Jane Jarlsberg | Ep 85

A native of Michigan, Jane and her then husband moved to Southern California in the late 60's. A trip with her young family to Indian Cove, near Joshua Tree National Park, planted the seed for Jane's love of the desert.

Jane first came to live in the desert in the 80's under very different circumstances: divorced, homeless, seeking affordable housing and running away from LA's cocaine scene. Then, to escape a partner who'd entered the desert speed scene, Jane headed to the coast of Northern California and would not return to live in the desert for nearly 25 years. She came back three years ago, thinking she would purchase a small plot of land, using it to park her camper for intermittent desert escapes. With a home loan through a government program and the reasonable price of real estate, Jane became a homeowner - something she thought would not be possible at her age. She actually discovered the house exactly two years ago and made the offer on it on Earth Day two years ago.

A graduate of USC's Masters in Gerontology program , Jane's interest in aging started in the 1970's working with the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation, coordinating programs for all ages at a park in Inglewood. She then moved on to a position as Director of the Senior Center in Lafayette Park. Jane left Parks and Rec to take a job in the Admittance Office of USC. There, she consulted as USC developed a Masters in Gerontology program. She was so interested in the program, she applied and was accepted, graduating with her Masters. Jane loved the classes as now uses that knowledge and her own 77 years of life experience in her role as a Senior Assembly Legislator for the California Senior Legislature.

Jane says she had an aging crisis when she turned 60. Never believing she would make it to her 60th birthday, she sought out the assistance of a therapist to cope and reminds us that with people living longer, particularly the large Baby Boomer generation who may not have saved enough for retirement, homelessness, drug abuse and mental illness are still a part of this large aging population - some of the issues she actively works on in her position as Senior Assembly Legislator.

A peace activist and videographer, Jane has participated in and videotaped demonstrations and police actions.

In this episode we also discuss her love of educational and community television.

Jane's Composting Toilet Video