Every day, it seems the news is full of stories about young prodigies and talented children working to make the world a better place. We hear even more about skilled adults in the workplace changing the lives of the people and the community around them, sometimes even on an international scale. But what about the elderly population in our communities? Where are their stories of inspiration and perseverance?
The book Late Boomers, besides being a clever play on words, strives to bring such stories of the elderly to light.
So-called “late boomers” are people who have made inspirational differences both in their lives and in the community around them later in life, often after retirement. The accomplishments of these late boomers range from becoming the oldest female contestant on the NBC show “American Ninja Warrior” to saving over two thousand dogs from high-kill shelters.
And it just so happens that one such inspirational late boomer fares from Atlanta.
Meet David Deutchman, former Senior VP of International Sales at Maidenform Worldwide and current “ICU Grandpa” at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“I didn’t realize I’d see a side of life that most people never imagine and couldn’t imagine,” Deutchman says about his experiences at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
After retiring from his position as VP, Deutchman bounced around from consulting to giving guest lectures at local universities. However, he still felt he could contribute more to the Atlanta community. And contribute he did at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
His service started in teaching school-age children who needed to stay at the hospital for longer periods of time. After several encounters with tearful mothers of hospital-bound children, his service switched from education to comforting and empathizing with the families of patients. But his title as the ICU Grandpa would only become established after being informed by a nurse of a lonely baby.
“I went and talked to the baby,” Deutchman says. “A nurse said, ‘Would you like to hold her?’ I picked her up and she put her head on my shoulder and I fell in love. That was the end of me.”
While Deutchman continues his work supporting mothers and older children, he has since dedicated himself to holding babies—rocking, cuddling, and singing to them. With his role in the infant ICU unit, he takes some work off the shoulders of busy nurses and fraught mothers. He estimates in his fourteen years of working as the ICU Grandpa that he has held over two thousand babies.
Even after supporting such a vast number of babies and their families, Deutchman says he remembers many of them and keeps in touch with the mothers he worked with.
“I’m going to continue to stay in touch with ‘My Moms,’” Deutchman says. “I take them to lunch and keep in touch. I love doing that.”
In his line of work, Deutchman has touched the lives of countless families and nurses in Atlanta. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has been forever changed by Deutchman’s commitment to the community.
David Deutchman was just one of the many inspirational people the author of Late Boomers, Jeri Bernstein, interviewed.
“You know, people my age, or even older, don’t feel like curling up or giving up, for that matter,” says Bernstein. “People are healthier and more engaged in life, sometimes more than they ever have been,” says Bernstein.
Plenty of experience from her own life proved this: even as a mother of four and grandmother of two, Bernstein manages to participate in CrossFit three times a week and work as a freelance copywriter. But after an experience interviewing residents of an Atlanta retirement community and hearing their stories, she wasn’t satisfied with just that; she set out to find the accounts of the most extraordinary accomplishments of late boomers around the world.
“Quite frankly, they weren’t that hard to find,” Bernstein says. “Which I think says a lot about the Baby Boomer generation and how ambitious and vibrant they are.”
The entirety of Late Boomers is a testament to the tenacity of the human race and proves that age doesn’t define us. Each story of every person featured in the book, from a woman in her 50s becoming a roller derby skater to the author herself, serves as an example of how anyone can start the journey toward achieving their dreams at any age. Age doesn’t limit how far humans can push boundaries into spaces never explored before.
It’s as Bernstein loves to say: “There’s plenty of gas left in the tank.”
Got a story to tell? Jeri can be reached at Jeri@LateBoomersRock.com
Want to read more stories about “Late Boomers”, visit lateboomersrock.com.