Area Seniors Share Strategies To Stay Engaged, Active

By Sam Charles | Monday, December 3, 2012

Phil Ponce, left, of WTTW moderated a roundtable discussion about aging gracefully and staying engaged in the community. Credit: Sam Charles

When public transit services, like the #11 Lincoln Avenue bus face elimination, senior citizens are usually the first to feel the impact. But though the bus will soon no longer exist, Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) and Forward Chicago are launching a new initiative to help seniors throughout the city find ways to fully enjoy their golden years.

Last Saturday night, a roundtable discussion moderated by longtime Lincoln Square resident and television host Phil Ponce, brough area residents to the Old Town School of Folk Music to discuss how they’ve reinvented themselves since retirement, whether it be through a new hobby, exercise, community service or even a new part-time job.

“I was in publishing for all of my career,” said Audrey Kaufman. “At the age of 69 I retired, and six months after that, my husband passed away. No job, no husband. I had to totally reinvent myself. I had no idea what I was going to do. I love to read, and that was a big part of what got me more involved in life.”

Kaufman added that she’s also taken classes at Second City.

“When I was tired, I was dismayed. I worked all my life to retire,” said Isaiah Woods, another panelist. “I fell in with the rumor. I bought the rumor. ‘Retire, kick back, enjoy yourself, go out to eat, have a good time’…Well, it ain’t so.”

Woods said that he’s started his own small business after a period of fruitless job searching.

The four main themes of the discussion, Ponce said, were staying connected, doing new things, being active and giving back.

Forward Chicago’s states its mission to be  to assist in the development of our community as residents continue to remain active, engaged, relevant, and influential as they age.

In the coming weeks, Forward Chicago is also hosting a variety of events for seniors in the community. Those interested can become a member here.

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