Interview with Bill Thomas – Something for the Youngins

It has been about one year since I started this blog and as expected, there is still SO MUCH more to share! Thank you to you readers out there who have following my site. I hope you have enjoyed www.aboutbeingold.com as much as I have!

Now this post may possibly be my last post for a few months as little baby Tom is ready to come into the world soon. Before I take a sabbatical, however, I wanted to squeeze in a special post where I got the opportunity to interview Bill Thomas. As I mentioned in my previous post, Bill Thomas is the author of the book Tribes of Eden among many other things. Google him, Wikipedia him and you’ll know he is one of the experts and pioneers in senior care. He’s a writer, physician (geriatrician), a professor at UMBC’s Erickson School of Aging and the list goes on.  Some of you may be following my site as a result of Thomas’ blogstream at www.changingaging.org. A big thank you for him and Kavan Peterson for the work they do there. You should definitely check it out!

In my interview with Bill Thomas, I really was interested in learning more about what Thomas’ life was like growing up. Since I had the chance to ask, I also wanted to gain some insight for those of us in our younger years.

Q: I know elders were a big part of your life growing up. What was that like and what did you learn from that? What were your favorite lessons that you learned from them? 

I grew up very close to my maternal grandparents, my great-grandmother (I can still remember the smell of her house) and my great aunt and uncle. This closeness offered daily proof that everyone had something to give, we could all depend on each other.

Q: If there was one thing you wish you knew in your 20’s and 30’s what would it be?

I wish I had known that someone in their 20’s and 30’s really has no idea what the future holds, what will make you happy, what you are really meant to do. That knowledge is hidden especially well during those years and you just have to do the best you can. That’s all that really matters.

Q: What were you doing in your 20’s/30’s? 

In my 20’s I was a VERY HARD WORKING student, college, student, medical student, intern, resident. My focus was on my work, my grades and my evaluations. I really missed the whole free-wheeling 20’s thing. In my 30’s I was practicing medicine, writing books, raising a family and running a farm. My first book came out when I was 33.

Q: What are some of the best reasons that younger people should consider careers working with the elderly population? 

This is the future. It is where the excitement is, it is where you can make a difference in people’s lives. All of us in the field of aging are actually changing the world and you can be part of that.

Q: What are some tangible things all younger people can do to help make our world more senior friendly? 

Be aware of ageism, you can be aware of it in yourself, in others, in the media and in our culture. Even better you can fight ageism, you can resist the pull of negative ideas about and behaviors toward older people. Ageism is bad for people of all ages and people of all ages can and should fight against it.

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One thought on “Interview with Bill Thomas – Something for the Youngins

  1. rosemary weston says:

    elders are certainly an untapped resource. i worked with preschool children and believe that is an important age to work with. that is when we develop the basis of our attitudes and outlooks about life and our way of relating to each other. i don't think we have been doing a very good job in either age group, but there certainly is hope! maybe if we get the two age groups together, that would help?

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