Food For Thought : Engage at Every Age
Older Americans Month is observed annually in the month of May and promoted by The Administration of Aging. The theme this year is Engage at Every Age, emphasizing you are never too old to take part in activities to enhance physical, mental and emotional well-being. For some, age is a reality, as friends and neighbors enter nursing homes or hospice care. For others, including myself, it’s more a frame of mind. Approaching Social Security age and being asked about retirement, I forget I’m "old". But age is just a number. And we know it’s not about the number.
One tenant of this year’s theme is "Reinvent yourself". Whether you are planning for retirement or simply looking to get involved in new activities, start by thinking about your skills, dreams, and passions:
- Update your resume and start looking at job posts. Trader Joe’s looks like fun!
- Learn – classes are available for seniors at UNF Learning for Lifetime program.
- Express yourself through arts – visit art walks around town for inspiration.
- Learn a new language and travel. (E quanto a Portugal?)
- Volunteer – BEAM (Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry) is always looking for volunteers.
- Do Yoga – great for body, mind and spirit.
My mother did just that. After raising 4 children, she studied to take the Registered Dietitian exam and be able to practice again. This required completing a clinical nutrition class at the University of Nebraska, and I remember when she got an A. She worked until she was 77 as a dietitian for the Nebraska Health Department and was on the first team when nursing homes were required to be inspected. She worked hard to improve conditions for those in the homes and loved her work.
She was active in the garden and rose beds, made her own wine, and volunteered by making quilts to take to “the old people” in the nursing homes for raffles. She also subbed for the manager at the senior center. She passed on Veteran’s day awhile back and was honored with a 21-gun salute after serving in World War II. She lived in her home until age 92.
So let’s not just observe, let’s celebrate older Americans. As Katharine Hepburn said when asked about how she felt about getting older, “Why, there’s no one getting younger”.
And as you’re reinventing yourself, don’t forget to Be You.