7 TED Talks for family caregivers and professionals in elder care.

As an aging society, our new found longevity has presented unique questions and challenges. What does it mean to be vulnerable? What do we believe about aging and how does that impact the way we talk about death? How will we respond to the epidemics of our time such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias?  How will we define what it means to age well?  

We are recommending these 7 TED Talks to elder care professionals, caregivers, and aging adults. From generation to generation, we have passed on good information through the telling of stories. Pull up a seat around this digital campfire and listen to a variety of voices shaping the way we think about aging and the future.   

1. Older People Are Happier by: Laura Carstensen

In the 20th century we added an unprecedented number of years to our lifespans, but is the quality of life as good? Surprisingly, yes! At TEDxWomen psychologist Laura Carstensen shows research that demonstrates that as people get older they become happier, more content, and have a more positive outlook on the world. (Filmed at TEDxWomen.)

2. Prepare for a Good End of Life by: Judy MacDonald Johnston

Thinking about death is frightening, but planning ahead is practical and leaves more room for peace of mind in our final days. In a solemn, thoughtful talk, Judy MacDonald Johnston shares 5 practices for planning for a good end of life.

3. Life’s Third Act by: Jane Fonda

Within this generation, an extra 30 years have been added to our life expectancy — and these years aren’t just a footnote or a pathology. In this talk, Jane Fonda asks how we can think about this new phase of our lives. (Filmed at TEDxWomen.)

4. How I’m Preparing to Get Alzheimer’s

When faced with a parent suffering from Alzheimer's, most of us respond with denial ("It won't happen to me") or extreme efforts at prevention. But global health expert and TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh sees it differently. She's taking three concrete steps to prepare for the moment — should it arrive — when she herself gets Alzheimer's disease.

5. The Power of Vulnerability by: Brene Brown

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

6. We Need a Heroic Narrative for Death by: Amanda Bennett

Amanda Bennett and her husband were passionate and full of life all throughout their lives together — and up until the final days, too. Bennett gives a sweet yet powerful talk on why, for the loved ones of the dying, having hope for a happy ending shouldn't warrant a diagnosis of "denial." She calls for a more heroic narrative for death — to match the ones we have in life.

7. Let’s Talk About Dying by: Peter Saul

We can’t control if we’ll die, but we can “occupy death,” in the words of Peter Saul, an emergency doctor. He asks us to think about the end of our lives — and to question against the modern model of slow, intubated death in hospital. Two big questions can you help start this tough conversation.


Published on August 20, 2014.