Navigating Life after 50

November 16, 2022
Dear Friends,
The Village Chicago and Chicago Innovation launched Turn the Page on Age this year with funding from RRF Foundation for Aging. This important initiative is a broadly-based campaign to promote age inclusion and help dismantle age bias in the workplace, the doctor’s office, the media, the community – everywhere.
The campaign kick-off was in May 2022 and included a candid and thought-provoking panel discussion followed by a series of activities including a city-wide advertising campaign.

Please join us for our Turn the Page on Age awards ceremony and lively panel discussion on December 7 - “A Night for the Ages. 

With thanks and gratitude, we need your help to change the narrative on age. To find out more, visit us

Darcy L Evon, CEO
Turn the Page on Age
Imagine a world in which everyone’s abilities are accepted at face value; where skills and strengths are appreciated and utilized without reservation; and where no one is excluded solely because they are too young, or too old.

That’s a world that has “turned the page on age.”

We're Not There Yet

Throughout our history, powerful structural and cultural forces have led us to define people based solely on their age. Ageism permeates our culture and is constantly reinforced by the media, entertainment, and advertising industries, and its impact is huge: 

  • AARP reports that 93% of older adults experience some form of ageism every day…  
  • … and that nearly 80% workers 40-65 have either seen or personally experienced age discrimination in the workplace.
  • One recent study estimates that the cost of ageism in healthcare — including over-treatment and under-treatment of common medical conditions — totals $63 billion annually.
  • Negative beliefs about one's own aging (self-directed ageism) can shorten life expectancy by an average of 7.5 years.

Ageism was structurally cemented with the establishment of 65 as the end of work (read useful) life. Retirement is now considered a life stage, characterized as a period of withdrawal and disengagement; with many older adults isolated in senior living communities. Author Tracey Gendron describes the status of being retired as “devoid of identity, meaning and roles.” And, she writes, “it is based on a deficit mindset - what we used to do, who we used to be”.

We say, enough. Let’s turn the page on age!

Age Doesn’t Define Us

By Laurel Baer

Things are changing. Age certainly doesn’t define Florida Congressman-elect Maxwell Frost (age 25); Willie Nelson (age 89), Warren Buffet (age 92) or Malala Yousafzai (Nobel Peace Prize winner at age 17). 

Right now, there is no cultural alternative to the narrative of youth as a time of “becoming” and older adulthood as a period of decline. And yet there are individuals, organizations, creators, and even some institutions that are re-shaping our understanding. 

Village member Don Bell says: “This is not my grandpa's aging experience. This isn't sitting and rocking. This isn't seeing retirement as a time and a place where I go away and just do nothing. We are actively involved in living. We are doing things. We are living passionately. We have goals, we have strengths.”

It is a gift to live long enough to grow into our true, authentic selves. We don’t often take the time to explore and discover our own aging identity.  

These people have. 

 Meet Stefanie Clark

“Until recently, the story of my life was about living most of it as a male and then becoming a woman at age 72." Inspired by a book on Leonardo da Vinci, the original renaissance man, Stefanie decided, “If it worked for him, I have to be the first renaissance woman.”

To Stefanie that means being constantly in search of knowledge – not just for its own sake, "but to use that knowledge to give back to the community any way I can.” 

She developed a powerful message about the challenges of access to healthcare for LGBT+ individuals. She delivered that talk over 50 times at the request of organizations like SAGE, NY and as part of the Center on Halsted’s speaker’s bureau. 

She became an advocate, lobbying for LGBT+ health care access and cultural competency requirements and helped get 20 laws passed. 

One morning in her daily meditation practice, she realized, “I can do anything I want to do.” That very day she was invited to attend Chicago Fashion Week by some friends and came out of it knowing “I want to to be the most visible 79 year old transgender model in the Midwest.” And this fall, she was. 

During October Chicago Fashion Week, Stefanie was the last model in four separate shows, in two of them dressed in the traditional finale garment - a white wedding dress. A unicorn in the modeling community, Stefanie once again demonstrated the scope and value of diversity.

Now 80, this renaissance woman says “I am so proud to be part of the Village. It is the first place I was accepted not as a trans woman – but as a woman.” 
Meet Patti Temple Rocks

Patti Temple Rocks will be recognized at “A Night for the Ages” as an individual who has made a significant contribution to the fight against ageism. Her book, I’m Not Done – It’s Time to Talk About Ageism in the Workplace has been recently updated with a second edition, “I’m Still Not Done...” Rocks says, “I never expected to write a second edition, but had to after observing the impact the pandemic had on older Americans and especially on women.”
She says “Ageism affects everyone. Although younger people care more than I expected.” She continues, “Sometimes the worst perpetrators of ageism in the workplace are the middle-aged cohort who are not quite feeling it yet, but perhaps see older workers as a possible block to their next role.”
She adds, “Older workers are often unwitting perpetrators – not by being ageist to other people, but by failing to call it out. Why not be proud of the years we accumulate? It does more to diffuse stereotypes when we own our age.”
When asked how to keep the drumbeat going, she replied “The way to keep people in this fight is to keep reminding them that we are all going to be there if we’re lucky. After all, getting older means we’re still alive!"
“And” she adds, “we must keep highlighting the benefits of what everyone gains from being involved with older people. And it should be a true and even exchange. While older people have accumulated wisdom, the young have experienced things that we never have.” She urges, “Just recognize the issue and join the movement!”
Meet Gail Zelitzky and Catherine Marienau

These founders of Women Over 70 LLC will be honored at "A Night for the Ages" for starting an organization that celebrates the voices of women in their 70s-100s and changes the conversation about women aging. Zelitzky says, “Women Over 70 was born out of curiosity. As I watched the people close to me age, I began to wonder: What is different about later life? Is there a difference? In what ways do we change? I learned that the decades after 70 require resilience and I am filled with awe at women’s ability to continually recreate themselves.” 
Zelitzky and Marienau have built an inspiring body of work in the form of their podcast, Women Over 70 - Aging Reimagined. Hundreds of individual women share stories that range from the personal to the political and address the complexities of age at the intersections of gender identity, poverty, class, race, and more. Podcast guests and listeners reside across the U.S. and in other countries.
“Today’s generation of older women are living life to the fullest.” says Marienau, “They continue to learn, to contribute, and to be creative.” 
Marienau and Zelitzky are perfect examples of this. “We are committed to our weekly podcasts and monthly online programs sponsored by Aging Re-imagined Circle, our sustaining membership fund. We’re doing more presentations in person and virtually to organizations and groups, offering the opportunity to engage in candid conversation about issues that matter to women. We see a book in the making for 2023.” 
What Can I Do?

Lean into intergenerational connections
1. Seize opportunities to participate in programs such as Ageless Innovators. Founded in 2019 by the Village Chicago and Chicago Innovation, this cross-generation co-mentoring program is based on the belief that “everyone has something to teach and something to learn.” The 9th cohort is currently underway and when they are through the program, innovators will join an alumni group of over 350 who have returned to their work and social communities with new skills, and a fresh perspective on just how powerful and fulfilling intergenerational collaboration can be.
2. Become a part of The Village Chicago’s Bridging Generations Board - a group of young adults who firmly believe in the importance of multigenerational relationships at work and in the community. The events they have organized include book, short story and documentary discussion groups; intimate multigenerational dinners, community volunteerism, Trivia nights, and more. Contact
Learn from those who are leading the way

1. Suggested reading:

2. View a fascinating conversation with activists Ashton Applewhite and Molly Matthias entitled, “Ageist? Racist? Who, Me?”

3. Explore the "Women over 70" podcasts.
Recognize that ageism is a social justice issue
Aging is a highly individual experience and it is not possible to generalize about the skills and abilities of an older person based on age. Right now, our society is not treating older people as individuals and equals; but in fact marginalizing their participation and minimizing their contributions – especially at the intersections of age with gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, race and class. 
Be mindful of language
It goes without saying that words like “geezer” are completely unacceptable. However older adults often experience benevolent ageism which is prejudice masked as respect or kindness. It happens when a man in his 80’s is called “young man''; or when people employ “elderspeak” (too loud, sing-song cadence, “we” instead of “you”); or when someone you barely know calls you “sweetie.”
Support Turn the Page on Age

There are many opportunities to participate in this campaign to dismantle age bias – from helping plan events to providing a venue for one; from identifying examples of people or organizations that are turning the page on age, to writing about your own experiences. No time to volunteer? Support us with a gift

Contact to learn more!
Celebrate progress! 

Join us December 7 at “A Night for the Ages!” We’ll celebrate the role that people of all ages play to fuel innovation in the workforce and society with a distinguished panel of leaders from their 20’s to their 70’s, moderated by Dorri Mcwhorter, CEO, YMCA Chicago. And, witness the awarding of the first ever “Turn the Page on Age Awards” to author Patti Temple Rocks and to “Women Over 70.”
Village News

Join Us For A Village Tradition: Our Holiday Potluck!
Thursday, December 1 from 5-7 PM

Location: Old Town Triangle Association (1763 N. North Park Ave.)

Come to the Village Potluck and spend a relaxed evening with friends, family, and neighbors - all are welcome. We have a spacious room in which to party, thanks to the hospitality of our friends at the Old Town Triangle Association. Please bring a dish to share and your beverage of choice. welcome! After you RSVP, please reply to the confirmation email to let us know if you are bringing an appetizer, side dish, salad, main dish, or dessert.

The Village Chicago Welcomes Two New Team Members!

Ashley Walker, Finance & Development Manager

Ashley Walker is a native Chicagoan with extensive experience in communications and organizational development with an artistic flair. Ashley brings to the Village 8+ years of experience in marketing and communications; non-profit association management and development; and organizational growth. She spends her free time planning and facilitating artistic events in Chicago, performing spoken word poetry, and snuggling with her cat, Niyah.
Kate Spelman, Director of Communications & Programs

A native of Philadelphia, Kate Spelman earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago, and an M.Div from Yale Divinity School. She is ordained as an Episcopal priest and has served congregations large and small in Chicagoland and on the East Coast. Prior to joining The Village, she worked as the LGBT+ specialist at AgeOptions, the Area Agency on Aging of suburban Cook County. In her spare time, she likes to work out, cook, read good books and watch terrible TV. She and her wife have a small son with a very big personality.
Remembering Our Veterans - The Ghost Army
On Veteran’s Day the Chicago Tribune published a moving letter by Village member David Hiller about his father, Robert Hiller who during WWII was a member of the top secret and highly effective Ghost Army. Read more here.

Send a note to about a yourself or a loved one's service in the military, and be entered into a drawing for a free one-year membership to the Holocaust Museum where you can visit the extraordinary Ghost Army exhibition!

Village Event Calendar
RSVP today for our upcoming in-person and virtual events! For full descriptions and registration, visit

  • (11/17) Final Walk Around SOUTH Pond in 2022!
  • (11/17) Coffee Chat BYOC
  • (11/17) Short Story Intergenerational Discussions
  • (11/19) Saturday Afternoon at the Movies: Bridesmaids (2011)
  • (11/20) Tiny Theatre Presents: Remy Bumpo's Routes
  • (11/22) Exercise at Home with Jill Stein
  • (11/29) Brain Connection Cafe
  • (12/1) The Village Holiday Potluck
  • (12/6) Favorite Films of the 30s and 40s
  • (12/6) Intergenerational Holiday Happy Hour: Presented by the LGBTA Committee & Bridging Generations Board
  • (12/7) A Night for the Ages: Turn the Page on Age Awards
  • (12/8) Drink in the Benefits: How Hydration Improves Your Health
  • (12/14) Annual Holiday Yacht Club Luncheon: Presented by the Men's Group

To RSVP for any event, please visit our web calendar or email us at!
Join the Village!
Are you...

Looking for a new career, about to retire, wondering what's next? Seeking companions that share your interests? Searching for a way to utilize your abilities? In need of occasional help? New to Chicago? Worried about changing needs? An adult child with aging parents?

Village members are part of an inclusive, multigenerational community, connected to others and to the resources that support growth and wellbeing as we navigate life after 50 together.

Learn more about the Village by calling us at 773.248.8700 or click here to download the membership application form.

Village Sponsors
Leadership of The Village Chicago
Board of Directors
David Baker,
Thomas C. Eley III,
Vice President
Joan Goldstein,
Vice President
Therese Meike,
Vice President
Judith Gethner,
Richard W. Sullivan,
Karen Terry,
Immediate Past President
Donald M. Bell
Stefanie Clark
Charles G. Cooper
Caryn Curry
Carol Hitchie
Ira Kohlman
Kathie Kolodgy
Angie Levenstein
Molly Matthias
Liz Metzger
Gail C. Moss
Carol Stein
Lois Stuckey
Vamse Kumar Subbiah
Janet Walters
Joyce Winnecke
Advisory Council
Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD
Robyn L. Golden, LCSW
Joanne G. Schwartzberg, MD
Mary Ann Smith
Darcy L. Evon
The Village Chicago is a community network of friendship, engagement and services for people over 50. We support all aspects of well-being through social engagement, an extensive services and referral network, lifelong learning, health and fitness, intergenerational relationships, work and purpose.

2502 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60614. 773.248.8700