Program Offerings

Examples of programming we offer. Call Rebecca Crichton at (206) 930-0809 to discuss scheduling an event.

Local author readings and discussions

Arleen Williams: The Alki Trilogy
In these novels, Running Secrets, Biking Uphill and Walking Home, a diverse cast of characters face and embrace the challenges of race and immigration, family and friendship. Set on on Alki Beach in West Seattle.

Allan Ament: Learning to Float – Memoir of a Caregiver Husband
Allan Ament wrote his memoir of becoming the caregiver after his wife’s debilitating stroke. Ament shares his personal and spiritual growth caring for a loved one and how he was supported by the ‘Circle of Caring’ around him. Anybody who has been or will be a caregiver will benefit from his insights. 

Ann Hedreen: The Accidental Advocate – What I Learned from Writing Her Beautiful Brain
When Ann Hedreen started to tell the story of her beautiful, brainy mother whose life ended in younger-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, she discovered she had more questions than answers. As she wrote Her Beautiful Brain, she learned about her mom, her family, and about the best ways to deal with her own fears of Alzheimer’s. To her surprise, this included become an active participant in Alzheimer’s research and an advocate for the cause. 


Three Plays by Lyn Coffin
Camille What happens when a shy playwright is overtaken by the persona of Camille Claudel? The mysteries of Camille’s life unfold through the possession of a local writer, and both are exposed. By turns humorous and haunting, tender and terrifying, this piece will leave you wondering where the truth is located and how well we understand our creative impulses and drives. Lutefisk Lyn Coffin wrote Lutefisk, a 12 minute romantic comedy of the Pacific Northwest about two people on their second “computer” date.  Fries in a Wine Glass Two friends read a ten-minute comedy about two sisters who sit down to dinner after burying a third and wonder why the fourth sister didn’t come.

Lyn Coffin is a widely-published poet, playwright, fiction writer and translator, with nineteen books to her credit. She teaches Literary Fiction at the UW, Professional and Continuing Education.

Feel the Beat! Simone LaDrumma and the Magic of Drumming
Simone LaDrumma shares her love for drumming with stories, a brief history of hand drumming and a drumming demonstration with help from the audience.

Sentimental Journey
Vocalists Ailsa, Misha and Joseph, with Paul on the piano and Joseph on guitar and ukulele, take a Sentimental Journey through the Great American Songbook: Gershwin, Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Arlen and “Fats” Waller. Sentimental Journey performs music by these and other composers and shares information about why the music from 1920s through the 1950s are considered the golden age of American song.


Understanding Our Own Diversity: Exploring Fundamental Concepts of Cultural Awareness
A three-session series facilitated by Rebecca Crichton, MA and Executive Director of NWCCA

Learning about cultural differences has never been more important. Many of today’s headlines focus on the misunderstandings and confusion we have about people different from ourselves. Yet most people are not aware of their own cultural assumptions and beliefs. Like fish who don’t know they are swimming in water, most people don’t realize how great a role culture plays in how they encounter the world.

Rebecca Crichton designed and delivered over 50 interactive sessions that increased cultural competence and multicultural understanding for Boeing employees and managers.

Sociology and Anthropology with Mariana Markova, PhD:
Life Stories from Russians Before and After the Fall of Communism

Money and Magic Dr. Markova collected life stories of ordinary Russian people caught in extraordinary times: the fall of communism followed by economic chaos. Through the story of Alexie, she shares aspects of growing up and living in a communist society in Russia, showing how people’s unique experiences are an important part of Russian history.

Cinderella Told Backward Markova tells the life story of an ordinary Russian woman, who described her story as ‘Cinderella told backward.’ The talk will discuss how the dreams of the Soviet women changed with the fall of communism and why it was possible for them to feel like Cinderella before, but not after it.

Excavate Your Own Life Story: 10 Questions Anthropologists Ask Conversations about ‘the past’ are important for understanding your own life story as the historian and cultural translator for your family and others. Markova discusses how it is not only about ‘what happened to you,’ but about putting your personal life into the historical and cultural context of the times you’ve lived through.

Mariana Markova, PhD, is a freelance researcher and personal historian. Born in Bulgaria and raised in Russia, she worked for Doctors Without Borders, the UN, and several major international organizations before coming to the United States. She earned her PhD in anthropology and has taught classes at several Seattle colleges.

Comparative Religion Programs with David E. Smith, PhD 

Mass of Confusion or World of Opportunity? Similarities and Differences in World Religions Professor David Smith compares and discusses some of the central beliefs of Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism—the three largest religions—and interpretations of the similarities and differences.  What do these three religions teach about God and the spiritual life?  What should we make of the common ground and the diversity of perspective?

From Fundamentalist to Philosopher of Religion – A Faith Journey Raised in an ultra-conservative Christian Fundamentalist home, Professor Smith grew increasingly curious about his own and others’ religions.

Moral Theories & the Ethics of Violence Professor Smith discusses the complexities of topics that include war, euthanasia, and abortion, and connects these with several major competing moral theories that are in circulation today.

Dr. David E. Smith received an MA in philosophy of religion before earning his PhD in religious studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. For the past 18 years, he has taught philosophy and religious studies at several colleges and universities. He has also published widely in these areas.

Health and Well-Being

Presentations by Dori Gillam 

Aging: A Laughing Matter!  The media portrays aging as though it is only about aches, ointments and things we can’t do.  Take a break and look at it in a lighter way.   We’ll laugh about the realities of growing older and the ways you can rise above the negatives.  Age is not a four-letter word!

Save My Place   Dori Gillam performs “Save My Place,” based on the last 3 weeks of her mother’s life, a time filled with love, visions and peace. Following her story, participants share experiences related to positive choices, end of life wishes and spirituality.

Stories with Dori and The Secrets of Ralph and Clara  Laugh and reflect as you listen to stories collected in Dori’s years as a caregiver and hospice volunteer and daughter of folks who were married more than 70 years and lived to age 95.  Their perspectives about marriage, health, work, arguments and how to spend your time include the adage, “if you can laugh through it, you can live through it.”  Also share your own stories in this unique hour of wisdom-gathering.

Dori Gillam is a storyteller, hospice volunteer and certified Gerontologist. She cared for her elder parents for 7 years before their deaths, and believes in aging positively and handling difficult end-of-life discussions with levity and pragmatism.  She has performed “Save My Place,” about her experiences and about her parents’ 70-year marriage and their dying, at many venues. She is the Program Manager for Aging Your Way, at Senior Services, where she engages people in King County to create communities for all.

Dancing in Your Chair: Seated Nia 
Barbara Krauss
, Certified Nia Instructor, leads a class of healing movement & relaxation. Seated Nia builds on the movement practice of Nia (neuro-muscular integrative action), combining gentle flowing movements, yoga-style healing movements, and dance.  The class will change your relationship to your body and the way it moves, increasing sensory awareness and body fitness. The movements are simple and easy, fun and uniquely fulfilling!

Live Long and Prosper: The ‘Blue Zones’ Hold the Secrets 
Jennifer Fry
, MA in Gerontology, leads an informative and interactive session on the lessons learned from the Blue Zones – the 5 places researchers have identified where people live longer and better. Learn the lessons discovered from communities whose life choices have increased their years of life as well as the life in their years.

Happiness is an Inside Job 
Rebecca Crichton
, MA and ED of Northwest Center for Creative Aging, shares some of the tips and tools researchers in Positive Psychology and Neuroscience have shown can make us feel hopeful, happy and satisfied. While we each have a unique path to achieving well-being, we can learn from each other and share what works.

Safe & Sound in the Hospital: Navigating Health Systems 
Robin Shapiro
, President, COO and co-founder of Washington Health State Health Advocates Association (WASHAA), shows how even in the best hospitals, one-third of all patients are harmed by accident. This presentation provides trusted information anyone can use to help safeguard their hospital care. Learn new skills and new confidence to be an effective advocate for your loved ones in the hospital.

Beryl Gorbman, Private Investigator: Scams and Bunco Schemes 
Scam artists are professionals, skilled at taking your money with various tricks and schemes. Often, they target older people.  Expert at gauging us and acting convincing, they often stalk their prey in advance and know something about you. Learn some of the more common scams so you can avoid them.


The Gift of Presence: The Experiences of an End of Life Washington Volunteer
A seasoned volunteer with End of Life Washington (formerly Compassion and Choices Washington) shares stories about supporting people with their end-of-life decisions.

Speaking of Dying: Getting Comfortable and Practical about End-of-Life Issues
Trudy James
speaks and teaches about death and dying with a wise and compassionate heart. Using stories, statistics, and humor, she helps people become more comfortable talking about this natural part of life.

Themed Conversations on Creative Aging

Conversations on Creative Aging invite groups of older adults to engage in intentional dialogues led by trained NWCCA facilitators. Participants engage with others, are motivated to try new things, and are inspired by sharing life experiences. 

Aging Creatively – Living life with intention and discoveryStaying intentional and awake are choices we can make at any age. Being older often gives us time to explore and discover what matters most to us. We’ll discuss what we want to discover in the coming months.

Living our Legacy – How do you want to be remembered? We will talk about what we want our friends and family to learn from us. More than just remembering us, our lives hold lessons and messages we can start sharing now.

The Surprises of Aging – Who knew it would be like this? As one writer says, “Life gets better – not easier – but better.” Most of us don’t know what it will be like to be older. Research indicates we might be pleasantly surprised. What have you learned?

Gratitude – More than Counting Blessings All of the world’s Spiritual Traditions emphasize gratitude as a central practice. How does Gratitude manifest in your life?

Looking Forward – ‘Futuring’ realistically Humans like planning the future and looking forward. We’ll share some of what we still want to create and experience in our lives and ways to make it happen.

“Make new friends and keep the old…” We all know how important friendship is to our lives. What have you learned about making friends as you get older? What kind of a friend are you?

Life Purpose  We’re here for a reason  Reflecting on what we are meant to do can help us clarify goals for our present lives. Knowing our essential values and knowing what “turns us on” can be a path to self-discovery. 

Clearing Space – The liberating effect of ‘Down-sizing’ Most of us want to reduce the ‘stuff’ we don’t want or need anymore, from the tangible to the intangible.  What is mental house-keeping? We’ll share some of our best tips for unburdening ourselves.

Overcoming Limitations – Changing how we see them We can feel limited by a wide variety of things: stereotypes of aging, expectations for family/friends; financial limitations; physical or emotional limitations. We’ll consider some creative ways to overcome or modify these limitations.

Calming Down – What’s Stress got to do with it? We’ll discuss how we deal with stress, including what discussing the value of ‘good’ stress. How do stress and resilience relate to each other? We’ll share the tips for managing stress and increasing resilience.

The Problem of Independence – Moving toward Interdependence Most Americans are steeped in the importance of being independent. Yet we know that from birth to death, we have different levels of independence. What kind of independence do you have or want? What would interdependence look like?

Staying Connected – Strategy for a Full Life As we age, our relationships and responsibilities change. How do we stay connected with our children, our communities and the environment? What does it mean to stay connected with our minds, our bodies, and our spiritual lives? We all have wisdom we can share about this important topic.

Rise and Shine Looking forward to each day relates to living fully. What gets you up every day? What would get you up with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose? We’ll discuss how to infuse our days with the elements that rouse us. 

The ‘Creativity’ Thing Creativity: what is it actually? Where and how does it help us as we age? We’ll discuss how creativity shows up in your life and what seeds of creativity have stayed with you throughout your life. 

Talking About What Scares Us Many of us have fears of Old Age and find it hard to talk about. Bringing our fears out of the dark could change how we see them.  Let’s shed some light on our fears together. 

If Only… We can get bogged down with regrets and remorse for what we did or didn’t do in our lives. We will explore those feeling and share how we can move through them to a place of more compassion.

Dreaming our Future How have living your dreams showed up in your life up to now?  What dreams do you still hope to fulfill after 65? 70?  80?  How do we continue to grow into Elderhood? Sharing our dreams out loud might just help them come true.

True to Ourselves – or Set in Our Ways? What do we love about our lives and how we live them?  We’ll discuss what we can and cannot tolerate and how to deal with issues so we move forward in our relationships.

Who knows you? People closest to you may feel they ‘know’ you. However, you may not have shared part of who you are with them. What stories would you like to share with family and friends but haven’t known how to? We’ll discuss strategies for having meaningful conversations with loved ones. 

Doctors Know Best – Or do they? What do we want and need from our health care providers? How does what we get and what we want differ? We can share stories and strategies to get what we need.

Please Listen! We may think we listen well to others, but do we? Being a good listener means we really hear and understand what others are saying. How do you know when you have been heard and when you are listening well?

Learning Across the Generations It’s easy to have judgments about the other generations, whether they are Boomers, Gen X or Millennials. What prevents or enables us to learn from each other; offering, listening and accepting the wisdom of our elders and our children?