Below is an interview I conducted with a professional who has a passion for working with older adults.
What is your background?
I began my life crawling around the floors of a nursing home run by my Irish grandmother who was a nurse in Astoria, Oregon. This must have imprinted me for my life’s mission.
My Catholic upbringing taught me to come from a place of contribution in this life, so I too became a nurse. I worked my way through nursing school employed in a nursing home in Eugene, Oregon, then transferred to Linfield- Good-Samaritan School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1985, applied for a critical care internship, and was awarded a position as a graduate nurse.
I’ve invested over two decades in acute care nursing; trauma center, coronary care, ICU, and recently working part-time for the last five years in post-surgical recovery. I also was a YMCA Cardiac Therapy volunteer in Portland for 10 years, helping people with heart conditions return to health through prescriptive exercise. This was my most positive nursing experience.
Along the way, I’ve earned a graduate certificate in Gerontology and a Master’s degree in Adult Education from Portland State University–as well as a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Social Gerontology from Fielding University.
I enjoy speaking to business and civic groups on issues re successful aging, aging, and creativity, and aging in place. My volunteerism focuses on Portland Marathon, Meals-on-Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Central Oregon: Ramp-a-Thon, Relay for Life, and helping seniors in my community.
Why did you create the website; Aging in Place?
I created the website as a concept in the late 1990’s; I was studying environmental gerontology and the term “aging in place” was showing up in all the literature. I knew that someday soon this would be a MEGA trend. It has been said that if you want a BIG opportunity–find a BIG problem; aging in place was both! I knew this would be my life’s work after ICU nursing. And it has become a Magnificent Obsession. Home is fundamental to who we are; home-as-self, if you will. I saw first-hand what institutional settings did to the soul; the mind-numbing routines that are essential in places where efficiency is required and accommodation of individual rhythms and needs can’t co-exist. I wanted to do what I could to keep people in their homes.
What is your mission?
The best definition of “healing” I’ve ever heard is: Healing is evoking the will to live in others. The home environment does that…To keep people home by choice; that’s my mission.
Why is a focus on aging and older adults important to you?
My focus on aging and older adults is important to me because as Stephen Covey once said: “What’s most personal is most universal–and most important (paraphrase)…If we are lucky, we will all age, it’s not guaranteed to anyone” God willing, I wanted to help create a more fulfilling future to grow old in. You might call it enlightened self-interest.
Aging in Place.com website is pretty impressive and covers a wide array of services, products, and information. Aging in place tips, resources, design trends, products to assist older adults for the ADL’s, along with a newsletter, and blog.
Aginginplace.com is a friendly, easy to use website dedicated to providing relevant information about the mega-trend of keeping baby boomers and older adults in their homes as they age; the term used worldwide for this is “aging in place.” When visiting the website you will find out the What, Why, and How.
What: We answer the question; “What is aging in place?” by defining, explaining, and giving you the key ingredients.
Why: We provide insights on why aging in place is important for successful aging by giving both the emotional and practical reasons.
How: We give concrete information on the how-to of home modification and where to find help if needed.
Our blog is focused on entertaining and delighting you while keeping you informed on topics about aging in place and successful aging.
A special thank you to Patrick for agreeing to the interview and keep up the good work that you do!
By Victoria Brewster, MSW