- Listen to Ron's Interview with Scott Fisher and Ben Green -
The “Aging Wisely Project”: Redefining a New Stage of Elderhood
As Scott Fisher and Ben Green approached their 70th birthdays, the two lifelong friends decided to dig deeply into the challenges of healthy aging. Faced with the prospect of retirement, declining bodies, and the insistent reminders of mortality, they harnessed their combined eight decades of work experience to arrive at some fresh conclusions about “aging wisely.” Scott, an organizational psychologist, and Ben, a psychoanalyst, decided to take a novel, more personalized approach grounded in their clinical training and deep experience in the field: They interviewed a diverse sample of 52 elders, aged 70 to 95, and the life stories they heard were dazzling in their variety and depth. In today’s episode, Scott and Ben tell us their own story about how they blended personal and statistical research to create what has become “The Aging Wisely Project”—soon to be released as a book. As they sifted through the results, the two researchers realized that they had new information and conclusions about the later stages of life. They propose a practical, yet radical extension, to Erik Erikson’s iconic 8-stage model of human development, adding a 9th stage of potential growth they call “Elder Identity Revision.” Ben and Scott will talk about some of the challenges awaiting us in elderhood, as well as the skills and attitudes required to get the most out of one’s elder years. It is their steadfast conviction that it is never too late to change for the better and grow in every stage of life, and make the time left to us fulfilling, meaningful and satisfying.
Ben Green has been fascinated by psychological human development since his years at Yale College and went on to work for 40 years as a hospital- and then office-based psychiatrist for children and adults. Twenty years ago, Dr. Green became a child and adult psychoanalyst. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Health Science Center and has taught and supervised psychiatric residents for four decades. Dr. Green served as President of the Colorado Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Society and the Denver Psychoanalytic Society. He has taught high school math in the Congo-Kinshasa for a year and spent a year at Yale Divinity School; he has had a longstanding interest in religion, humanistic-existential psychology, and issues pertaining to aging, meaning, and mortality, and has delivered community lectures on these subjects for many years. Dr. Green is happily married and has had three daughters and, recently, a grandson.
Scott Fisher has long been captivated by the factors that motivate people and the infinite ways they work to achieve their goals in career and in life. He received a BS in Organizational Behavior and MA in Organization and Management from Yale University. He served in executive positions in a variety of corporations and industries, leading human resources organizations dedicated to facilitating rapid growth and employee engagement. As a consultant and executive coach for more than 25 years, he worked with CEOs and their teams on strategy development and implementation, change management, culture assessment, and leadership development. For 12 years, he taught graduate-level courses in strategic human resources management and change management to MBA students at the University of Colorado/Denver School of Business. He is an avid yet mediocre golfer and enjoys travel and life with his wife and life partner.