Combat loss and loneliness after age 50
Do you often feel a sense of solitude in the world? Does that feeling stay with you, even when you are around a group of people?
That feeling is loneliness. Since loneliness is often a byproduct of loss, older adults are more susceptible. The loss of a significant other, of course, is a major trigger. A recent AARP study reports that 47% of older adults who have lost a partner in the last five years identify as lonely. Post-retirement existential crises can also be a trigger as well as any declines in health that can discourage folks from venturing out (i.e. trouble with vision, hearing or mobility).
Have you been encouraged by others to get out and get active but haven't been able to get very far?
If for any reason this is the case, and you are 50 or older, the Westlake Community Services Department, with partner support from the Cleveland Clinic Avon and Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospitals has something designed just for you.
Our new program, called ETC. (Engage, Thrive, Connect) will help you do just that. Get started by contacting us at 440-899-3544 and ask to make an appointment for ETC. You will be assigned to one of our coaches who will give you a tour of our facility, orient you to our activity and class offerings and assist you with an individualized plan to connect. There will be group sessions along with 1:1 check-ins throughout the course of the year-long program.
There is no cost to join, and no obligation to stay. We are simply hoping that once you engage, you will keep wanting to come back. We will give you a short (one page) survey to complete at the beginning of the year, mid-year and again at the end. How much you want to participate in between is up to you.
Why are we doing this?
In short, it is a part of our mission. Thanks to community support we have so much to offer and are able to keep everything low or no cost. We have classes such as meditation, history, exercise, discussion groups, and art. We have games from chair volleyball to chess. We have social functions, entertainment and a cafe. All of this was created specifically for older adults to have a place to thrive and enjoy their later years.
We are also doing this because chronic loneliness and social isolation are bad for your health; equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day. In short we want to do our part to help you improve your overall wellness. Our department is called Community Services, and loneliness is a community problem.
As a department of the city of Westlake, some of our services are resident specific, but our Plus 50 programs and classes are open to non-residents as well. Westlake Community Services is located at 28975 Hilliard Boulevard on the beautiful park campus of the Westlake Recreation Center. You can find out more about us at www.cityofwestlake.org/community-services or visit our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/WestlakeCommunityServices.
I am the Director of the Community Services Department for the City of Westlake. I am also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.