2015-03-05 / Senior Savvy

Reach Out, Even In Bad Weather

By Florence Archambault

Do you ever wonder who is in charge of naming what should be celebrated as national days, weeks, or months? I was curious. By surfing the Internet I found a list of all the national days in 2015. Although I didn’t find out who was in charge, I did find some interesting tidbits and lots of silliness.

Each month is full of days promoting awareness of certain social issues, as well as some that left me scratching my head. March 5 is National Multiple Personality Day and Cheese Doodle Day, while others honor Melba toast, nurses, and the Freedom of Information Act. One particular item caught my eye on Feb. 11, Shut-in Visitation Day.

“Aha,” I thought, here is a day for seniors who remain active and mobile to partake in. The only problem is that this is not a good time of year for us to be roaming the streets. My foremost New Year’s resolution is not to leave the house if there is snow or ice on the ground or a forecast of such. I have decided that over the years I have had more than my share of falls and broken bones, so I am not taking chances any longer.

Instead, I have taken it upon myself to declare every day as National Phone a Friend or Relative Day. The recipient of your call could either be housebound or just someone you have not connected with for some time. Many of us have unlimited long distance telephone service bundled in with our cable and computer services; we might as well take advantage of it.

I have already called a childhood friend who now lives in Maine. We talked for quite a while and got caught up on all the families, including our great- grandchildren.

I tried to call my aunt on her birthday at her assisted living facility, but I kept getting her answering machine. I emailed her son who said he would set up a call from her when he went to visit that evening. He did and it was great to hear her voice and find out that she was happy with her living arrangements. Although she would probably never initiate a call herself, she seemed delighted to hear from me.

Another call to a dear friend in California was also picked up by an answering machine. She and President Lincoln share a birthday the day I called, so maybe she was out celebrating. Don’t forget to be mindful of time differences throughout the country. She hasn’t returned my call so I will probably call again.

A good place to start would be with your Christmas card list. Find someone you haven’t communicated with recently. If you are wondering why you didn’t receive a card from them, perhaps it is time to discover the reason. When you get to our age you find yourself crossing off names right and left of those who have passed. Although the news can be sad it still is comforting to know what happened or is happening to them.

Your calls don’t have to necessarily be to out-of-town friends. Get out your address book. If yours is like mine, it hasn’t been updated in quite a while. Pick names of people you have drifted away from and let them know you are thinking of them.

The results from reaching out can be twofold. You will have made someone happy (hopefully) to hear from you, and you will receive some satisfaction by merely making a phone call.

I am in the process of making a list and trying to make a call a day. Sometimes I use the kitchen phone or the portable phone and straighten up while I’m talking.

With all these storms, many activities at the senior centers have come to a standstill. It appears that the beginning of some of the next round of classes may be delayed. If you have signed up for one, it would be a good idea to check with your center if they haven’t contacted you already.

Meanwhile, stay warm, dry, and safe. Spring will be here sooner than you think!

Florence Archambault, of Newport, is 84 years young and well-known for her community volunteerism and teaching and writing family history.

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