Toward a Poetics of Aging: A Different Understanding of Life

Presenter: Nader Shabahangi, PhD, Founder and CEO of AgeSong

Date: Thursday, June 28

Location: Moscone Center, San Francisco

Time: 2:30pm–3:30pm

As a culture and people we are ready to move beyond the nonsensical notion that the later and last years are declining years – years that are supposedly less valuable than those before. Too often, the “decline-metaphor” has permeated our culture; often visible to us, at other times entering our awareness in more subtle ways.

Dr. Nader Shabahangi offers a new, more complex and rich understanding of life and aging – a radical departure from the dominant paradigm that life is “fulfilled” the prime of life, at the highpoint of a career, or at the peak of one’s power. The Poetics of Aging recognizes that the poem called “life’s poem” finds its final stanza, its completion, only at the very end of life. Aging understood as such is an active process of becoming, learning and growing. We do not get old but grow old. Eldership is the apex of a lifetime of learning and experiencing, of struggle and concern, of being courageous and creative.

This fascinating session will move beyond the superficial, surface layers of what we perceive of “older consumers,” offering a more comprehensive view of aging and refreshing, new perspectives on community development and operations.


Founder of Pacific Institute and AgeSong Institute. Co-Founder of AgeSong Senior Communities. Co-Founder of Elders Academy Press. Licensed psychotherapist and noted author. Guest lecturer at international conferences focusing on aging, counseling, and dementia.

Nader received his doctorate from Stanford University and is a licensed psychotherapist. His multicultural background has made him an advocate for different marginalized groups of society throughout his adult life.In the 1980′s he worked with abused children and teenagers and led anticipatory bereavement groups for Coming Home Hospice. In 1992 he founded the non-profit organization Pacific Institute with the purpose of training psychotherapists in a multicultural, humanistic approach to counseling and to provide affordable therapy services to the many diverse groups living in San Francisco. In 1994, noticing the often inhumane treatment of the elderly living in institutions, he started to develop an innovative Gerontological Wellness Program in order to provide emotional support and mental health care services for the elderly. In 1997, together with his two brothers, Nader opened a residential care home for the elderly in San Francisco called Hayes Valley Care, where he could along with the Pacific institute Internship team implement the Gerontological Wellness Program.

Nader continues to create programs with the purpose of caring more comprehensively for the elderly. In 2002 he helped found Pacific Institute Europe in Warsaw, Poland, in order to bring gerontological and comprehensive care services to the European continent. He was also inspired to explore new ideas for community living and began design of a ‘village’ concept for older adults he calls ‘Elders Academy’. In 2003 he co-founded Elders Academy Press, a publishing program of Pacific Institute and Pacific Institute Europe, specifically dedicated to promoting writings of and for elders. At the same time Nader also began a program of conflict resolution between Russians, Germans and Poles. Last year – combining his passion for the elderly with his love for photography and philosophy – Nader wrote Faces of Aging as a tribute and celebration of being an elder. He continues this exploration through teaching ‘eldership’ workshops in Europe. These meetings explore the difference between getting ‘old’ and growing into the role of an elder and have the purpose of preparing us for old age and eldership. He continues his work by training interns and supervisors in a humanistic-existential approach to psychotherapy and living.

AgeSong Retirement Communities:
 Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove • Oakland-Lake Merritt • Oakland-Lakeside Park • Emeryville-Bayside Park • Castro Valley-OakCreek

AgeSong Senior Communities | 432 Ivy Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 | 877-AgeSong (877-243-7664) | License # 385600373, 385600372, 015601384
Equal Housing Opportunity All content © © 2009-2012 AgeSong Senior Communities. All rights reserved.

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