Dr. Bill Thomas – Profile of an IMS Research Associate

Dr. Bill Thomas is one of the original members of the IMS Center on Aging and helped to define its purpose and direction. He is also on a mission to re-educate us about how rich our lives can be once we are deemed “old.”  Subject of a recent Washington Post article, Thomas is determined to teach us that the aging process is to be embraced, not shunned.

photo credit: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post
photo credit: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post

Novelist, playwright, teacher, entrepreneur, physician, Bill deserves enormous credit for trumpeting the value of “Elderhood.”   Dismissing the notion that life is merely defined by three stages: infancy, adolescence, and adulthood, Bill has built an international reputation demonstrating that an additional stage—Elderhood—is both critically underserved and under-appreciated.

He has employed a vast array of vehicles to advance the cause. These include founding a non-profit organization, the Eden Alternative, whose mission is to improve the quality of life of Elders as well as those who care for them. He also founded the Green House Project, an innovative approach to eldercare that has become the basis for new and re-imagined facilities for more effective and humane senior living.

Bill’s latest medium for evangelizing more respectful attitudes towards Elderhood is his Age of Disruption Tour, which spotlights Aging, according to Bill, the greatest of the three most important “inventions” in humankind (the other two being fire and the wheel).

To get the full flavor of the exploration of life beyond adulthood, check out Bill’s ChangingAging.org website. Take twenty minutes to watch Bill deliver a TED Talk on how we must change attitudes and actions when it comes to Aging.

Alive Inside film

If you attended the 2014 Sundance Film Festival you may  be one of those who voted Alive Inside the Audience Award. If not, viewing the trailer may inspire you to acquire this extraordinarily moving film, in which Bill Thomas played a key role, that explores how music is so critical to memory.

Laura Bronstein, Executive Director of IMS and a Board member at Eden said, “Bill has been THE leader in re-conceptualizing aging as a normal part of the developmental spectrum. There’s no one else who has had the broad impact he’s had. We’re thrilled to count him a member of our Institute.”


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