At some point in our lives we are all forced to face what happens to us as we age. We all know the ultimate end of that path but the trail we take to get to it has many twists and turns that can make the journey either jagged or smooth. Our Quaker meetings have all come under the weight of aging, some feeling the pressure more directly than others. But it's safe to say that many of our older Friends have simply taken a path away from their home Meetings never to be heard from again. We miss our older Friends, their contributions and their wisdom, when they stop being involved in the daily and spiritual life of our meetings. So aging concerns is both a personal and community issue.
There are a number of us in Concord Quarter who have come together recently to bring this issue before our community. The Concord Quarter Working Group on Aging Concerns was officially recognized in a minute at our Quarterly Meeting in July 2017. We will be organizing events over the next few years to bring this issue before Friends. One of the important ways we wish to do this is by developing a team of Friends in the Quarter who would be trained as Aging Concerns Facilitators for members and attenders in their Meetings.
The training will be hosted by the Quarter and led by Callie Janoff, ARCH staff person of New York Yearly Meeting, and George Schaefer, Aging and Care Coordinator of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. It will be conducted on the weekend of April 13-15, 2018. The purpose of the training is to give participants the tools to make them viable knowledge sources and helpers for older members who wish to remain connected to their Meetings. The training will be based upon the ARCH (Aging Resources Consultation and Help) Program that has been running successfully in New York Yearly Meeting since 2008. Below are some of the topics that may be covered in the training:
Developmental Issues of the Last Part of Life
Spiritual Gifts of Aging
Home Visit Checklist
Working With Families
Caregivers and Care Giving
On Being a Person with a Disability
Experiences of Illness, Death and Grief
Housing Issues and Hoarding
What is an Aging Concerns Facilitator?
Are you interested in helping your Meeting community assist its aging members in remaining active members and keeping them connected? Do you have a concern strong enough to provide your Meeting with assistance in this area? As you can see this is not a light commitment but neither is it intended to make you a full time social worker. What you will get out of the training is a raised awareness of aging concerns as well as a way towards interacting with your aging members and attenders so that you can point folks in an appropriate direction when help is needed. If you are interested in participating in such a training please visit the following web page and fill out the questionnaire. Register by February 9 to be given preference as a Concord Quarter member.