Be prepared to embark on a journey that will challenge, perhaps shatter your previous conceptions about life in long-term care homes. When seen through the lens of Irene Borins Ash’s camera and expressed in the words of the residents themselves, it is a journey about aging and living. It is a journey about success in pursuing personal interests, remaining connected to personal values and relationships and sharing insights with others.
Irene Borins Ash M.S.W., R.S.W. is a social worker, photographer, speaker and author who helps people aged 50 and beyond develop a healthy attitude towards aging despite life’s difficulties.
Her first book was entitled "Treasured Legacies- Older & Still Great" Second Story Press, 2003. The book was about positive aging despite life’s difficulties. Out of the 44 seniors featured in the book- only one person was living in a long term care home. Ann Seaton said to her that “these were amongst some of the best years in her life.”
This thought lead to her writing her second book which is entitled "Aging Is Living- Myth Breaking Stories From Long Term Care" Dundurn Press. She worked with the Ontario Long Term Care Association on this project.
“Aging Is Living” is about people who have found meaning, purpose, hope and joy in life while living in a long term care home. They are not just waiting to die- they are very much connected to life despite numerous challenges. Hopefully the book will help take away some of the fear that people have about spending the latter part of their life in a nursing home.
So much of the media coverage that long term care homes receive is negative but as a social worker who has worked in the different levels of care she was a likely person to tell the other side of the story.
People in nursing homes are invisible and forgotten- generally the public is not particularly interested in those who are in facilities. Irene feels that this is because people do not want to think about the end of life but there may be time from when the person enters the long term care home until the end of their life.
Irene feels that “Aging Is Living” is timely and an important piece of work as the baby boomers are the next generation of elders and many of the boomers are caring for aging parents while being very involved in caring for their children and grandchildren too. Hopefully the book will help her generation, her parent’s generation and social work and gerontology students as well.
Staying at home when care needs are round the clock and a person is housebound creates social isolation which is bad for your physical and mental health. “Aging Is Living” illustrates how people in nursing homes can thrive because their care needs are provided for, along with being offered a variety of social programs. The family of the resident can also be released from “survival mode” to mend relationships and enjoy each other’s company.
The people in my book share numerous ideas about the benefits of aging- and so much more. They are approaching the end of their life with great courage, dignity and integrity.
Her web site is www.ireneborinsash.com