There’s no reason to be lonely in Beaverton

There’s no reason to be lonely in Beaverton

My retired husband and I moved to Oregon nearly six years ago as new caregivers for two family members, and I was finally able to join him in retirement about a year ago. He’s a happy introvert and homebody; I’m no extrovert but am happiest learning more about things important to me and sharing activities with folks with similar values and interests. Like many new retirees, I “rested” for about six months after 30+ rewarding years in healthcare and aging services.

Like most of you, I am not a member of the Beaverton Committee on Aging. But I started attending their meetings as a “public visitor” several months ago because I was so bored and hoped it would quickly introduce me to important community issues and interesting people. And maybe I was feeling a bit lonely.

At last month’s BCOA meeting, I learned that one of the strategic goals and top priorities for Beaverton’s City Council in the coming year is “Supporting Community Wellness & Fun.” Coincidentally, May 2024 is National Older Americans Month, and this year’s theme is Powered by Connection, which recognizes the profound impact that meaningful relationships and social connections have on our health and well-being.

Loneliness, researchers agree, affects some people more than others. It is the feeling of being alone, regardless of how much social contact someone has, that is dangerous.  Loneliness automatically triggers a set of related behavioral and biological processes that contribute to reduced physical and mental health, increased cognitive decline and dementia, and chronic elevated blood pressure.

What can you do if you are feeling lonely? Get yourself to the Beaverton Main Library! I recently walked out with two pounds of information about fun and interesting activities — as well as resources to get there. You will begin to meet like-minded community members with each event, expose yourself to new ideas, resume old hobbies, and perhaps learn where you can make some waves.

Or, if someone you love finds themself unexpectedly alone due to the death of a spouse or partner, separation from friends or family, retirement, loss of mobility, and lack of transportation, invite them to one of the free activities at either Beaverton’s Main or Murray Scholls libraries, just for fun and good health.

 

Here’s a quick sample of town resources:

  • Book groups – or check out a kit to start your own!
  • Song circles – bring an instrument if desired
  • Age Cafe small discussion groups
  • Improve skills with computers and smartphones
  • Aging-related book displays and lists
  • Design & Make makerspace – intergenerational
  • Library books by mail
  • Elsie Stuhr Rec Center (55+)
  • Viva Village
  • Poetry groups
  • Classical Up Close (free OR Symphony @ Main Library)

 

Learn more about the BCOA at www.beavertonlibrary.org/BCOA. By Kim Hughes