2013-12-27 / Senior Savvy

Resolve to Be in the Arena

By Florence Archambault

Being able to cope with life and its trials is not limited to the holiday season. Managing our lives in a way that will add to our peace of mind should be a priority.

Keeping busy is an effective way to combat the loneliness that we may sometimes feel. Although not everyone is as extroverted as I am, there is something in our community for every interest. Start with your church. I go to prayer group, knit prayer shawls, and enjoy the women’s group activities at mine.

You might also consider joining the local chapter of the AARP, which meets the third Monday of each month at Vasco de Gama Hall on Fenner Avenue in Newport. They present monthly programs featuring interesting speakers and plan trips to plays and concerts offisland. If you’re adventurous, you can even take advantage of the overseas trips that they sponsor. I just came back from a week in Italy. Nice trip, but too much rain.

If you don’t already participate, an ideal way to be more involved is through one of the senior centers on the island. They all have so much to offer, including many classes. Now is the time to join, because the centers are beginning to plan their calendars for the new year, adding new classes to the roster of regular favorites. Chances are that something will be of interest to you. Special programs often show free movies and provide hot lunches five days a week. In addition to the fun things, the centers provide informative programs on medical problems and financial issues that seniors may face. No wheels? Take advantage of the RIDE program that provides transportation to seniors.

Don’t forget the libraries. In addition to offering books and magazines to pique the interest of every reader, they also host lectures on many topics. You can meet a favorite author or make the acquaintance of a new one at book signings, and book clubs provide an additional source of good company with others sharing your interests.

Many other organizations such as the Newport Art Museum, the Newport Historical Society, Salve Regina University, and the Preservation Society offer programs covering a myriad of subjects. It seems like Aquidneck Island has plenty to do once you decide where your interests lie.

Of course, you can also take advantage of the volunteer activities that abound in our community. Many of these opportunities can be found in the pages of this newspaper.

It’s all up to you. If you decide that you don’t have the energy to maintain the life you used to lead because of age, illness, or other reasons, then cut back and focus on the things you really want to do. If you are not a gadabout but nevertheless want to enrich your life with new friends or new adventures, you must take the initiative to do so.

Now that I’ve gotten down from my soap box, I want to wish you all a happy holiday season, no matter which holiday you celebrate. I have really enjoyed writing this column and hope to do it forever. Happy New Year! May all your wishes and hopes be fulfilled.

Florence Archambault, of Newport, is 83 years young and well-known for her community volunteerism and teaching and writing family history.

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