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Expect the Best

One Person’s View of Local Older Adults

By Trena Winans, Director of Education & Outreach

Expect the BestIn preparation for his upcoming Lunchtime Learners talk, Chuck Cote posed several thought-provoking questions to me. Sitting back and rereading my answers, I find they offer a snapshot of how I view you, the people we serve, and what I hope to do with our educational programming. This leads me to the natural question, how would you answer these questions and how close was I? So, I offer you a glimpse of these thoughts.

What is the purpose or theme of educational programming at Senior Services?
It truly varies, but our overall purpose is to provide regular opportunities for local older adults to enjoy intellectual engagement, find new inspiration, and get food for thought, conversation, or action.

What are the greatest strengths of the attendees?
The participants here bring an incredible wealth of life experience. This gives them great perspective and a lifetime of learning and memories to draw from in their current life choices.

What are their greatest challenges?
Again, it varies greatly, but many have experienced some level of change and loss. Sometimes that means loss of some level of health, and for others, loss of people close to them. For yet others, it is the adjustment to major changes in identity as they leave a career that perhaps once defined them in some way. Sometimes it means taking on a new challenge such as caregiving a loved one with dementia or another ailment.

What will be the attitude of the group coming into my presentation?
I consistently find them to be interested, curious, and generally open to new ideas and learning.

What would you like the attendees to do better after my program?
Perhaps to be proactive in their lives—to take action to make their health the best it can be. To not be too proud to seek help when they experience changes and challenges in their life. To nourish new and old social connections so that they avoid isolation. To plan in advance for changes in their own health, driving ability, etc., and to communicate thoroughly with their loved ones what their plans and wishes are, rather than waiting until it is an emergency. To find a way to give back to their community meaningfully if they haven’t already. To use their skills, wisdom and perspective to make their life and the lives of others better. To toss out the stereotypes of aging as a time of decline, but instead to show it is a time of value and worth.

So there you have it. What are your thoughts? How would you define your strengths, challenges and attitude? What would you like to do better? What programs, lectures or events do you feel would help you get there? As always, we welcome your ideas and suggestions. After all, we are here to serve you! Be sure to catch Chuck Coté’s presentation on September 16. Click here for details.