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Katlyn Clifton

2018 CSA Conference


Katlyn Clifton, MA, COS, CSA

CTandM Gallatin
Executive Director


Intentional Aging: A More Successful Journey

Why is it that most depictions of older adults are sad, feeble, or ill? It’s because the overwhelming majority is quick to pair aging and misery.

Social gerontology offers several theories of aging and can give great insight into both the developmental and psychological aspects of aging. We’ve learned that there are several milestones that we meet in maturation. For instance, it’s common for the older adult to evaluate their life, their accomplishments, and possible regrets. According the thought provoking psychologist Erik Erikson (1998), this life review either yields a feeling of integrity or despair and determines how the adult perceives their last season life.

Knowing that our clients are subject to this process as they age, it stands to reason that we can have a deliberate impact. The goal, then, is to play a key role in a more successful journey of aging for our clients. To do so, our service may be the missing key for positive, intentional aging. We all would say that if our business impacts one life for the better then the work is worthwhile. What if we could change the notorious stigmas making an outreach that positively impacts the field of aging? This may be our “teach a man to fish” moment. What starts as one practitioner’s perspective soon creates an exponential effect with peers, community, region, etc.

The key to this paradigm shift is by understanding Gerotranscendence, and putting the theory into everyday practice in a real way. The father of the theory, Lars Tornstam (2005) recognized that there is a real difference in our beliefs of aging and the actual data from the population. He surmised that it should not be researchers who define the accepted concepts of aging, rather the individual living the process should define their story. Gerotranscendence is about questioning the projections our society has placed on later adulthood. It’s about denying the normative expectations of doom and gloom. Rather, by taking a proactive approach and helping adults plan for retirement, professionals are a powerful resource in making successful aging intentional and enjoyable.

There are realistic ways that practitioners can deploy Gerotranscendence. The first is in their own perspective. At times, even we are guilty of ageism or elderspeak; even subconsciously. If you structure sociability programs or create marketing campaigns for the older adult, you may choose to forego mentioning the popular social media outlets. While a small choice in details, this is a sign that your perspective is skewed. Deciding to consistently challenge your own perspective of aging will open a gateway to new creativity, rejuvenate high-esteem for the older adult, and build better rapport with clients.

Additionally, Gerotranscendence is easily inserted into every day tasks that you are already doing successfully. As a business person, you are an ambassador for your brand, your mission, and your employer. It’s part of your responsibility to represent your company in a positive light and never pass the opportunity for development. Likewise, older adults need a zealous ambassador. In each interaction, whether public or private, speak positively of aging and have those “did you know” conversations with people. Furthermore, add the perspective of Gerotranscendence into your emotional intelligence and behavioral compliance repertoire. Caring for people means realizing that human beings are complex, as are their emotions. There will be times that clients come to you hurting, dismayed, and unsure of the future. This is your opportunity to surpass presuppositions with hope and dignity

Learning Objectives

  1. To rejuvenate the high esteem held for the older adult.
  2. To deliberately incorporate tactics aimed toward fostering a better quality of life for the older adult.
  3. To better understand the psychological effects of the aging process.

About Katlyn

Katlyn Clifton is currently the Director of CTandM in Gallatin, TN which hosts around 200 older adults in an independent living retirement campus. The company strives for excellence in both on-site housing and pro-bono consulting for older adults in Sumner County.  

Professionally, Katlyn’s goals lie in academia and growth within the scope of gerontology. Currently, Katlyn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree of psychology from Freed-Hardeman University, a Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Western Kentucky, and is currently approaching graduation from Trevecca University with a Master’s of Business Administration. Additionally, Katlyn’s experiences include internships and study within the areas of aging development, hospice care, grief and bereavement, hospice services, geriatrics, and behavioral compliance within aging and special needs population, as well as several certificates in non-profit management, subsidized occupancy for elders, and senior care. 

Personally, Katlyn’s mission is to change stigmas and impact the experience of aging intentionally and successfully within the Gallatin community by using the theory of Gerotranscendence. With high esteem for elders, Katlyn and her specialized team count these experiences a blessing. See CTandM’ s website and Facebook (CTandMGallatin) for more information. 

“I dare not be a dark-horse candidate, nor an outlier. I want to be purposefully driven, deliberate, and viewed with expectation and potential while fully utilizing my education, experience, and skill set towards a more successful journey of aging for the older adult”
- Katlyn Clifton

Visit the Schedule at a Glance for session dates, times, and locations. 

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