Local elders provide wisdom worldwide The Elder Wisdom Circle brings wisdom to a generation in need of advice. This weekly activity started about two years ago at Atria Heritage Senior Living Community in Indianapolis, where residents ranging from 79 to 96 years of age share life lessons with people seeking advice — worldwide — through e-mail. Participants in the weekly Elder Wisdom Circle share advice. The founder of the now 4-year-old Elder Wisdom Circle is Doug Meckelson, who stressed in a press release that this is an opportunity for a new generation to take advantage of thousands of years of wisdom. Atria Heritage Senior Living Community has over 100 communities in 28 different states.
Dana Criss, an activities director, said she used the service before she was employed by Atria Heritage Senior Living Community and thought it would be a great activity for her residents.
“It’s a great resource for real wisdom,” Criss said. “I used to use the service for advice and thought it would be a good activity for them.”
Every week Criss searches through the e-mails sent by advice seekers and prints off three e-mails to read to the 12-member group.
“We have an exercise before the Circle discusses the e-mails, which helps to get their brains moving,” Criss said.
Criss reads the particular e-mail out loud to the group then everyone takes their turn at expressing opinions or personal stories. As the group members speak, Criss writes, recording as much spoken wisdom on the particular subject as possible.
Peal Mayes, who is 81 years old and the most veteran member of the group, said she looks forward to Elder Wisdom Circle: “I think we are making a difference in the world.”
Thelma Brown, a 77-year-old member, said she likes being able to express herself. “It makes me feel good to express my opinions to people who want to hear my opinion.”
Lucille Risk, an 89-year-old member, said the group’s morals are different from today’s generation. “I don’t know if our values are making a difference because our morals are different,” Risk said. “I’m hoping our answers are making a difference, I’m hoping and praying.”
A majority of the questions are relationship-oriented; the group collectively has a goal of keeping marriages together and seeing less divorce.
“This advice is so grounded and straightforward,” Criss said. “They are not as conservative as most would think and their answers are not always what writers want to hear, but it is their advice.”
For more information about Elder Wisdom Circle visit www.atriaseniorliving.com.