When I started managing the Boomer Summit for JWT BOOM, one of my first aging heroes was Dr. Gene Cohen. I read The Mature Mind and his bio. He was a thought leader in the aging of the brain. I don’t know what I expected when I met him the first time as he was keynoting our event. Perhaps an Ivy League scientist; a quasi politician / aging activist; an author selling a book. At any rate, he was not who I expected. He was so much more. With all due respect he was a cross between a brilliant scientist and Puck; smart, impish and impossibly hard to ignore. His body of knowledge on how the brain ages and what is possible in later life has been a rallying cry for seniors, business and technology.
I saw Harry (Rick) Moody’s presentation on creativity late in life at a presentation at Willow Valley Retirement Community and had long been fascinated with this notion of artistic self–actualization. I was able to review Gene’s book on late life creativity not long after this. I shared with Gene at our last conference that my Grandmother, now 96, began to draw in earnest in her 80’s. She entered her first art show and won the coveted Blue Ribbon in her late 80’s. He was delighted by her story.
What impresses me now, at his passing, is that Dr. Cohen lived his story. He was incredibly productive late in life—though his life was far too short. And, asserting his belief in “use it or lose it”, he started a company that created board games for people as they age. It defines his perspective and beliefs. Visit: www.genco-games.com.
The field of aging needs more heroes like Gene Cohen.