A week ago I was in a group that came up with these fabulous resolutions for 2022:
- Be more present to the moment
- Do more of what I enjoy
- Go see someone I love
- Take better care of my health
- Have more fun
What more could we wish for in this coming year?! Given that we’ve been in COVID for two years now, we can use all of these aspirations.
At an age-friendly presentation last year, I remember a participant sharing that her children no longer listened to her. She was in her 80s and living happily independently. She confessed that, alas, her opinion wasn’t valued anymore by her offspring. With a rueful laugh, she shared her coping technique: let them say what they wanted and hold her tongue.
Until recently, elders were recognized for the value of their lifelime collections of knowledge and experience. By the time someone reached their 60s, they had raised children, managed the paths of jobs or a career, and learned life lessons from challenges they faced.
It’s different today. Immense knowledge and experience are at our fingertips. My daughters rely on their online mothers’ groups to give them advice about raising children. Young adults can find out all they need online to do any task they can imagine. Without intentional exclusion, elders today have been rendered redundant by information online. Yet, all of us still need the real-time connection of family, friends, and community. That need hasn’t gone away. Recognizing my own need to connect, this year I plan to disconnect technology enough that I can be more present to the moment.
In terms of doing more enjoyable things AND seeing someone I love, I’m making plans to visit my sister and my cousins. I’m not alone in making plans either. I had to stand in line to get my passport renewal photo with all the others who had the same idea! The photographer said that he’s been busy taking passport photos – all for those of us with our fingers crossed, hopeful to travel again soon.
Let’s talk about better care of our health. We’ve had two years of physical atrophy from sheltering at home and of isolation from people and activities that gave us meaning and purpose in life. Older people have been profoundly affected by the guidance to stay at home. They had to give up volunteering and stop the daily activities that kept them active and fit. The isolation had a marked impact on cognitive wellness for people living alone. We have some advocacy to do for older adults who should not be forgotten in mental health programs. The good work of Aging&Adult Services and the County’s Open Space staff needs to be expanded across local and County agencies so that people can open their doors and get active once again.
Finally, we must bring fun back! Share good news with your staff and celebrate the wins. AAI has things to celebrate. Funding from the County that we can use for equity innovation grants. A County project to consider how best to help the increasing number of older adults in need in Marin in the next decade. A collaboration with Marin Center for Independent Living for advocacy this spring. The start up of the Marin Aging & Disability Institute in 2022. Receipt of a SCAN grant for AAI’s 2022 convening.
I look forward to hearing if any of these resolutions match up with yours, and what you’re celebrating these days. See you around Marin ~
Til next month ~ Linda