Civic Involvement

July 25, 2023 at 9:45 a.m.

Whether defending Social Security or lobbying city hall for a traffic light at that dangerous intersection, older adults can have a powerful voice in the decisions that affect their daily lives. All that’s needed is the time and the will to get involved.

You don’t need an overwhelming goal like ending world hunger. Pick one or two issues near and dear to you and become educated.

Follow your cause in the media and get on the mailing list of a group dedicated to the effort, be it affordable health care, safe neighborhoods or yard-waste composting.

Not only will you be helping your community, but you’ll also be helping yourself. Civic involvement can ward off depression by giving older adults a sense of purpose in their “retirement,” a word that is fast becoming an anachronism.

The population of the United States is rapidly aging. By 2030, one out of every five people in the U.S. will be 65 or older; all baby boomers will be age 65 or older. They have an opportunity to rewrite the book on what it means to be retired, say advocates for older adults.

Already people are living longer, healthier and more active lives. Life after 50 is becoming a time to enjoy new freedoms, start new careers and finally carry out those long-neglected dreams.

Learn – Read up on the issue that most interests you. Link up with a local advocacy group and get on their mailing list. Attend a public meeting.
Participate – Sit on a board or committee or volunteer to help. Many of the plans and projects that come before public officials were first hashed out by citizen advisory boards.
Speak up – Write, call or visit your local elected officials. Tell them clearly and concisely how you will be affected by a pending decision -- personal stories have the most impact -- and what you want to happen. Leave them your name and telephone number so they can call you if necessary.
Speak out– Spread the word to others with a letter to the editor or a call to a news radio show. Take your message to meetings of the PTA, a service club, city council, school board, faith community or whatever makes sense.
Join – There’s strength in numbers. Joining a group can be less intimidating than striking out on your own. It’s also a wonderful way to make new friends with similar interests.

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