Whether you live in a condominium or a cottage in the country, you can still appreciate the importance of belonging to a functioning community. The ability to connect with others and share a common bond or goal, such as maintaining a safe and thriving community, becomes more valuable as we age. Knowing there is a support system in place when things go wrong is quite reassuring as you edge closer to realizing your limitations. There is no price tag that can be placed on the trust factor or your peace of mind.
A community that embraces its seniors relies on a variety of activities and social events to strengthen bonds up and down the age ladder. If you want to reinforce your connection within your community, a good place to start is by calling or visiting the website of your local community or civic center. Sign up for any classes that peek your interest, or ask to speak to someone who can point you in the right direction if you want more specifics. Make it a point to participate in or patronize local events, such as charitable functions you want to support, bake sales and town fairs. Revel in the fun of attending a visiting carnival, outdoor concert or local cultural event to mingle within your community.
A thriving community nurtures all age groups, including its’ eldest members. A study of the Hunzan population, nestled at the northernmost tip of Pakistan and connected with Russia and China, reveals why it is often considered the role model for community fellowship. Hunzan places great importance in remaining connected with their elder population.
The Hunzan community atmosphere is described as peaceful and good-natured, where the elders do their part to preserve traditions by remaining an active part of the daily routines. The community benefits extend to all residents, and every age group contributes to the success of Huzan’s agricultural terraces, which envelop mountainsides with sweeping staircases of lush vegetation and fruits, including apricots, pears, apples, peaches, plums, grapes, figs and melons. Happiness is at the core of their existence because they are truly alive.
The Hunzan valley exists among extremes in elevation, with the average peak ranging at twenty-thousand feet. With a population of under thirty-thousand people, the fertile valley has thrived for generations, even though it was almost completely inaccessible to outside influences due to hazardous and often inaccessible trails. John Robbins shares his assessment of the Hunzan people along with the insights of Dr. Alexander Leaf and U.S. Senator Charles Percy, a member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, in “Healthy at 100,” Senator Percy was touched by the Hunzan people and the way they celebrate life – offering visitors a cheerful salutation of greetings and sweet offerings of local harvests, including flowers and fruit.
Even on crowded and fast-paced American soil, an old-fashioned sense of community can still be achieved, but it may require more of a pay-it-forward approach to get it kick started. Finding a niche to become engaged within your community may not be as simple where you live. It may entail reaching out to fill a void that satisfies an obvious need, such as helping at a local hospital or community after-school tutoring program.
Start within your own neighborhood and your network of friends to organize an annual event to benefit a favored charity or cause, such as an auction or a fun run. Rough times have a tendency to bring out our charitable nature. Rally the neighborhood and the relatives when times are tough for someone that needs emergency or temporary support. We’ve all experienced downturns, and can sympathize with the underdog. Volunteer at a food bank, or soup kitchen that provides meals for the homeless to affect a no-frills, yet significant change within your community.
To fill the greatest need, start with the young members of your community – often languishing with boredom after school and usually receptive to organized sports or music-centered activities. With a little initiative and some basis people skills, need and want can fill a real void and make a big difference in your life, as well as many others within your community. There’s no shortage of good causes that are worthy of your time; just open your eyes and look around to discover the greatest needs and roll up your sleeves to make a difference.