Milton Independent: How can older adults stay busy in Chittenden County? Here are five ideas to get you thinking

What can older adults do to stay active, happy and busy, especially as the weather gets colder in Chittenden County? 

While the answer will differ for everyone, your local paper has gathered a list of ideas specifically for older adults to stay engaged in their communities. 

Visit the library

Town libraries offer all residents a variety of resources to stay entertained and informed.

Many libraries offer free help with cell phones, computers and other electronic devices to those who need it, including older adults. 

Volunteers who help patrons with their technology needs meet monthly on the second and fourth Wednesday and Thursday afternoons at Milton Public Library. Brownell Library in Essex Junction also offers technology help every Monday and Wednesday from noon-1 p.m. Be sure to schedule your appointments in advance.

Libraries also offer the opportunity to meet new people while learning new skills at the same time. Burnham Memorial Library in Colchester offers drop-in yoga, MahJong and a book discussion group.

For some programs, you don’t even need to leave the house, as they are conducted completely or partly virtually. Burnham Memorial Library offers a virtual needle crafters group, and Brownell Library offers a Current Events Discussion group that you can join virtually if desired.

Join a town commission

While getting involved in town politics isn’t for everyone, some people may find it rewarding to give back to their community through public service.

Many towns are trying to fill vacancies in positions that make valuable decisions about how taxpayer money is spent and identify priorities for how members of town government should use their time and energy.

While any adult can join a commission in their town, older adults may find it easier to fully participate in these roles if they are retired and have more time to spend.

Check out your town’s website to see what vacancies are available and how to apply for a position. 

Take a class with the recreation department

Town recreation departments often host free and lower-cost events and classes for all residents and sometimes nonresidents of a particular town. 

While it pays to sign up on the early side depending on the event, you can meet new people and possibly learn or improve a skill such as baking or painting for a lower cost than a traditional class at a local university. Plus, you can often get to know the members of your community way better this way!

MiltonColchester and Essex Town have formal brochures that provide information about their program offerings early. Also, check out their Facebook pages!

Get involved with a historical society

Curious about the history of your community? Those with a knack for preservation and reverence for where they’re from or where they’ve moved to might enjoy getting involved in their town or area’s historical society.

These societies are often attached to historical buildings and hold meetings about historical topics such as coin collection and historical clothing. Many also have volunteer opportunities to keep their operations going.

For example, the Colchester Historical Society is offering a free talk on the history of immigration law in the United States from 7-8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 16 at its headquarters at 828 Main Street.

Volunteer at a local nonprofit

For those with a generous spirit, there are many nonprofit organizations that help all types of people and are looking for volunteers who can make a difference.

For example, Essex CHIPS is seeking volunteers to help provide a fun substance-free environment at their teen center and to help fundraise to support their programs.

On a more regional level, there are organizations such as Age Well, which runs Northwest Vermont’s Meals on Wheels program, and United Way of Northwest Vermont, which helps meet a variety of local needs such as teaching financial literacy and raising awareness about mental health.

Written by: Jean MacBride for the Milton Independent

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