Seminar focuses on pushing back against discrimination over aging

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Ina Albert considers herself a “perennial” and she wishes more folks would too.

“I wish people would stand tall and not let anybody make them a victim of their own aging,” she said. “To stay the same and never grow is really sad.”

Albert, 82, has adopting calling herself a perennial based on an op-ed from the Washington Post by Laura Carstensen, a professor of psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. professor in public policy at Stanford University, who suggests doing away with the standard descriptions and adopting a term by Maureen Conners who uses the word “perennials” to refer to older people. “Perennials aren’t guaranteed to blossom year after year, but given proper conditions, good soil and nutrients, they can go on for decades,” Carstensen writes.

“I have seeds of wisdom to give to those that come behind me, but I’m still blooming greater and greater each year,” Albert says.

Ageism is a topic that Albert has spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing. She has been developing and leading seminars about growing older since 1999.

She says ageism comes from inside with the fear that some people have of getting older, but also from outside societal pressures that say it’s negative to age and be over 50.

“It doesn’t make sense,” she said. “It’s the longest stage of development and it keeps getting longer. There’s still so much to do, understand and accomplish and you can do that now without the burden of having to raise kids.”

To help others take on a new way of thinking about aging, Albert, certified Sage-ing International Leader, will be holding an experiential seminar weekend called “Unmasking the Face of Ageism” in Whitefish at the Bohemian Hall on Feb. 9, 10, 11.

The seminar will unveil the effects of ageism on language, communication styles, social mores, legal protections, employment practices, health care, family relationships, and more, she notes. Participants will explore, discuss and develop a new vision of growing older that strengthens individual and collective voices, expands creativity, shares dreams, legacies, intuitions and the powerful wisdom of our years.

Unmasking the Face of Ageism, is Albert’s latest experiential seminar weekend and is open to anyone interested in exploring the topic.

During the workshop, she’ll lead participants through the history of ageism and take a look at how it impacts people’s lives in a variety of ways.

“I want to give you a response when someone asks a demeaning question and doesn’t recognize you for who you are,” she said. “I want you to build a vision for yourself as you age.”

Sage-ing International is a nonprofit organization focused on helping individuals find purpose, passion and meaning in the second half of life. It is committed to transforming the current paradigm of aging to “sage-ing” through learning, community building and service, according to its website www.sage-ing.org.

“Unmasking the Face of Ageism” will be held Friday, Feb. 9 from 7-9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 10 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Bohemian Grange Hall off Highway 93 on Blanchard Lake Road in Whitefish behind Coffee Traders.

The fee for the full weekend seminar is $125 per person, or $110 if payment is received by Feb. 3. Checks are payable to Ina Albert and sent to 955 Northwoods Drive, Whitefish, MT 59937.

For questions, call 406 249-4642 or email Inaalbert@aol.com.

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