Hospital wall sparks thoughts on aging

Anne Holladay, executive director for Long-Term Care at UPMC Susquehanna, top left, stands next to the “As I Age” wall that recently was in the Tower Lobby at UPMC Susquehanna Williamsport Regional Medical Center and allowed people to finish, with their own thoughts and impressions, their ideas on growing older. 
MIKE REUTHER/Sun-Gazette

Anne Holladay, executive director for Long-Term Care at UPMC Susquehanna, top left, stands next to the “As I Age” wall that recently was in the Tower Lobby at UPMC Susquehanna Williamsport Regional Medical Center and allowed people to finish, with their own thoughts and impressions, their ideas on growing older. MIKE REUTHER/Sun-Gazette

They literally went to the wall recently to express their thoughts on a subject that perhaps many people don’t like to consider.

Anyone could pick up a piece of chalk and finish the phrase, “As I Age” with their own thoughts and impressions.

Within days, at least 200 people had filled the wall in the Tower Lobby at UPMC Susquehanna Williamsport Regional Medical Center with their ideas on growing older.

“There are some really funny things here,” said Anne Holladay, executive director for Long-Term Care at UPMC Susquehanna. “But people are contemplative and introspective. It’s getting to what matters most.”

Holladay got the idea for erecting a wall on aging after attending a conference and thought it would be a great way for people here to let loose with their own ideas on the issue.

It was displayed during National Nursing Home Week.

“It’s very touching,” said Gayle Hummel, administrator at Meadows Personal Care.

A few minutes later, Hummel was scribbling out her own thoughts on the wall.

Isabelle Logue, of Montoursville, said she saw the three-sided wall earlier in the week when it still was blank.

“It’s amazing,” she said, noting how the wall since has filled up with words.

Among some of the thoughts written on the wall

to followup, As I Age were: “I realize my friends and family become more important”and “I worry less about the small stuff.” Another person wrote: “I value peace of mind.”

Others used the wall to make it known that a sense of humor is important in growing older such as the following: “My body gives out.”

Holladay noted that people of different ages wrote on the wall.

“It’s really special for reflecting, remembering what really matters most as we age and change,” she said.

The whole idea was meant to spark a discussion about the process of growing older and to allow for reflection on how one’s life evolves in the aging process.

Holladay said the wall is helped generate dialogue about growing older as well.

“People are reading things and chuckling, and some things are very profound,” she said.

The wall is to be displayed again at the UPMC Susquehanna Muncy Valley Hospital at its annual lawn party June 17.

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