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A Full Life, According to Greg Farrell

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    Sarah Norris

Greg Farrell was the founder and first president of EL Education. He retired as President and CEO in 2008, and currently serves on our Board. 

In a recent piece for Nation Swell, in partnership with AARP, Greg Farrell applies his lifelong philosophy centered on the joys of discovery to his current context:

“Now that I’m 81 years old, more of my friends are moving into nursing homes. Sometimes, it’s due to some kind of frailty. Other instances, it’s a sort of insurance policy. They want to make sure they get in before their health fails and it’s too late. Still, I try to dissuade them.”

He reflects on himself as he has aged: “As I’ve gotten older, I feel I’ve developed more strengths. (When you make a lot of mistakes as I have, you learn from them.) I’m wiser. I’ve always been a patient person, but now I’m even more so. I’m pretty calm. I don’t worry much. I’m optimistic.

I don’t think I’m an outlier. Many people my age are also savvy. If we’re going to live to 100 – and are pretty fit and healthy — why not put that to good use?”

As you might expect if you’ve ever met Greg, he also has ideas for how to do things better. “If it were up to me to design a better living situation, I’d get people up earlier in the morning for brisk walks or a dip in cold water. There would be new opportunities to try things, even jumping rope, so they had the chance to improve their skills the more they try.

Instead of depending so much on staff, residents could cook and take care of each other. They could camp out. Spend time in nature. Meditate. They could build a culture. Maybe at one particular nursing home, everyone’s writing. At another, everyone paints.

Everyone needs surprises, no matter their age.”

Greg’s spirit, evident in his words, is what shaped EL in our earliest days. We seek to keep this mix of joy and a commitment to continuous improvement at the heart of our work, and are so grateful for Greg’s steady light illuminating the path. 

Aarp Greg Vertical 790X1058

Read Greg’s complete piece here