September 29, 2011

The Buzz of the Life

Who makes the rules anyway about how we age and move through our next 50 years?  Personally “I want to be all used up before I die” a George Bernard Shaw quote I interpret as “let’s give it our best”.   
It warms my heart to read about aging seniors who are living a full life and getting involved in their community. A social person myself, I also enjoy being around others of like mind, learning and it appears there are lots of us out there who also prefer this buzz of activity.  That might be at the local senior’s center or perhaps the local coffee shop, but any morning both are bustling.
The atmosphere of a local senior centre any morning is enough inspiration to want to start a new hobby or take a class.  Recent stories in the media showcase the “New Age-ing” who work out in seniors exercise parks, enjoy fitness every day, or are taking classes at local universities.  While there is a large bulge of aging seniors enjoying what their community has to offer we must be cognisant that there are others who are not. Recognizing that some people are content to simply enjoy family and close friends and choose not to participate in such buzz, we do however know that there are many others who might be nervous, home bound, financially restricted or challenged by heath issues and have no choice.  Let’s not forget them. 
Community projects are being developed and sponsored by the local health authorities to help increase access, social participation and inclusion of these isolated seniors through volunteer based outreach programs.  Referrals can also be made to community services for additional support.  Some programs begin by building trust with the peer support worker in the clients home through conversation.  This might lead to visiting the buzz of the local senior center or coffee shop eventually wanting to get involved in a community program with others.  
As children of aging parents we too could have these conversations with our parents and see how we might help them engage in their community or explore their wishes.
At any age there are opportunities to get connected to your community but sometimes circumstances merely get in the way. 
Published BC Black Press September 2011

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