A self-proclaimed “emerging Elder”, Mel’s passion for the past eleven plus years has been to elevate the status of Elderhood in our society. One of the ways she does this is by raising awareness of ageism and ableism.
During her years as a care partner for several family members, including her mom—a fabulous, strong-willed woman who lived with mental illness—Mel experienced first-hand how people were often treated differently due to the stigma of age or mental health. She didn’t understand just how wrong this was due to her own internalized ageism and ableism. It was through her work in home care that Mel became exposed to an organization with a different outlook on aging and support for people of all ages and abilities—The Eden Alternative. They helped her to understand the stigma and “othering” that happens when people are seen as a stereotype rather than a unique individual. She soon became a Certified Educator and Mentor with The Eden Alternative and currently facilitates several of their offerings, both in person and online. Sharing and teaching this philosophy, which includes dismantling ageism and ableism, has become her life’s work.
Mel works with organizations along the spectrum of aging care services to help transform their culture of care from a medical/institutional model to a more person-directed approach. She has presented at national and international aging conferences, on local radio shows, and in webinars; she has written articles, blogs and workshops. Mel earned a Certificate in Gerontology through St. Pete College. It doesn’t matter the audience, the message Mel brings is that growing old is not a medical condition—it’s a natural part of life.
If Mel’s passion for ending ageism and ableism speaks to you, let her develop something for your conference or organization. Some of Mel’s Ageism-focused presentations include:
- Rocking Aging, Not Rocking Chairs
- Ageism: Recognizing and Destroying the Weed Sabotaging Your Culture Change Journey
- I work in the Field of Aging, So of Course I’m Not Ageist! (Am I?)
- The Stigma of Being Other: Exploring the Prejudices of Aging and Care
- From Awareness to Advocacy: From Ageism to Age Pride
- Well-Being is a Rainbow Flag: Putting Well-Being Back into the Lives of LGBT Elders
- Aging Intentionally: How Words Can Change Our Perceptions
- Aging With Purpose