Faces of Aging

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Faces of Aging is a collection of essays and photographic images that address the challenge of aging in a society that is not sympathetic to older people. The result of this negativity deprives us all from interaction with a very valuable segment of the population.

Older people can provide us with experience, knowledge and affection if we change our attitude toward them and begin to see them as a resource rather than a liability. History and the humanistic tradition have shown us that when respected and valued, older citizens can continue to be productive and creative and can contribute to the quality of life.

Faces of Aging is a tribute to elders and is dedicated to removing the veil from the subject of aging. The book invites us to ask how we can remain conscious of the ways in which we impose our own fears of aging, of death, of the changes that invariably occur as we age, onto the elderly themselves: If we ask ourselves to face our own fears of aging and dying, maybe we can begin to understand how these fears express themselves in our work with and attitudes toward the elderly. How, in our interactions with the elderly, can we remain open to what they have to offer us, not only because they have more life experience than we do, but also because they are entrusted in our care? How does our contact with the elderly inform our awareness of our own inner elders? How is the whole topic of the elderly important to those of us in the younger generations?

Why do we age and what for? Of what are we afraid when we think about aging? How did it happen that we humans came to treat today’s elderly in such a disrespectful fashion? How would we like to be seen when we are old? This book is an invitation to look at aging and old age differently, to question our common cultural and personal assumptions about aging and old age. The writing, photos and poems presented will invite the reader to meet with the many images of aging and look anew for meaning in aging and old age, for the maturity and wisdom the Old Wise Guide, inside of us all, offers us.

About the Author

Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D., received his doctorate from Stanford University and is a licensed psychotherapist. His multicultural background has made him an advocate for different marginalized groups of society throughout his adult life. In the 1980’s he worked with abused children and teenagers and led anticipatory bereavement groups for Coming Home Hospice. In 1992 he founded the non-profit organization Pacific Institute with the purpose of training psychotherapists in a multicultural, humanistic approach to counseling and to provide affordable therapy services to the many diverse groups living in San Francisco.