Laurie Widmark and Ageless Dreamer Make Seniors Terminally Alive (Podcast)

What is Ageless Dreamer?

The mission of Ageless Dreamer is to make long held, heartfelt dreams come true for our oldest generation, encouraging them to dream out loud, enhancing their quality of life.

A 501(c)3 non profit organization, Ageless Dreamer is of the mindset that just because someone is part of our oldest generation it doesn’t mean they still don’t dream. In essence, we act as a catalyst to remind adult children and caregivers to remember to ask their elders: Do you have a dream?   And then listen closely.

The “Why” Behind Ageless Dream

(In Laurie’s words)

Sometime late in  2000, I went to the mailbox and pulled out my invitation addressed from AARP – no definition required.  Friends had joked about it earlier when they, themselves, received what was noted as the first piece of dreaded mail alerting you to the fact that you would soon turn the ripe old age of fifty.

Even though I didn’t feel or look any different, the message became clear:  AARP had found me.  I couldn’t identify with it and certainly wouldn’t acknowledge being a member of it.  It was then that I knew there had to be another way to bridge from age 49 to 50 and feel confident there was energy and life beyond. If I didn’t or couldn’t do it, who would?

As I pondered possibilities, I was keenly  aware of my Dad’s words when I was in my twenties:  “You’re a dreamer”.  And it sure didn’t sound to me as though it was a complement.  In my forties, spending time with my women friends, they would sometimes look at me with love, of course, and laugh with me at my dreaming.  I had many failed entrepreneurial adventures before, why would they hold out any hope for this one?

Deep down inside I knew I was a dreamer despite, or in spite of my age.  A short few years (that really felt like decades) after loosing my youngest daughter to suicide at the young age of 23, I knew that there was nothing that could squelch my own dream except any fears I let fester.

To keep a longer story short, one day, after struggling to move the kernel of an idea forward, the name fell into place, more out of self identification than selflessness: Ageless Dreamer®.  I envisioned a socially responsible company that moved its net profits into a foundation that would then shed a different light on our oldest population.– which, dare say, I was quickly becoming a part of.  In my mind: What if they gave up the possibility of dreaming?  Who would I be at age 85 or 90 or 100?

The history and original concept for Ageless Dreamer® goes back to 2001 and, although the idea and research proved it could be “brilliant and cutting edge”, it lacked the mechanism to make it work. Boxes of file folders filled with research and a brief business plan were tucked away to “nest awhile”, but not to be forgotten. Those patient business folk who I had review it finally said: “…but how will it become self sustainable?” It was a stab of entrepreneurial truth that left a gap of bewilderment and gratefulness at the same time. After all, that’s why I had invited these” wise business men and women” to review it in the first place.  But it still felt like a mosquito that sucks the blood out of you and leaves you with an itch for days.

In 2004, the idea for Ageless Dreamer® as a business was again discussed over and over again, until an “Ah Ha” moment occurred, that seemed so simple. It wasn’t meant to be a for-profit business after all, but rather a non-profit organization – Ageless Dreamer Foundation.

Over the years, it became even more important to note that the present definition of the word Foundation, (borrowed from the unabridged edition of the Random House Dictionary) is:

  1. That on which something is founded;
  2. The basis or groundwork of anything;
  3. The natural or prepared ground or base on which some structure rests;
  4. State of being founded; and
  5. Superstructure.

In the future we anticipate our definition of the word Foundation will expand to include:

A donation or legacy for the support of an institution or organization; an endowment.

Four years, six months, and approximately 26 days later, we venture on to mold and remold the future of Ageless Dreamer.  Magical dreams unfolding continue to happen although the strong economic current is taking her off course and is trying to take the wind out of her sails. Ageless Dreamer takes to the helm. We tighten down the hatches and continue to navigate through these choppy economic waters. The black hole is still and scary as the bills arrive in the mailbox and the donations slim. We reef the sails (pulling down to a minimum to reduce the wind), so it doesn’t rock us to death, and continue to manage the ship using a modern day GPS to get her back on course.

Old age will always be around. And like a captain with his sturdy ship, Ageless Dreamer will sail on into the horizon looking back only to see how far it has come – one day at a time, one dream at a time.

About Laurie Widmark

Laurie Widmark is the founder and currently the volunteer CEO of the Ageless Dreamer Foundation, Dover, NH.

A licensed NH Real Estate Broker, she owns and operates Three Crowns Real Estate (Dover, NH). In June 2008, Laurie received the New Hampshire Association of Good Neighbor Award for her work with Ageless Dreamer.

Selected as one of five Hero’s by Family Circle Magazine, Laurie was featured in the July 2008 edition.

A Rotarian, Laurie received the Paul Harris Fellow in August 2008.

Laurie is often asked to speak at various hospital and caregiver associations, Rotary Clubs, Retirement and Assisted Living facilities, Churches, and other places that yearn to hear of inspiring stories on ageing well.

A new author, Laurie is currently writing a book for caregivers and adult children that  will be published before the end of the year.

Married to an amazingly supportive husband, Peter, they blend five children and four grandchildren.  Laurie dreams of being able to travel this country with their motor home and opening Ageless Dreamer affiliates in every state.

Finances and Dreamers and Dementia Care, Oh My (Podcasts)

What a great week we’ve had over at Leaders in Elder Care!

For those of you who don’t know what it is, Leaders in Elder Care is a podcast-based interview series that seeks to share the great things individuals are doing to change the face of elder care.  These are the entrepreneurs, politicians, advocates and caregivers who put it long days to make things better for seniors.   Through Leaders in Elder Care, we give them a chance to brag a little bit about what they are doing.

Each podcast is about 20 minutes and enables our Leaders to share their vision, method, results and futures with you via an intimate, no-frills conversation.

Below is a summary of some of the great interviews we’ve had in the last week.

I would love to hear what you think.  Be sure to leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

The Financier – Senior Lines of Credit

Elias Papasavvas came to the United States with nothing.  His parents were robbed at gunpoint.  As his parents aged, he saw the immense pressure families are put under when they need access to money for elder care and residential care.  That pressure often forces people to liquidate assets at times when their value is the lowest.  He combined his finance experience with a clear market need to create Elderlife Financial and invented the “senior line of credit.”

Read more about Elias and listen to the podcast.

The Dreamer – Ageless Dreamer

What if you could give an elder friend or family member the dream they always wish they had?  A ride on a Harley?  A college diploma?  A sailboat ride?  Laurie Widmark and Ageless Dreamer (a non-profit) have done just that.  Laurie and her team diligently review each Dream request and work hard to put smiles on faces that say “dream fufilled.”  When I first heard Laurie’s story, I said to myself “This is what it is all about!” It was such an amazing interview and Ageless Dreamer is such an amazing idea.

Read more about Ageless Dreamer and listen to the podcast.

Dementia Care – Sollievo

Ellen Dunnigan saw a critical gap missing in the market for dementia-focused home care.  And boy did she fill it.  Sollievo means “relief” in Italian and the mission of Sollievo is to provide just this.  Sollievo is one of many alternative care models sprouting up around the country.  Ellen’s view of a 360-degree care philosophy designed specifically around those who have or are impacted by dementia is really unique.

Read more about Sollievo and listen to the podcast.