Friday, July 29, 2005

'Nine Lives' book project gives a voice to isolated elders


The Internet has transformed communication, the polar ice caps are said to be melting and globalization has become a dirty word  --  all in the space of the time it has taken today's elders to outlive their peers and become isolated from the rest of society.

"That isolation shouldn't be inevitable," says Brent Nettle, whose San Francisco nonprofit, Eldergivers, has published "Nine Lives," (Eldergivers, $25) a book about Moreno and eight other Bay Area seniors whose deeply tapestried lives suggest what they can offer to our youth-driven culture.

"Older lives are much richer, deeper, broader," says Nettle, executive director of Eldergivers. "Elders are just much more interesting people. Yet they have been cowed into thinking they don't have a role in our society, when, in fact, they have the most important role: challenging the superficiality and self-centeredness in our society."

Nettle also initiated Art With Elders, which holds weekly art classes in nursing homes and exhibits the artwork of elders. Call it his stealthy way of making the world sit up and notice seniors.

"Nine Lives" has a similar aim, enlisting a volunteer team of professional writers who spent the past year visiting their subjects in nursing homes from Mountain View to Danville.

"Nine Lives," Vol. 1 ($20) and Vol. 2 ($25), is available online at or by calling (415) 441-2650. Vol. 2 will be available after Sept. 6.

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