Seniors Week all year round

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Wednesday Journal, once again, is to be commended for focusing special attention in its May 1 issue on "Celebrating Seniors Week." The events that issue highlighted run through May 9. They include Chair Yoga, An Introduction to Conscious Aging Workshops, Fall Prevention for Seniors, and Choosing the Right Contractor.

More and more organizations are increasing their focus on senior services or have been created to do so, such that there is now a wide variety of service and/or educational providers. 

Oak Park's mayor and the village trustees initiated a village-wide effort by forming the Aging in Place Commission. Oak Park Township Services provides an extensive array of programs. The Center for Gerontology at Concordia will continue to share invaluable information and advice about understanding the complexities of aging. And people are working on establishing more effective methods of making all such information readily available.

Such institutional help is critical. But, individually, how much are we doing? I could go on and on about how pervasive elder abuse and neglect are. But this is a time (and should not be the only time), to celebrate our Seniors. 

I had a Social History professor who lectured extensively on how families separated in the latter half of the 20th century, often by great differences, with the advent of modern modes of transportation and communication. Indeed, many of our aging relatives now live far away and, as a result, we only occasionally see them. Why don't we celebrate them by talking more often on a deeper level? 

And let's celebrate those closer to home by spending time with them more often than just on holidays. We can celebrate them by encouraging our children to start learning about their life experiences and accomplishments. We can take them to musical and dramatic events, lectures, quiet concerts, and myriad entertainment and educational opportunities. We can also just sit quietly at home or in the park and share our joys and concerns.

We can celebrate our seniors by continuing to show them our appreciation for all they did for us. In many cases they sacrificed a great deal so we could have opportunities they never did. Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa. Let's try to be better at providing ways to make their lives more meaningful and enjoyable. 

Wouldn't we want the same?

Lance Taylor

Oak Park

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