Aging Well: The Power of Self-Expression

Aging Well: The Power of Self-Expression

Fred Stobaugh became an internet sensation overnight with his story being viewed far more than 1 million times on YouTube. After entering a song-writing competition, Green Shoe Studio was so touched by his submission that they decided to bring his song to life. Shortly after the passing of his wife of 75 years, Fred wrote a tribute song to his “Sweet Lorraine”. The video climaxes when Fred puts on the headphones and hears his song professionally sung and produced for the first time. Photos of the couple display to his heartfelt lyrics and it is difficult to keep a dry eye. Click the picture to hear Fred's song. 

So why are we so touched by this story of long love? Clearly Fred’s charming authenticity is a contributing factor, but what is most poignant about this piece to us is that a community took the time to honor the story of an aging adult and give him the platform to take a risk and express himself. One of the most pernicious stereotypes of old age is that aging adults are not seen as creators. They are associated with the old and past. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. As human beings we are meant to continually grow, create, and express ourselves.

When we think of creating an eldercare plan to age well our minds immediately go to the logistics of long-term care insurance, DPOA, healthcare costs, advance directives, home remodeling, etc. However, a plan for quality of life should always be a part of planning. Taking time to dream with your aging loved one and creating a vision of “the good life” as they age can be an important first step to shaping the life that they want.

Some questions that you might ask are:

  • What is something you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time for?
  • Where have you wanted to travel to or see, but never made the trip?
  • When was the last time that you were truly happy? What were you doing?
  • What relationships really nurture you, challenge you, and make me grow?
  • What books have you wanted to read, but haven’t gotten around to yet?
  • What are some of the things you’ve accomplished that you’re most proud of?
  • What does a good retirement look like?
  • What do you need/ want to have a good retirement?
  • What are your core values that you want to shape how you live out your retirement?
  • What do you want more of in your life?
  • How do you like to express yourself and tell your story? Is it through art, social clubs, political activity, writing?  
  • How will you connect with your community? 



Published on August 26, 2013.