Focus: senior Web design

Pacific Coast, Northern New South Wales, AU

It's time to look outside the sandbox and see what's going on out there. What I'm seeing is a shitload of Boomers who are intelligent, capable, tech savvy, and eloquent, presenting needs that must be addressed to ensure that the combined interstellar experienced body of knowledge of this generation can continue to benefit society rather than totally screw it up.

To do this, we need to accomodate our elder thinkers right from the start--design. The body of knowledge must be required research to acquaint our youth with designing across the spectrum. We're doing pretty well with technical literacy for the 21-45 age group (anecdotal guesses, at best). We could do much better with education, but it's coming along. The groups that have the greatest need (IMHO) remain able to communicate electronically as long as they wish are Boomers. We're beginning to face some real and show-stopping aging crises.

HUGE untapped workforce for ideas and change. DESERVING of a loving country that respects and reveres its elders and helps them remain productive and happy to the end of their days. Am I so wrooooong?

What the hell more do you want? I'm convinced we have a whole new market in designing specifically across the continuum. I am seeing some great stuff posted by us elderbloggers, real life answers to consolidate energy and have some to spare. Dang! There's the good'uns, and then...we can't read a comment that could change someone's life. Or at least offer them the opportunity to promote the health of us all by raising critical questions and participating in free, open dialogue focused toward regenerating and preserving humanity.

A new kind of corporation. A positive-outcomes oriented collaboration honestly working toward improving every person's life on the planet. There's no excuse for the governments to devolve to primitive political posturing when we have enough brain power, and the means for linking it, to solve a whole buttload of some nagging, fear-based reversals in human evolution.

I may be dreaming, I may be full of shit, but this truth I know: I will die sitting (or lying) at my keyboard, and I will do my best to make sure my friends can all do the same, so we can talk about it and write about it. :)

So how about it? I know that I'm at the far left end of the learning curve of researching exactly what's going on out there in the techie part of the senior usability equation, because I haven't met many yet. I need to change that. I met a few Appollonian and Dionysian designers and writers at SXSWi s, whom I would have loved to have more time to engage in that dialogue. There are so many savvy people I admire and would love to chat with. If you ARE a techie interested in a dialogue about this subject, then shoot me a comment. Or if you care to write about it, just let me know where to find you.

That should work, shouldn't it?

Wow. That class really got my synapses firing. Just finished two days with Pat Schnee, who teaches an oral presentation class (among other things) and she totally inspired me. Now, I do not use that accolade lightly. I saw her mold passionate speakers, break negative self-tapes, and produce a lively, loving boot camp on how to be an authentic, effective, and engaging communicator in front of a dozen plus strangers. Professional development as guerilla theater. Dynamite stuff. Got me going, obviously.

Pat pegged me as a rambler in less than ten seconds (duh)! And she understood me totally. I have never seen a trainer so involved with her students that she can relate to every single Myers-Briggs type. Her secret? She cares. She has a priceless well of knowledge and understanding. She's good. Incendiary combination.

So my area of remediation is rambling, did ya guess??


Alcoholism: truly a family disease

I have so much to say and no legitimate place to say it. The blog must suffice. I received a call from my daughter who told me her alcoholic father is drinking again. Sounds benign, doesn't it? In reality it is a statement fraught with heartbreak, betrayal, loneliness, and a name for a family illness that is so deceptive, so powerful, that it has the audacity to ruin entire generations, crush the strongest psyche, break the most forgiving hearts.

How can others not see? The fume-laden breath, the slurred words, the stumbling physique...the signs add up to a sum that some don't recognize, some refuse to recognize, and some recognize, but are stunned with so much pain that they lose the power to objectively protect themselves, or communicate with...the rest of the world.

In her usual fashion, daughter goes through fire, retires, and takes one to three days to synthesize and take stock of the situation. Only then will she contact me, armed with a possible solution, hurt to the quick, but reaching out for some semblance of support.

I, removed from the situation by geography and time, am more able to support her actions, fortifying her decision to refuse any communication until the father takes control of his own life. I urge caution, attendance to that which makes offspring healthy and happy, no matter what the parental behavior manifests. Karma will resolve itself.

The ultimate enabler, now that the divorce is resolved in psyche as well as in fact, she is his most vital relationship, more important than new wife and children. The betrayal of parent to child, never appropriate, never positive, weighs heavily on the both of us. The final straw, "Don't tell B (the new wife)," reminds me of a series of "Don't tell this person that," as if by denying, it ceases to be true. Living a lie is one of the saddest and most toxic conditions of the human experience.

The ultimate heartbreak is that there is real love. The disease of alcoholism is so devastating that it blots out all reason, all care, all appropriateness. It becomes a recurring nightmare, feeding the disease and leaving a tale of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and stress-related illnesses behind it, more often felling the family rather than the alcoholic.

All I can rationally do is support daughter's plan of action. What I WANT to do is fly to Princeton, and protect my child in a flurry of accusations, threats, and words of sharpened stainless steel. Annihillate the cause. Put it out of it's misery, and the pain that it causes others for whom the afflicted declares love.

This is not a a viable option, for her sake or mine. Instead, I reach out to a sister who has suffered the same pain, the same anxiety that her child is being consistently devastated by a parent whom they love, but are continually hurt by. They deserve better. My maternal instincts and hormones are bigger than life. I could easily overwhelm the transgressor and annihilate him in a holy jihad.

But this is not to be. I cannot fix this. Daughter must find a way to survive the frailties of the parent on her own to be authentic and to survive. All I can do is offer love, support, and understanding. It breaks my heart.

Mommy blog, indeed. A far cry from diapers and teething and first day of school. But more visceral, more instinctual, more protective. From a force that I have no control over, nor does the father, or the daughter. My instincts are raging, yet I must find my own way of discharging feelings of helplessness, being out of control, outrage, knowing that decisions I make while in the white hot heat of insanity must be correct and appropriate for my daughter to survive.

Humans are capable of such a polar panoply of emotions, conditions, reactions, behaviors. Would that this particular illness could be cured with an anodyne, a prescription. It isn't. It's real, devastating, and too easily perpetuated.

Deep breaths. Reminders to oneself to let go, detach with love, and simply be. Deep breath. Deep breath.


AARP gets it right this time

AARP's article entitled "Blogosphere 101" gets it right about elder bloggers. In a 2005 article, they spotlight a list of Elder Bloggers.




Unfortunately, I lost a whole bunch of research information shuffling from my work to my home computer. Maybe because I haven't joined AARP.....?

The ten percent discount can be nice...

In My Language

An eloquent and articulate look inside the brain of an autistic young woman via a video she produced. This is a must see project. The sophistication is stunning, and the revelation life-changing. Watch this video. Your attitudes and values will benefit. It will change your life and the way you view disabilities. Do it. Now.

Baby boomers: yo, yo, yo, yo, yo!

Some interesting sites on boomers and technology. Gee, I have so many, maybe I should devote a section in the sidebar to this subject...

National Association of Baby Boomer Women