“I’ve felt it’s either get out and do something or sit at home and feel sorry for myself. So if I ever start feeling sorry for myself, I put my shoes on and take a little run somewhere.”
These are the words of 80 year old Anne Garrett, who set a pending American record of 2:13:23 in her 80-84 age group at the Surf City USA Half Marathon in Huntington Beach California. As reported in Runner’s World & Running, Ms. Garrett tells us that “[Running has] made me more aware of who I am and it has helped me not to feel sorry for myself, not to get depressed,” Garrett said.
Running became a way of dealing with the stress of a way of dealing with the stress of her husband’s illness. He suffered from Alzheimer’s for seven years. After he died in 2011, Anne found that running helped her cope with her grief.
“With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older” – an excerpt
By Beth Baker from the website of the Center for a New American Dream (www.NewDream.org)
Beth Baker is the author of With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older, which tackles the issues of community and aging in place. Below is an excerpt from Beth’s timely, important new work.
As I was completing the manuscript of [my] book, our neighbor Ann sent an email inviting those of us on our block who are 60 and older to a potluck. She and her husband Merrill wanted to discuss aging in place here in our neighborhood. “I realize that for now, everyone’s mostly healthy and independent, so there might not be too much interest just yet,” she wrote. “But if there is, we’d like to discuss what, if anything, folks have thought about becoming aged, staying in our homes, and building some kind of cooperative network among us.”
We have a close-knit neighborhood, but still, Ann was surprised when 22 people from a three-block area crowded into their living room. Over plates of baked ziti, chicken, and salad, we began a discussion that echoed the themes in the pages of this book. All but one couple, who plan to move to a continuing care retirement community when they reach their early 70s, want to remain on the street. The questions flowed: How would we make our homes accessible? How would we ensure that people felt comfortable asking for help? What kinds of help were reasonable to expect? Should we include the younger families in our network?
The Blog by Rachel Anderson
Aging at home sounds so normal. Indeed, throughout most of human history it’s been the norm. Yet there are issues. (Of course there are issues. This is a blog.)
Often, people say they want to age in place because they know where their friends are, their support team (from doctors to hairdressers and mechanics), their shops and shopkeepers and of course, their family members and friends.
But nothing stays the same forever, so I asked AARP Foundation’s Walter Woods, a vice president, programs-Isolation Impact Area, what happens as all those connections themselves age, shut down, move away, sicken or even die?
Plus, suburbs. So many people live in areas with inadequate transit.
The Blog by Rachel Anderson
The numbers are coming in about a rising problem with social connectedness among older adults. It’s not about their social status, as it might have been in younger years. Rather, it’s about how entrenched they are in robust social networks. Do they have enough social resources to stay safely independent? Do they feel connected and secure?
The answers to those questions can have startling implications for their health.
Once again, we turn for insight to AARP Foundation’s Walter Woods, a vice president, programs-Isolation Impact Area. He rattles off the data – that lack of close personal connections raises the odds of dying early (almost as much as poverty does the same); that our bodies don’t like being alone and tell us in a thousand ways — through higher blood pressure, more stress hormone, greater inflammation, poor sleep and depression.