Inform&Connect: The Sunset Years

By Linda Jackson
AAI Program Director

At AAI’s Inform&Connect Basic Resources Academy earlier this month, I was struck that registration was higher than ever. I had thought that after four years, we would have reached most of those working closest with older adults in Marin. But, as a couple of speakers shared with me, Inform&Connect has become part of their agencies’ new employee training! To the academy speakers from the faith, service, public, health, legal, and transportation sectors, congratulations! AAI’s innovative workshop for cross-training and resource sharing is now embedded into the onboarding of the next gen entering the employment sector of services for older adults. 

AAI will have one more Inform&Connect Academy this year, on Tuesday, November 12. Register now!

The focus will be on resources, internal and external, for people who are working with people in their last year(s) of life. As one of the Inform&Connect workgroup members puts it, this Inform&Connext is for those who are bedside with clients who are passing away. 

I am always filled with bittersweet sadness when I think of the moments I was bedside — when I sat with my mother just after she had died and told her how she couldn’t leave me…and when I walked with my uncle as he died while being moved from one hospital room to another. Ram Dass calls it “walking each other home.” As precious as it was to experience the birth of a child, so it was to witness the passing of my mother and her brother. But with a little one, it’s a long process of saying ‘hello!’ as your child grows up. It’s an entirely different process to say ‘good-bye’ to someone you’ve grown close to.

We have some unique sessions planned for our Sunset Years Academy on November 12. For the second year, we’ll participate in a Death Cafe conversation. Death Cafe is a program that, as the website says, “Increases awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.” Marin Interfaith Council will host a panel about spirituality and dying. Speakers will cover helpful legal logistics needed for every client, services available for people staying in their home as long as possible, and residential options for those who want or need to move. The Sunset Years Academy is both a personal and professional gathering about how you can more effectively help a client walk that path home. 

Our Inform&Connect academies are the result of a unique and powerful collaborative network. We value the expertise of people from other sectors working in the same field. New employees of all ages are hungry to meet up and connect with mentors. Long-time employees come to learn about new resources in the community. And people in different sectors are inspired by each other to find new ways to look at their work.

I’m excited to see the new faces in AAI’s Inform&Connect program. I invite you all to join us in advocacy and in AAI’s Convening next spring. Our voice will be stronger with the enthusiasm and energy of new people joining us. Welcome! 

~ Linda

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