Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the women and men who join AgeSong?
Seniors who want to be seen, heard, and respected, and NOT merely defined by our age. People who are interested in exploring all the dimensions of old age, rather than avoiding it. Folks who are feeling lonely or isolated and want to connect with others in an enjoyable and fun environment.
Our participants are women and men who are interested in meeting and connecting with 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 agree to maintain confidentiality.
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.
How are the groups formed?
You call; our intake coordinator returns your call and places you on our waitlist. Once there are enough participants available you will meet with one of our facilitators and the group will be formed.
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.
Are friendships made?
Yes. Many AgeSongers have formed friendships that blossom outside of the group.
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. It is not a therapy group, although it is supportive.
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.
What is the cost of an AgeSong Marin group?
We are now offering our online groups at a rate of $40 for the 8 week session, reduced from our standard fee of $80. Scholarships are available.
Where are the groups held?
When the Shelter-In-Place order is lifted, groups will meet at various sites throughout Marin County. In the meantime, groups are meeting online through Zoom until it is safe to hold the groups in person.
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; we are a Project of MarinLink, a 501(c)(3), which serves as our fiscal sponsor.
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 2019, more than 750 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.
How do I join?