Posted by: wrcseniorservices | May 10, 2012

Never too old to play

A few days ago, I was having a conversation with a new friend about toys we loved when we were kids – Star Wars action figures and Legos. I still love Legos. That’s the great thing about having nieces and nephews. They get the toys, and I get to play with them while I “help” build their creations. My friend confessed to buying a Star Wars set last year. I said, “Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that!” But we both know the world gives you a pretty weird look if those toys you’re buying aren’t for an actual child. Why should it? Why are we too old to play? Who made up these dumb rules anyway?

So imagine my excitement to find that this year’s theme for Older Americans Month in May is “Never Too Old to Play.” Now we’re talking.

Older Americans Month was created in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. At that time, there were 17 million adults over the age of 65 in the U.S. and 1/3 of them were living in poverty with very few programs to support them. The presidential proclamation was to draw attention to the needs and concerns of older Americans and celebrate their contributions to building our nation. We’ve come a long way since that first May.

The Administration on Aging picked this year’s theme “Never Too Old to Play” to encourage older Americans to stay active and engaged in their lives and the community. So have some fun this month! “Play” doesn’t mean you have to break out those favorite toys from childhood, but if you want to… by all means. Play is about doing something that you find fun, that gives you joy, that makes you forget what time it is. For me, that’s kayaking. I could spend all day on the river, meandering and floating along, feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin and the beauty of nature all around me. What is it for you?

How can you celebrate Older American Month and get in some quality play this month?

1. Get moving! Exercise is good for the body and soul. Challenge friends to a Wii bowling or Wii sports tournament. Go for a group walk/hike. Take a new exercise class at the local Y. Like watching “Dancing with the Stars” on TV? Why don’t you learn how to do that rumba?

2. Get thinking! Host a get-together to play some board games. Take a class about something you’ve always wanted to learn more about.

3. Get some new friends! Attend an event or club meeting you’ve never been to before. Volunteer for a local organization you believe in. Get a Facebook page and start connecting with others from all over the place.

4. Get creative! Start working on a project with others – quilting, gardening, painting, acting, building. There are so many things you could use your talents for and have fun doing.

I’ll leave you with an interesting quote from George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Have a fun month!

-Dawn Wise
Director of Marketing and Communications
WRC Senior Services
dwise@wrc.org

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