The present day surge of the "elder" population causes many to revisit their long-held beliefs on aging. A myriad of questions surface concerning how we would like the latter chapters of our lives to unfold, such as:

  • Where will we live?
  • How do I want to be treated?
  • What do I fear the most?
  • Will my latter years really be "golden" or "tarnished?"

For after all, we all know that where and how you live DOES matter.

Questions like these, and many others, have been the impetus for a present day revolution called "Person-Centered Care!" In this new revolution, "either-or" ultimatums are giving way to "both-and" alternatives instead. Who said careGIVERS never RECEIVE? Who said careRECEIVERS never GIVE? In this swirl of passionate discussion, the term "CARE PARTNERS" was born.

Caring is a symphony with many movements, tempos and players.

Caring is a collaboration.

Caring is a joint venture.

Caring is an exchange, when, at its very best, moves freely back and forth much like the tides at sea.

The delicate flower of caring cannot thrive in isolation. For it to rise to its full stature, it must be part of the dance of giving AND receiving.

Those, who in the name of caring, only give, find themselves exhausted, demoralized and weary. Those, who in the name of caring, only receive, begin to feel like a burden.

No one realizes this more than the Georgia Institute on Aging. The Institute realizes that Care Partners don't just evolve; they must be created and nurtured. The Institute understands that creation takes initiative, calculated risks and much intentionality.

And so, day in and day out, the Institute plans programs to teach and support those caring for elders. Day in and day out, the Institute works tirelessly behind the scenes, advocating for legislation that protects and supports elders in the State of Georgia. In turn, the Institute receives countless treasures from the elders in return.

The Georgia Institute on Aging can be seen front and center on the playing field of aging; they are the flag bearers for this new culture of Care Partners. Why? The answer is simple: our elders deserve the best ... no less.

Robbye Jarrell is a full-time chaplain at Lenbrook, providing support and counsel to residents in a multitude of ways. From conducting services on Sundays to coordinating Ecumenical community events, Robbye shares her spirit, joy and love of life with everyone at Lenbrook. She is an ordained Presbyterian Minister and has served on the Board of the Georgia Institute on Aging.