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ELDERHOSTEL GETS A MAKEOVER: Faced with sagging numbers and a financial shortfall of $9 million in 2008, this venerable U.S. educational travel organization is remaking itself. Elderhostel was established in 1975 to serve needs of adults 60 and over. Today the average age of travelers is more than 70 years.

As a result, Elderhostel has shed its name to become Exploritas, a word that combines “explore” and “veritas,” which is Latin for truth. Furthermore, it now welcomes learners 21 or older. In addition, Exploritas is using social networking to help travelers better connect before and after trips.


NURSING HOME, NOT THE ONLY OPTION: Two years ago, when Walter Brown, 72, suffered a stroke, he felt his only option was the nursing home. Now he shares a two-bedroom apartment in public housing with his daughter. He couldn’t be happier. As he told John Leland of The New York Times: “In the nursing home I got up at 5 o’clock in the morning, then the rest of the day was just watching the TV or my VCR. I wanted to be able to get out and see people, see the world. I didn’t want to be confined. Now I go where I want to go.”

Brown got help from a new program called Money Follows the Person. Financed largely by $1.75 billion from Medicaid, the program is designed to help older persons move from nursing facilities into a home of their own. Each participating state designs its own program. The Pennsylvania program provides up to $4,000 in moving expenses, which includes a furniture allowance and modifications to the apartment. Brown has a home health aide every morning, and a care manager to arrange for services like physical therapy. Source:


PUT A LITTLE DRAMA IN YOUR LIFE: There’s nothing like a little drama to liven up a winter’s evening. For the past two decades, Act 11 Studio at Ryerson University in Toronto has given adults over 50 a place to grow and bond.

It started out in 1988 with one class, says artistic director, Vernie Ivonoffski. Today, Act 11 Studio offers more than 50 courses, ranging from improv to making costumes and stage management. The program has 150 members, ranging in age from early 50s to late 80s.

“Now I just hope when I’m in my 80s, I can still be here,” says Judy Malkin, a former computer consultant working on a 30-second comedy skit at Act 11 Studio. Source:


STANDING UP FOR OUR CHILDREN: The Copenhagen climate-change negotiations are just weeks away. Many people around the world are pressuring their leaders to step up to the plate and hammer out a meaningful set of practical programs to reduce emissions on a large scale. This means we must change the way we live, as individuals and communities. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin reminds us, “The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason to hope.”

Would you like to keep up with developments on the road to Copenhagen? Check out this handy resource.