News Release — Vermont Association of Area Agencies on Aging
May 10, 2017
Winooski, VT – Across the nation, we are celebrating Older Americans Month. It is a time of reflection as much as it is a time of projection. When I have conversation with an older person, I hear beautiful life stories. We find that we have things in common, for instance, yesterday, we both were younger. We are more alike than we are different, of course. We both love to smell flowers.
I met a gentleman who is 73 and he talks in a lively way about aging. He continues to work full-time and to exercise and enjoy arts and music. Seventy-three is not old when I look at him. I know a woman who just turned 70. She gardens, loves to shop for cool jewelry, and would love to be in love again to a nice man. I still see her as if she were in her 40’s. Aging is not about being old. It is about being and living, every day, the best way we can. At times, that means we need to recognize and accept that we may not be as independent as we’d like to be.
As we age, we need to find it in ourselves that it is OK to ask for help when we can’t understand how to apply for Medicare, or, compare prescription costs, or try to shop and cook nutritious meas for ourselves. When I talk with people about their needs, they often will tell me “I don’t know what I’d do without the help from those staff.” Who they are referring to are the staff at the local Area Agency on Aging.
I am the Executive Director for the Vermont Association of Area Agencies on Aging. The best part of my job is when I get out and meet people, young and old. The difference of ages becomes woven into a wonderful tapestry. I am especially inspired that young people are in the same line of work as I am. These are staff who work at the five Area Agencies on Aging across the state of Vermont. I hope that they realize that I learn from them in the same way I hope that they learn from me, an older adult. They are my mentors about how they view aging from a younger perspective. I am eager to support our combined (younger and older) efforts to change and adapt our communities to be inclusive for all people. Aging is about a circle of relationships and supports and the five Area Agencies on Aging are here for those who are getting older, and, for their loving families who care for them, to help complete those circles of support.
With regard to Older Americans Month, the national theme this year is “Age Out Loud”. At a recent event, I met several older Vermonters and asked them what that theme means to them:
“Being together with friends.”
“Not take things for granted.”
“To be with family so we’re not so lonely.”
“Being empowered to say what is on your mind.”
Today, more than ever, people need to have a voice and to age out loud. Advocate for adequate health care. Speak-up to our political leaders by sending letters and making phone calls. Write articles and share your stories to local news media. Be empowered no matter how old you are. Age out loud by completing our survey to answer some questions and share your stories at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AgeOutLoud
For details about events happening throughout the state to celebrate Older Americans Month, please visit https://www.vermont4a.org/age-out-loud.html.