Monday, June 1, 2009

How an AARP Mailing Sparked the Idea of Ageless Dreamer

Besides bringing fabulous information from talented nonprofit leaders and advisors, I envisioned this blog as also highlighting deserving nonprofits. Laurie Widmark of Ageless Dreamer sent me an email and I visited her website. What I saw wowed me! The stories of the people who Ageless Dreamer has reached out to and made their dreams possible is amazing. It is also a reminder that our elders don't just shut down on reaching a magical number, but continue to have hopes and aspirations just like their younger counterparts. Read this article, then go to Ageless Dreamer and become inspired. Bunnie

How an AARP Mailing Sparked the Idea of the Ageless Dreamer

by Laurie Widmark, Founder and Volunteer CEO

Late in 2000, I received a mailing from AARP – American Association of Retired Persons. Friends had joked about it earlier when they had received what was noted as the first piece of dreaded mail alerting you to the fact that you were about to cross a chasm where you had not yet been. The big 5 0.

Even though I didn’t feel or look any different, the message became clear: AARP had found me! I couldn’t identify with it and certainly wouldn’t acknowledge being a member of it. It was then that I knew there had to be another way to bridge from age 49 to 50 and beyond and feel confident there was still time to experience more energy, life, and dreams.

What now” Old Dreamer”?

As I pondered possibilities, I was keenly aware of my Dad’s words when I was in my twenties: “You’re a dreamer”. And it sure wasn’t meant as a compliment. In my forties, spending time with my women’s group, they would sometimes look at me with love and raised eyebrows, and laugh with me at my dreaming. I had many failed adventures before, why would they hold out any hope for this one?

Deep down inside I knew I was still a dreamer despite, or -- in spite of -- my age. A few years after loosing my youngest daughter to suicide at the young age of 23, I knew that there was nothing that could squelch my own dream except any fears I let fester.

After I received my 2nd invitation to join AARP, the name fell out of my mouth and into place, more out of self identification than selflessness: I was an Ageless Dreamer ®.

The Ageless Dreamer ® takes shape

Over the next few months, paying closer attention to how neighboring communities valued old age, I noticed, and was also guilty of the fact, that most of us drive past assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or senior public housing, and not even turn our head to look.

Partly, this “distancing” was based on our beliefs that the basic needs of our elders, from medicinal to food, for the most part, was being taken care of by senior providers, caregivers, those working in the medical field, and adult children.

But there had to be more. I started dreaming out loud to anyone who would listen: “How could we raise the level of awareness for the wisdom and knowledge of this generation?” How can we redefine the age old definition of old age ™?

The Ageless Dreamer ® is of the belief that just because someone is part of our oldest generation, it doesn’t mean that they don’t still dream. In essence we act as a catalyst to those caring for our oldest generation to remember to ask: Do you have a dream? And then listen closely. By asking, it’s almost as though we’ve given them permission to dream out loud with us and listen to the kernel of a dream be told.

We aim to get louder than the noise of: wheelchairs, walkers, hearing aids, life lines, doctor appointments, medical prescriptions, what’d you have for breakfast, and did you have a bowel movement today? Join in the movement of constipated dreams!

To learn more about this nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization, please visit the website at http://www.agelessdreamer/ or call (603)953.0006, or contact Laurie

One day at a time. One dream at a time.
Laurie Widmark, Founder


  1. My mom would love this. She's undergoing dual diagnosis treatment and will not go gently in that good night.

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