Healthy living and growing old(er)

By Joanne Peterson | May 02, 2013

Last Friday afternoon I attended the Healthy Living Fair at the Edmonds Senior Center.  It appears that if anyone of retirement age has concerns about health, transportation, retirement living, assistance in the home, conquering loneliness or is interested in singing, dancing or volunteering, the local senior center is a good place to explore.

The Healthy Living Fair adds a rich opportunity to gather information on issues important to those of us who are past the point of thinking vaguely about the prospects of—someday—aging.

Three or four years ago, I experienced a firm reminder that I am no longer the 50-year-old I still occasionally feel that I am.

Perhaps you recall my tale of an incredible bus trip from snowy Idaho to snowy Spokane, the night spent on a Red Cross cot in the Spokane bus station, the tedious trip from Spokane to snowy Seattle, the night spent mostly in the Seattle bus depot and then a few hours shared in a downtown motel with a batch of exhausted friendly strangers who together trekked through empty Seattle streets thick with ankle-deep snow.

The firm reminder that I am an Older Woman? That came when a teen-aged boy offered me his seat on an over-crowded Greyhound bus in the dark of night that snowy trip and then stood in the aisle next to me and phoned his dad.

“I just gave up my seat to an elderly woman,” he said, proudly.  I was too exhausted to stand up and insist on trading places with him, but I hated being labeled elderly. (There must be a better word, and I’d prefer it not have “silver” or “golden” attached to it. I don’t really want to be an “honored citizen”—I just want to be myself, only older/wiser/better.)

Back to the Healthy Living Fair at the Edmonds Senior Center-- I guess if I couldn’t acknowledge my “senior” status, I wouldn’t have been interested in attending.

What did I like the best about that afternoon?  I liked that there seemed to be something for everyone, from free lunches to professional services to the spectacular view of the Edmonds beach at low tide. Laughter and conversation filled the building.

I liked the Edmonds Lions Health Screening Unit in its big truck parked outside the Senior Center, offering checks for glaucoma, diabetes, hearing loss and blood pressure.  Not only did I appreciate the opportunity for health screening, I liked the cheerful and generous individuals participating in the service.

If anyone of retirement age in Edmonds lacks a sense of community, it appears that the Edmonds Senior Center is a great place to find activity and purpose.

This reminds me of something else I recommend:  Creative Retirement Institute classes.  A few May-June class openings remain, including “Glorious Medieval Spain,” “A Historical Survey of the Aviation/Aerospace Industry: End of WWll to Present-Day Jet Age,” and “A Glimpse of The Works of Gore Vidal,” plus others. Call 425-640-1806 for information or check www.edcc.edu/cri.

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