When you’ve spent most of your life learning to make a living, how do you make the transition to learning for the simple sake of learning?
For many people older than 50, that’s a familiar situation.
As a result of the learning we’ve done so far, we have been able to provide for our families. But, after a certain age at which we no longer have to worry as much about making a living, or our nest is empty, we may face the question: What do we do now?
For older adults who live in rural areas—such as Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, and who prefer not to venture far from home, PrimeTime Health offers classes in a number of community settings, reaching people where they live.
For example, our “Healthy Steps” classes take place in a variety of community settings, including senior community centers and even department stores. As a result, I have seen so many people benefit from this program designed to reduce people’s chances of falling. Developed by the state Department of Aging and the University of California at Berkley, the program is a proven way to reduce this risk, with the two-session series including a personal risk assessment, a balance evaluation, exercise and a home safety checklist. Think of the significant impact a serious fall can have on a frail older adult—and you can easily visualize how important such a program can be!
In our area, we also offer a “Healthier Living with Diabetes” class that runs for six weeks. Brand-new to Schuylkill County in 2016, the program, which was developed by Stanford University, covers topics such as managing symptoms, exercise, medication and working with health-care providers.
Living just down the road from Sweet Arrow Lake County Park in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, has been a blessing in so many ways.
The location has made it convenient for my husband, Barry, and me to take advantage of all the park has to offer. The facilities have served as gathering places for family reunions, a way to fish and kayak with friends, and geocaching—an outdoor recreational activity in which participants use a GPS mobile device or other navigational methods to hide and then seek containers—with our children.
The park also has served as a venue for learning how to plant a garden, worshiping at sunrise on Easter Sunday, and just taking a walk to the waterfalls with my Mom.
Why volunteer? Why not? A meals on wheels volunteer, Barbara Carduff, shares her reasoning:
“I work at Schuylkill Medical Center South and a coworker of mine volunteers for Meals on Wheels and said they were in need of someone in Shenandoah[, Pennsylvania,] for Wednesdays. My daughter, who is a nursing student, was off from classes that day so we thought, why not?
I recently had the opportunity to tour the five senior community centers Diakon operates in Schuylkill County, Pa., under contract with the county Office of Senior Services.
These community centers offer a variety of programs and services geared to people who are 60 and older, though lots of programs are open to those of all ages. In addition to daily programs and services, the centers offer nutritionally balanced lunch-time meals at each location, as well as delivered via the Diakon-sponsored Meals on Wheels program to people in the community who have difficulty leaving their homes.