Haims: Upcoming speaker series event addreses resiliency and accepting change as we age (column)
If you go …
What: Eagle County Public Health’s 2018 Aging Well Speaker Series.
When: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 30.
Where: Colorado Mountain College, 150 Miller Ranch Road, Edwards.
Aging and age-related diseases can lead to deterioration in both the mind and body. While there is an abundance of information available addressing how to keep the mind and body strong and healthy as we age, there is less information being presented concerning the benefits of positive thought and of an optimistic outlook.
When I was growing up, my aunt was diagnosed with an aggressive and terminal cancer. I remember my parents telling me that her doctors told her that the outlook was not great and that she may have less than a year to live.
While over the following 13 to 14 years she participated in many treatments and research studies, I think what had the most profound effect was her personal resolve and stubbornness. She never, ever complained, nor did she ever show friends and family signs of succumbing to the disease. She was steadfast in her resolution to see her children grow up and be a wife to her husband. Her fortitude was impressive and admirable. In the face of adversity, she smiled.
When life gives us lemons, too frequently, we don’t always make lemonade. Change and adversity often leave us feeling we have little control and challenge our ability to bounce back.
For those who may not face challenge and adversity with the natural ability my aunt had, there is an opportunity to learn some tips and tools to being resilient and able to confront change throughout the aging process.
In the second session of Eagle County Public Health’s Aging Well Speaker Series, Jane W. Barton, author and founder of Cardinal LLC, will speak at the Edwards Campus of Colorado Mountain College on Wednesday, May 30, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. about the process of change, embracing a new way of being and the ability to choose a response to life’s challenges.
Recently, I spoke with Carly Rietmann, Eagle County’s healthy aging supervisor, about the event, its purpose, subject matter and benefits to the community.
Q: What is the purpose of the Aging Well Speaker Series?
A: The purpose of the series is to create awareness of the strong work happening in Eagle County around aging issues, bring to light the changing demographics of the county and to educate and inspire folks as they head into their next 50 years. It’s also meant to create educational opportunities for older adults, their families and friends and everyone who is aging, which is everyone.
Q: How does this topic tie into the speaker series?
A: The speaker series is meant to provide information on all facets of aging and aging well. This topic of resiliency and adapting to change as we age is key in aging well, staying independent/active and also helping to create a stronger mental space as we move through life.
Q: Why does the county’s public health department feel this subject matter important?
A: Eagle County Public Health has put a strong emphasis on aging and aging well since 2011, when the Healthy Aging unit moved from Human Services into Public Health. In 2015, the Eagle County Aging Well Initiative was formed with the lead of the Public Health staff and community partners who have come together to help make Eagle County an age-friendly, livable community for all.
In 2017, Eagle County was designated as an Age-Friendly Community by AARP and the World Health Organization. This designation is only given to communities who show a deep commitment to prioritizing its older adults and who are passionate about making their communities great places for all ages.
Q: Who is the intended audience?
A: The intended audience is anyone and everyone. From the day we are born, we are all aging, and it’s important to break the stigma. This is not a “them versus us” concept; we are all together on the journey of aging, just at different points. The common audiences we are seeing are baby boomers, older seniors and family and friends who are involved in the lives of older adults.
Q: Why should this speaker be of interest to the community?
A: Jane Barton is sponsored by AARP and is a nationally recognized speaker and expert on various topics related to aging well and gracefully. The topic of her talk should be of interest to anyone who is interested in becoming more resilient and who wants to learn how to better cope with change throughout the life span. As they say, change is the only constant.
Q: Where can people find out more about the Aging Well Speaker Series?
A: People can visit the Eagle County Aging Well Facebook page to get updates, email healthyaging@eagle county.us or call 970-328-8896.
If you have a desire to learn how you can enhance your quality of life as you age, then please consider attending this event.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. Contact him at 970-328-5526 or visit http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns.
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