Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Hindsight, Humor, and Hope: An Adult Program

Activity 2: The Good and Bad of Being Older

Activity time: 20 minutes


What comes to mind when you think of aging? Most likely there are some negative things.

Invite the group to brainstorm a list of negative aspects of aging. Pace the brainstorm slowly so there is time for agreement, laughter, sadness, wistfulness, and other responses. Record the list on the titled newsprint and post.

Then ask:

What comes to mind when you think of the positive images of aging?

Use the second titled newsprint to record their responses, again allowing for responses along the way, and post it beside the first. Ask for comments. Are they surprised by all the good things?

Share aloud "Definition of an Elder" by Debby and Barry Barkan. Tell participants that they will receive a printed copy at the end of the session:

An Elder is a person who is still growing, still a learner, still with potential and whose life continues to have within it promise for, and connections to the future.

An Elder is still in pursuit of happiness, joy and pleasure, and her or his birthright to these remains intact.

Moreover, an Elder is a person who deserves respect and honor and whose work it is to synthesize wisdom from long life experience and to formulate this into a legacy for future generations.

— Debby and Barry Barkan, Live Oak Institute, Berkeley, CA. This definition is copyrighted and used with permission.