Ode to Aging Well and Equitably


At the final week of our 2021 Forum, Amplifying All Voices in Aging, we were joined by founder of RENT Poet/Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace. Complementing our focus on technical aspects of the work we do to transform care for older adults, Mr. Sonia-Wallace authored a poem in real time to bring us back to the heart of the matter: What do we mean by “aging well” and “aging equitably”? Read the poem and learn more about RENT Poet.

Date Updated: 10/29/2021

Ode to Aging Well and Equitably

For the TSF Forum


A world flooded with virtual opportunities reaches for community.

Pursues purpose. Grows toward gratitude;

The social determinants of health. Determinant, from the Latin:

De – completely, terminare – terminate. 

Social determinants. The end of the line.


Beginning of the panel.

Context: By 2024 elders will outnumber youth.

Content: Telehealth. Reporting. Equity.

Bowtie. Houseplant. In the Zoom background,

a child’s handwritten sign: I love you. Let’s begin there.


With new newsroom appetites for in-home health coverage,

hidden inequalities cry for storytellers at the intersection.

He takes a leave from academia for practice, says aging well in place research gets stuck in place, chronically, that literature can leave half the world out, data’s redlining legacies in the faculty breakroom show our definitions, broken.


How big does a disparity have to be to warrant action?

What outcome do we follow? 

What North Star maps our aspirations?


A universal right to access cracks on the digital divide, economies manifest in broadband, in who suffers, who gets to engage

in the new civil society we’re building, temporary and unadvertised. 6 million people unconnected or under-connected, reflected in who’s missing from the narrative as dollars flow around them.


So we open the lens beyond nursing homes, onto coverage and care, COVID and Say Their Names. 2020 showed us how fast we can move, when we want to. We are building a will. 

From the Gothic waljan: to choose.

From the Old English wel: riches.


We choose hope. Our currency is information. Is access.

Let’s take some questions from the chat.

Let’s chat. Share questions. Take care.

In the video, the grandchild says, “I care because I love.”

Remember, this is our beginning.

The grandparent, playing dominoes, says, “I’m never tired

when I’m winning.”