Aging with Purpose
Welcome to Age Well’s first 2017 blog post! With the holiday season behind us, I want to share with you some of our exciting plans for the coming year.
Our name change last year (from CVAA to Age Well) signified a new way of thinking about the process of growing older. Instead of dreading or denying the reality of aging, Age Well believes that we should embrace and celebrate it. We’re committed to maximizing quality of life by enabling our community to approach the aging process with confidence, determination and purpose.
In the months ahead, Age Well will continue to roll out new programs and strategies designed to enhance the health and well-being of the people we serve, placing an emphasis on monitoring and optimizing our clients’ health and wellness.
We want to give the people we serve the tools to stay well so they can age well. From Age Well’s founding, more than 40 years ago, we’ve been committed to helping people age with dignity and independence, but realize that poor health, medical emergencies and lack of support can quickly thwart those efforts. At Age Well, we understand that the best recipe for keeping people at home and in control of their lives, is a culture of wellness and prevention. We help seniors pay attention to red flags and warning signs to keep poor health and chronic disease at bay.
One of the keys to successful aging is a determination to face the aging process head on. William Ernest Henley’s famous poem, Invictus, captures this idea perfectly:
“The years shall find me unafraid. I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”
Invictus inspires us to age on our own terms, to define our own aging process, rather than allowing aging to define us. We want the people we serve to feel unconquerable.
And the last piece of the puzzle is aging with purpose. Remarkably, we have reached the point where we have to redefine what it means to be a “Senior” and even when we become “Seniors.” Vermonters are now living in the Era of the Third Age, when people retiring can expect that a third of their life still lies ahead. So, to borrow from the title of a Po Bronson’s bestselling book, many of us find ourselves asking, What Should I Do with the Rest of My Life?
At Age Well, we’re convinced that humans have an innate, primal need to know our purpose. We need to know that, in some way, there’s a point to our existence. We need to know that, over the course of our lives – we have somehow made a difference, left a mark. But, too often, our careers and busy lives fail to answer this essential question. Many of us reach retirement and begin to ask ourselves: “Is there something I can do now that would keep me busy and fulfilled?” “Now that I’m retired, how can I give something back and make a difference in someone else’s life?”
At Age Well, we’re also in the business of helping people to answer those questions. With over 1,000 volunteers -- and more retirees raising their hands every week, we work hard to help seniors in the Third Age find their purpose and, in the process, find fulfillment and joy by helping others. Ask almost anyone who has donated their time to Age Well. They’ll tell you that they received far more out of the experience than they gave, that their modest investment of time has been repaid many times over by seeing the impact that their volunteerism has on the people they’ve helped.
Indeed, this is about more than answering the question, “What should I do with my free time?” When we first start volunteering, what is so striking, so startling about the experience is how satisfied and how rewarded we feel. We soon realize that this about something more profound and significant than merely donating our time. There is nobility of purpose in volunteering to help the marginalized and vulnerable members of our community. When we help lift them up, we find ourselves elevated as well. A Meals on Wheels volunteer driver may bring food to a homebound senior, but it is the driver’s soul that is fed by the experience.
In the year ahead, we hope you’ll join our Age with Purpose Campaign. We promise it will be one of the most rewarding, heartwarming experiences of your life. Are you interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities with Age Well? If so, please click HERE.
Best wishes for a purposeful 2017,
Mike Hall, Age Well CEO