The year 2013 marked the advent of the ASA Leadership Institute, which combined the best of ASA’s New Ventures in Leadership and Leadership Academy programs to address the need for culturally competent leadership and bold new leaders in the field of aging.
Sheena M. Jaffer is a graduate of ASA’s Leadership Academy, now the ASA Leadership Institute, and is an Advocate For The Optimum Quality of Life for the Aging in Arlington, VA.
In this series profiling ASA leadership program alumni, ASA's AgeBlog asked Sheena a few questions about her interests, goals and the roles that mentorship has played in her career development.
Here’s what she said:
In decades past, parents stretched to pay for their students’ college tuition and expenses for four years, and then the check writing stopped. But today’s lengthened road to adulthood and challenging economic realities are pressuring the Bank of Mom and Dad to stay open much longer. For emerging adults in the 21st century, becoming financially independent, like finding lasting love, solid employment and a permanent separate address, is taking much of their 20s to accomplish.
Popular lore has it that to age successfully, retirees should stay busy (what David Ekerdt calls the “busy ethic,” in an article from The Gerontologist [26:3, 1986]), remaining engaged in active leisure such as sports or hobbies, participating in productive activities like volunteering or even continuing to work. Typically not part of this agenda are caregiving responsibilities.
People of the Baby Boom Generation (1946 to 1964) were born to be wild and their retirement promises to be even wilder when compared to their parents’ generation. Gone are the halcyon days of the so-called gold watch retirement that was ushered in with an office party, followed by a life of full-time leisure and, ironically, never having to set the alarm clock again.
Caregiving for an elderly, frail person is an intimate experience, a loving act—a gem of human kindness. In this country, the greatest numbers of these caregivers are volunteers, usually family members and friends, but for LGBT elders and their caregivers, there is a noticeable twist to the experience.
We’ve chosen to highlight several facets of this experience through the following posts.