On January 24, MPBN journalist, Patty Wight featured a story on Maine Things Considered on The Atrium’s group of 90+ year olds. The Nine Decades Group shared their various perspectives at this stage of their lives. The audio is available here, and below is a piece we shared when the group was first formed.
On the first Monday of each month at The Atrium, a select group of members meet. The only requirement for admission? Living on this earth for at least ninety years.
What’s so different about being ninety? If you ask nonagenarians, they may explain that life changed for them when they hit this milestone. Many of the responsibilities of estate and life planning are behind them and they can focus on new priorities and interests. Celebrating Nine Decades is an opportunity to process and share their ideas, goals and bucket lists. Members find renewed meaning in their lives and reflect on the significant experiences and individuals influencing them.
More people are reaching their ninth decade than ever before. According to the U.S. National Institute on Aging, those living to 90 and beyond are the fastest growing group of seniors in our country. The number of nonagenarians has nearly tripled – from 720,000 in 1980 to 1.9 million in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Oliver Sacks, Professor of Neurology at NYU School of Medicine, speaks to aging and reaching this milestone rather well in this excerpt from a NYT article:
“My father, who lived to 94, felt as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective. … One has had a long experience of life, not only one’s own life, but others’, too. One has seen triumphs and tragedies, booms and busts, revolutions and wars, great achievements and deep ambiguities, too. One has seen grand theories rise, only to be toppled by stubborn facts. One is more conscious of transience and, perhaps, of beauty.”
“I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.” (NYT July 6, 2013)
At The Atrium at The Cedars, the Nine-Decades group meets monthly and is a continuously evolving forum of ideas and thoughts. If you’d like more information about independent living at The Cedars, contact Angie D’Amours at 207-221-7100.