May is #OlderAmericansMonth, and the 2023 theme from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living and Administration on Aging is "Aging Unbound." This theme, they say, offers an opportunity to explore diverse aging experiences and discuss how communities can combat stereotypes.
Our Internal Medicine department is passionate about promoting flexible thinking about aging – and how we all benefit when older adults remain engaged, independent, and included. We had the opportunity to chat with Internist Dr. Amy Fothergill, about the importance of honoring this observance and aging patients.
"Oftentimes, the face of our clinic is expectant parents and smiling babies. This May, we take time to honor a different population--aging and older Americans. Many of our older patients have been with our clinic for decades and feel like family to us. Growing older in America can have its unique sets of challenges but also opportunities. The wisdom, history, and lived experience of older Americans are invaluable assets that we strive to honor this month. The theme of this year's Older American Month is Aging Unbound. Growing older and aging is not a single experience. It can also be a time of continued personal growth and exploration but also, for some, a time of loneliness. Connecting with others continues to be important at this stage of life. We are fortunate in Madison to have a number of resources for connection and growth of older Americans." -Dr. Amy Fothergill
About Older Americans Month
Established in 1963, Older Americans Month (OAM) is celebrated every May. Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), OAM is a time for us to acknowledge the contributions and achievements of older Americans, highlight important trends, and strengthen our commitment to honoring our older citizens.
This year’s theme, Aging Unbound, offers an opportunity to explore a wide range of aging experiences and to promote the importance of enjoying independence and fulfillment by paving our own paths as we age.
This month recognizes the 60th anniversary of OAM and challenges the narrative on aging. Here are some ways we can all participate in Aging Unbound:
Embrace the opportunity to change. Find a new passion, go on an adventure, and push boundaries by not letting age define your limits. Invite creativity and purpose into your life by trying new activities in your community to bring in more growth, joy, and energy.
Explore the rewards of growing older. With age comes knowledge, which provides insight and confidence to understand and experience the world more deeply. Continue to grow that knowledge through reading, listening, classes, and creative activities.
Stay engaged in your community. Everyone benefits when everyone is connected and involved. Stay active by volunteering, working, mentoring, participating in social clubs, and taking part in activities at your local senior center or elsewhere in the community.
Form relationships. As an essential ingredient of well-being, relationships can enhance your quality of life by introducing new ideas and unique perspectives. Invest time with people to discover deeper connections with family, friends, and community members.
Resources from Dr. Fothergill
Madison Public Library: Senior Events
Senior Learning Opportunities at UW–Madison
The Senior Learning Program in UW–Madison Continuing Studies coordinates programs and establishes partnerships that meet the learning and enrichment needs of age 50+ adults in the greater Madison area and beyond. CLICK HERE to learn more.
The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Dane County provides information about resources and support on all aspects of life related to aging or living with a disability. The ADRC is a one-stop shop for older adults, people with disabilities and their caregivers and families. ADRC staff are unbiased and knowledgeable professionals who listen to your concerns, help clarify your options and direct you to appropriate resources. The ADRC is also the access point for information about long-term care options and applying for public benefits. Services provided by the ADRC are free and available to all Dane County residents regardless of income or assets. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Madison Senior Center
Goodman Community Center
The Goodman Community Center is a space for gathering, and they host a variety of events to bring members of the senior community together for fun activities and good conversation. Your health and wellness are important to them, so they also offer a variety of physical and mental health opportunities too. All of this is wrapped up in a community that is welcoming, warm, and inclusive. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Have another resource to share? Drop it in the comments!