Where does the name AgeSong Marin come from?
This program, the brainchild of Elizabeth Bugental, Ph.D., is named after her book AgeSong, Meditations for our Later Years. It is not related to the AgeSong Retirement Communities; this is a unique program in Marin County under the auspices of Family Service Agency of Marin.
Is AgeSong Marin a class, a therapy group, or a social group?
This is unlike any other class or group you’ve experienced. We offer a place to talk about the issues that really matter at this stage of life, sharing thoughts and feelings you rarely have the chance to explore elsewhere. The facilitators provide topics to stimulate interesting discussions.
What is the cost of an AgeSong Marin group?
The fee is $80.00 for the series of 8 sessions. Scholarships are available.
How are the groups formed?
The groups are formed on a first come first serve basis. You call; our intake coordinator returns your call and lets you know the date and time of the next available New Group. You will meet with one of our facilitators for an interview so that we can become acquainted.
If you have already been in a New Group and wish to continue, you may join an Ongoing Group; you may join participants from other groups or continue with your current group.
Is AgeSong for everyone?
For most people, but not everyone. For instance, those who have had a major recent loss are often asked to seek grief counseling first. People suffering from serious cognitive difficulties or psychiatric illnesses are referred to resources that will be more beneficial to them because AgeSong Marin is not a therapy group.
What are the groups like?
At each meeting, the facilitators introduce a topic, generally accompanied by a newspaper article, poem, or excerpt from a book. These act as a springboard for discussion, encouraging us to look at our life situation, decisions, and selves. We can’t avoid aging, but we can change how we live by becoming more aware and making conscious, informed choices.
Are friendships made?
Yes. Many AgeSongers have formed friendships that blossom outside of the group.
Who are the participants?
Our participants are women and men who are interested in meeting others of a similar age to talk about topics related to their own aging process. We find that the different perspectives of the other group members and facilitators help us to understand our situations and ourselves in new ways. All participants sign a commitment of confidentiality.
Who are the facilitators?
Our facilitators are older adults, all of whom are volunteers. Most are retired or semi-retired mental health professionals or educators experienced in leading groups, and all must have participated as an AgeSong Marin group member prior to becoming a facilitator. They have varied interests and accomplishments.
Karen Weinberger, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has provided ongoing training once a month since 2009.
Are the groups held at locations other than Family Service Agency?
Yes, groups have been held at the following locations: Aldersly Retirement Home, Smith Ranch Retirement Home, Osher Lifelong Learning Program at Dominican University, Whistlestop, San Rafael Community Center, Mill Valley Community Center, and Margaret Todd Senior Center in Novato.
When did AgeSong Marin begin?
AgeSong Marin was co-founded in 2005 by Elizabeth Bugental, Ph.D. and Ann Coffey, Ph.D., the current program director. As of 2015, more than 350 seniors have participated in the program, many for several years, and the number of facilitators has grown from two to nineteen. See a more detailed history of the program.