute

for an online community book study and conversation about Aging and Ageism

in advance of Ms. Applewhite’s appearance

as Distinguished Speaker at Ithaca College

on October 23, 2017

visit HERE for more information and to register – enrollment is open now

The Study Begins on August 14, 2017!

Ashton Applewhite                                                               photo credit: Adrian Buckmaster


Lisa Kendall is a social work psychotherapist and clinical gerontologist committed to providing and promoting person-directed and trauma-informed care that supports growth and well-being for every member of the Elder care team.

In addition to her private practice, Lisa is an Educator and Mentor for The Eden Alternative(TM), teaches the Fieldwork course for the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute, and operates Care Partner Connection to offer online and in-person education, training, and retreats.

“Smart, Sassy, and Oh, So Wise…”

That’s what AARP says about Ashton Applewhite and her book, “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism.”

As Ms. Applewhite is appearing as Ithaca College Gerontology Institute’s Distinguished Speaker this fall, we thought it would be AMAZING to read and talk about her book together!

You are invited to join us for a 10 week online community book read, culminating in Ms. Applewhite’s appearance at Ithaca College on Monday, October 23, 2017.

The Ithaca College Gerontology Institute is partnering with Lisa Kendall, Clinical Gerontologist and pro-aging advocate, to offer this informative, thought-provoking, and paradigm-busting conversation about age and aging in America.

About the Book   

From childhood on, we’re barraged by messages that it’s sad to be old. That wrinkles are embarrassing, and old people useless.

Author and activist Ashton Applewhite believed them too—until she realized where this prejudice comes from and the damage it does.

Lively, funny, and deeply researched, This Chair Rocks traces Applewhite’s journey from apprehensive boomer to pro-aging radical, and in the process debunks myth after myth about late life.

The book explains the roots of ageism—in history and in our own age denial—and how it divides and debases, examines how ageist myths and stereotypes cripple the way our brains and bodies function, looks at ageism in the workplace and the bedroom, exposes the cost of the all-American myth of independence, critiques the portrayal of olders as burdens to society, describes what an all-age-friendly world would look like, and concludes with a rousing call to action.

Whether you’re older or hoping to get there, this book will shake you by the shoulders, cheer you up, make you mad, and change the way you see the rest of your life.

Age pride!

Buy the book here.   Click HERE to register for the online study


Chapters will be rolled out weekly starting August 14th, 2017, and include:

Week #1 – Introduction: Welcome! Get your bearings and become familiar with the community conversation board, links, etc.

Week #2 – Chapter 1: The Problem with Ageism

Week #3 – Chapter 2: Our Ages, Ourselves – Identity

Week #4 – Chapter 3: Forget Memory – the Older Brain

Week #5 – Chapter 4: Health, Not Youth – the Older Body

Week #6 – Chapter 5: No Expiration Date – Sex and Intimacy

Week #7 – Chapter 6: Not Done Yet – the Workplace

Week #8 – Chapter 7: Long Life is a Team Sport – the Independence Trap

Week#9 – Chapter 8: The Bull Looks Different – the End of Life

Week#10 – Chapter 9: Occupy Age! Beyond Ageism

Click HERE to register for the online study WHAT THEY ARE SAYING…

“Wow. This book totally rocks. It arrived on a day when I was in deep confusion and sadness about my age—62. Everything about it, from my invisibility to my neck. Within four or five wise, passionate pages, I had found insight, illumination and inspiration. I never use the word empower, but this book has empowered me.”               ANNE LAMOTT, New York Times best-selling author


“Along comes Ashton Applewhite with a book we have been waiting for.  Anti-ageism now boasts a popular champion, activist, and epigrammatist in the lineage of Martial and Dorothy Parker. Until This Chair Rocks we haven’t had a single compact book that blows up myths seven to a page like fireworks.”   LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS


“Vibrant, energetic, fact-filled and funny, This Chair Rocks is a call to arms not just for older people but for our whole society.”                               KATHA POLLITT, poet, essayist, and Nation columnist


“Sometimes a writer does us all a great favor and switches on a light.  Snap! The darkness vanishes and, in its place we find an electric vision of new ways of living. I want to live in a world where ageism is just a memory, and This Chair Rocks illuminates the path.”    DR. BILL THOMAS, founder of Changing Aging


“This Chair Rocks is radical, exuberant, and full of all sorts of facts that erase many of the myths and beliefs about late life.  As Applewhite defines and describes ageism, new ways of seeing and being in the world emerge, empowering everyone to see things as they  really are.”     LAURIE ANDERSON, artist


“A knowledgeable, straight-talking, and witty book that briskly explains to anyone how-wrong-we-are-about-aging. There’s radical news here to enlighten the most ‘done’ starlet, and
tart turns of phrase to captivate the most expert age critic: ‘All aging is “successful”—not  just the sporty version—otherwise you’re dead.’ This pithy primer ought  ideally to be given to every American adolescent—to inoculate them  against the lies and stereotypes that can spoil the long life course  they will all want.” Margaret Morganroth Gullette, author of Aged by Culture and the prize-winning Agewise and Declining to Decline


“A smart and stirring call to add ageism to the list of ‘isms’ that divide us, and to mobilize against it. Applewhite shows how ageism distorts our view of old age, and urges us to challenge age- based prejudices in ourselves and in society. An important wake-up call for  any baby boomer who’s apprehensive about growing old.”   Pepper Schwartz, Professor of Sociology, University of Washington and AARP’s Official Love & Relationship Ambassador


“Finally, a take-down of the last acceptable prejudice. Applewhite  eloquently and expertly exposes the structural discrimination that makes  growing older so much harder than it should be—not just for the white,  affluent, healthy, and able-bodied, but for women, people of color,  people with disabilities, and poor people. Full of treasures, This Chair Rocks should be required reading for everyone in aging services, to help us confront ageism in our personal and professional lives and join forces against it. As Applewhite writes, ‘It’s time for Age Pride.’”    Donna Corrado, Commissioner, NYC Department for the Aging


“An eloquent and well-researched exposé of the prejudice that feeds age bias, and a passionate argument to mobilize against it. This must-read book is also a fun-read for every age.”   Stephanie Coontz, author, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap


“To live agefully – what a wonderful word! With warmth, wit and  clarity, Ashton Applewhite explains what it means, while never falling  into age-denial or age-shame. This is a book packed with provocative and  liberating ideas, to make you leap into the air with pleasure – even if  your knees, like mine, are a little dodgy.”       Anne Karpf, author of How to Age

Click HERE to register for the online study About Ashton Applewhite

“Smart, sassy and oh so wise.”   AARP


“Ashton Applewhite is a visionary whose time has come, tackling one of the most persistent biases of our day with originality, verve, and   humor. Her magic formula of naming and shaming may just shake all of us   out of complacency and it into action. Whether you relate through being older now or recognize that aging is in your future, this is one of the most important books you’ll ever read.”   Marc Freedman, CEO of Encore.org and author of The Big Shift: Navigating the New Life Stage Before Midlife

Click HERE to register for the online study



*Materials and reviews adapted from www.thischairrocks.com

The Ithaca College Gerontology Institute Page on this event can be found at: https://www.ithaca.edu/gerontology/speakerseries/applewhite/this_chair_rocks/

Making Peace with the Past

Please join me for this workshop!!

Making Peace with the Past:

The Impact of Emotional Trauma on Elder Well-Being

(and the Importance of Trauma-Informed Care!)

Wednesday, March 9

2:00-4:30 p.m.

The Ithaca College Gerontology Institute

at the Country Inn & Suites

1100 Danby Road (Route 96B), Ithaca, NY.



Early trauma is associated with increased incidence of chronic illness and depression in Elderhood, a time when Elders seek meaning in their lives and to resolve long-standing issues.


This session explores how person-directed, trauma-informed treatments can be used with Elders and care partners to integrate mind, body, and spirit, easing anxiety and depression and supporting The Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being™.  Case studies will emphasize efficacy as well as explore mental health issues as they present in different care settings, and how to harness the unique gifts of this developmental stage.


Please Register here:


and let your friends and colleagues know, too!!


Lisa Kendall is a social work psychotherapist and clinical gerontologist who has worked with Elders and care partners for over thirty years in home health care, adult day program, hospital, and nursing home settings. In her private therapy practice, she works with Elders, care partners, and others who live with chronic health and cognitive issues, and supports healing for survivors of trauma and loss.

Lisa is committed to using person-directed, trauma-informed therapies, including EMDR, and strength-based, person-directed approaches to maximize well-being for clients and their families. She also teaches the Fieldwork class for the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute, and serves on the Cornell University President’s Advisory Council on Work and Family Affairs.  

As an Educator and Mentor for The Eden Alternative, Lisa has a special interest in care of people living with dementia and in supporting well-being for the entire care partner team.

Do You Work with Elders? Early Registration Closes Soon!

The 8th Eden Alternative™ International Conference: “It’s About Time!”

May 3-4-5, 2016

Little Rock, Arkansas


This dynamic bi-annual event strives to inspire and renew the passion of those dedicated to changing the culture of care across all living environments. Through a unique learning framework, participants have the opportunity to deepen both perspective and skill base by exploring innovative approaches to person-directed care.

Learning and networking opportunities promote new ideas and standards of practice participants can apply to enhancing quality of life for Elders and their care partners, wherever they live and work.  A vital part of the conference experience is creating an opportunity to build a sense of community and shared learning among all participants. We are proud to be one of two major conferences that focus specifically on culture change. Come learn and grow with us!  It can be different…

Who should attend?

Previous Eden Alternative International Conferences have drawn attendees from all over the world. We welcome those new to culture change and those on the journey with extensive experience and expertise. We  emphasize the value of every voice in this important work.

Individuals from across the full continuum of care join us in the spirit of shared learning and discovery, including certified nursing assistants, administrators, licensed nurses, corporate leadership, therapists, activity professionals, social workers, physicians, dietary professionals, home care/home health professionals and other direct care providers, care managers, Elders and others accepting support, family members and advocates, youth, ombudsmen, policymakers, regulators, consultants, clergy, educators, researchers, and designers.

I hope to see you there!



Complete information is available at: http://www.edenalt.org/events-and-offerings/the-eden-alternative-international-conference/

Many thanks and take care, Lisa K.

P.S. I will be joining with some amazing colleagues to facilitate a Leadership Intensive on “Navigating the Hero’s Journey: A Map for Wise Leadership in Culture Change”

Steve LeMoine, NHA, MBA; Mel Coppola, Lisa Kendall, LCSW-R, CSW-G; Mary Kim Smith, NHA, RN; Carole Ware-McKenzie, BS; Kim McRae, FCTA

What does it mean to be a leader in the culture change movement?  How can we continue to grow personally, facilitate transformation in our workplace and community, and ultimately change the world?  Join us as we use the tools and apply the lessons of “The Hero’s Journey,” (based on the work of Joseph Campbell), to navigate our unique path and facilitate growth in our organizations.

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify 2 approaches for defining one’s a  personal leadership style;
  • Define two situations where more than one leadership style might be employed to effect change and growth; and
  • Name 2 techniques for recognizing leadership potential in others.

AND a break-out session on “Making Peace with the Past: The Impact of Emotional Trauma on Elder Well-Being and the Importance of Trauma-Informed Care”

Early trauma is associated with increased incidence of chronic illness and depression in Elderhood, a time when Elders seek meaning in their lives and to resolve long-standing issues.  This session explores how person-directed, trauma-informed treatments can be used with Elders and their care partners to integrate mind, body, and spirit, easing anxiety and depression and supporting the Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being™.  Case studies will emphasize efficacy as well as explore mental health issues as they present in different care settings, and how to harness the unique gifts of this developmental stage.

Participants will be able to:

  • List three benefits of resolving painful memories during Elderhood;
  • Detail 5 treatment strategies that support person-directed care; and
  • Utilize “The Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being™” to understand and assess the impact of unresolved trauma.

(Now you REALLY want to come!!!!)


P.P.S. I grabbed the conference description from The Eden Alternative homepage.  Be as BOLD as I and check it out HERE!

The Real Mrs. Santa Claus

Every Christmas eve, when I was growing up, it was my Mother’s tradition to go out for a little while during the day. She said she was “visiting Mrs. Santa Claus.”


Photo by paulapaulac via Flickr

This seemed like such a wonderful thing for a mom to do, and I imagined her and Mrs. Claus sitting in Mrs. C’s cozy kitchen, sweet with the aroma of cloves, oranges, and pine, sharing a pot of hot tea and warm cookies.

It was only after I became a mother myself that I learned about the secret arrangement between my Mom and Mrs. Claus: every year on December 24th, my mother went to see her own mother for a little while.

I am the oldest of four sisters, and we are close in age. My mother worked very hard as a nurse and to hold our household together, and this must have been the only time that she and her mother, my Grandma Belles, were able to enjoy some quiet time, with just the two of them.

My fantasy, as it turns out, was probably pretty close. I loved my Grandma’s kitchen, and she was a wonderful baker and cook. She was a round and sturdy Pennsylvania Dutch woman, who sewed and kept house with my Grandfather.  She was quiet, but had a ready chuckle.

Their Christmas tree was a small one, decorated with red cardinals and set with the few fine and practical gifts they gave one another each year; a new pair of leather gloves, a scarf, some candy. The tree stood on a table near the stone fireplace my Grandfather had built himself, in the Cape Cod-style house they had built together.

My Grandmother died in 2010, and I feel very blessed to be able to see my Mom on Christmas Day. In my heart of hearts, though, I wish I could take a few hours today to visit with Mrs. Claus, and to have my own daughter visit with me as I grow into the mysterious role of the nurturing and plump and wise woman who stands so quietly behind the Spirit of Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you all, and may you have a Joyful, Peace-filled New Year!

Gratitude and Meaning: What’s Important to You and Your Elders?

What gives your life meaning? Do you know what is meaningful to the Elders in your life? This is a wonderful question to ask at the upcoming Thanksgiving Day table! Do so with an open heart, really listening to the answers and withholding judgment. Remember that “Meaning” is unique to each of us, and may change over time. Read the rest of this entry »

Connectedness and Well-Being for Elders

Welcome to the sixth installment in a series of blog posts on The Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being(TM). Read more about these domains by clicking HERE!


From the time we are born, we need to feel connected to other people.

Babies who don’t have a sense of connection to their caregivers can suffer from neurological changes that impede their growth, development, and health over the course of their lifetime, and they may even die from “failure to thrive.”

In this brief video, Dr. Edward Tronick shows how distressing “disconnection” is:


The truth is, we survive as individuals, families, communities, and as a species because of the myriad ways we support, connect, and cooperate with one another.

The mythical ideal of “independence” that prevails in the west leads us to shun or shame those who appear to be “dependent.” Ageism and able-ism keep us from seeing the reality of “interdependence” that underlies human existence.

We also tend to crave connection with places, things, and ideas. We cherish “home,” and we treasure objects that represent our various connections. We hold close our philosophies, religions, and world views that we feel connect us with others, with nature, and with the universe.

Who or what satisfies your own need for connection? Does the care you give to others interfere with, or enhance, your sense of connection? What about the Elder in your life… is there a sense of genuine connection to people, places, and things at this time in their life?

Please share your thoughts, and connect with our community!


Lisa Kendall supports well-being in her work with Elders and their family members, as well as with professional care partners.  She is an Educator and Mentor for The Eden Alternative, and has a private counseling and consulting practice in Ithaca, NY.

You can reach Lisa at (607) 351-1313, or via email at crossroadscounseling@hotmail.com

How do you define “Well-Being” for Elders and Caregivers?

What does "well-being" mean to you? We often equate well-being with health, strength, and the vigor of youth. When these fade, whether through illness, injury, or advancing age, society sees us (and we may see ourselves) as unable to truly have well-being. Read the rest of this entry »

The Wisdom of Elderhood; Fact or Fiction?

There is a common cultural ideal that the older one gets, the wiser one grows.  Perhaps that is why we say “there’s no fool like an old fool” — by the time you’ve reached a certain age, you’re supposed to know better.

But is it true that with age comes experience, knowledge, and wisdom worth sharing?

Dr. Karl Pillemer, a professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, and Professor of Gerontology in Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College, has been applying scientific research to this question and the results can be found at “The Legacy Project: Lessons for Living from the Wisest Americans.”

The practical advice that Dr. Pillemer and his team collected from over 1500 Elders aged 70 and over is reported on the Legacy Project website, and will be published in a book to be released this fall.  It confirms the idea that Elderhood is a time of continuing growth, and that Elders have much to share with us if we will take the time to listen.


Photo by Doug Belshaw via Flickr

Please visit the Legacy Project site by clicking HERE to learn more, to make your own contribution, and to browse through the lessons learned on a variety of life issues. 

As Dr. Pillemer says, the Wisdom gathered includes gems on “how to be happy on a day-to-day basis, the secrets to a successful marriage, tips on raising children, ways to have a fulfilling career, strategies for dealing with illness and loss, and how to grow old fearlessly and well.” 

I don’t know the average age of the Elders who shared the advice learned over a lifetime, but if the average was 80 years, and there are 1500 contributors, that’s 120,000 years of Wisdom from which we all can benefit!

Here’s an ever better idea — Why not visit an Elder today and ask them how they’ve coped with life’s challenges, what they wish they could do differently, what their secrets to happiness are?  

Make that phone call you’ve been putting off – your favorite Aunt is waiting to hear from you, and to share her Wisdom! 

Many thanks to Dr. Karl Pillemer and his research team for taking a strength-based approach to Elderhood, and for sharing these results in such a generous way.  


Lisa Kendall is a clinical social work psychotherapist and clinical gerontologist in Ithaca, NY.  She is an Eden at Home Educator with The Eden Alternative, serves on the President’s Council for Family Life at Cornell University, and is teaching the Gerontology Fieldwork seminar for Ithaca College this fall.

Eden at Home Certified Trainer Workshop coming to Syracuse!

I'm on the road again!! It is my GREAT pleasure to be able to announce an upcoming Eden at Home Certified Trainer workshop. Please join us for three days of learning and sharing and fun... Don't miss the opportunity to change the culture of care for Elders and care partners in your organization, faith community, community at large, your agency, and your world! It CAN be different... Please be sure to join us! Read the rest of this entry »
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