Aging Out Loud – with dignity, optimism and gusto

Theme of Older Americans Month, May 2017, is “Age Out Loud”.  The idea of the Administration for Community Living, the lead sponsor of the campaign, is to “amplify the many voices of older Americans.”

Surely, Aging Out Loud is a worthy goal.  If I have a concern it is the need to focus on the message as well as the medium.   As I struggled to come to grips with my own wonderment about the message, I happened to hear a recording of the message that former Vice President Joe Biden shared recently with an audience in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Biden focused with precision on the values that he believes are missing from the national conversation ongoing in this country today.  The values he stressed are just three:

  • dignity,
  • optimism,
  • the willingness to do big things.

The values of dignity, optimism, and the willingness to do big things seem to me in synch with the aspirations, and thus the message, appropriate to Aging Out Loud.  For older Americans hope rests in dignity, optimism and a willingness to do big things.  First among those “big things” is an irresistible — too often repressed — need to share  stories.    Aging out loud can and should be a selfless, other-centered expression of dignity, optimism and willingness to do big things.

On a practical note, sponsors of OAM have created a wealth of timely promotional materials that amplify the voices of older Americans.  The frequently updated list of materials is readily accessible here:  https://oam.acl.gov/2017/activities.html.

Locally, public agencies and nonprofits, the faith community, neighborhood organizations and countless other entities will host OAM events.  One that caught my eye is coming up this Saturday, May 6 – it’s the Age Out Loud Run/Walk at Lake Como  in St Paul’s beautiful Como Park.  The whole family is welcome to participate in the 1.67 mile run/walk around Lake Como’s wheelchair accessible path.  There will be prizes, snacks and family-friendly activities at this free event (http://helpatyourdoor.org/help-at-your-doors-age-out-loud-run-and-walk-event/)

If you or a friend would prefer to  age in the quiet comfort of a cushy rocker, you might want to read out loud some verses from this special collection (http://www.librarything.com/topic/18341).  The collection reflects the Age Out Loud theme — though I doubt it’s what the sponsors had in mind…

I was hugely relieved to discover there was a purpose 

for girls with loud voices.     Betty Buckley, actress

 

 

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