The long, dog days of summer are upon us. The intense heat can make it difficult to get outside and be involved in things going on, even though the options are generally more plentiful at this time of year. But, please remember, no matter what your age, it is important to be involved in the things going on in your community. Seeing aging citizens active and involved gives a sense of stability to the younger population. Being involved with them gives them hope for the future, and you just may find that it gives a bit of joy back to you as well!
Activities are varied throughout the country, but most communities have certain events that are annually put on within their community that you can attend, or even help to put on! I’ll start with some that are available throughout the country & then give you some ideas to find more near you.
- Farmer’s markets. Almost every small town in America has markets where local farmers and gardeners go to sell their produce. These vendors love to talk with people. Becoming friends with them is easy and it if you’re eating their produce, you’ll become healthier at the same time! Plan a morning to go and walk or wheel around your local market, even if you’ve never been there before. Pick up some food or a bouquet of cut flowers to put on your table!
- Community gardens. Many of the larger towns in the United States also have community gardens with plots available. Rent a plot that you can cultivate. It is better if you can rent it with someone else that can help you in the garden in order to spend some quality time with them in nature. Chances are good that you’ll run into people while you’re working in your plot and make new acquaintances while you’re growing your meal!
- Reading programs. Public libraries all across the country offer reading programs that are not just for children. Our library offers a summer reading program for children and a winter reading program for adults. The program includes specific types of books to read, but also specific activities to attend. Oftentimes these programs are linked with a class that they’re offering or a local author coming to speak. Being involved in these programs will help you to interact in your community, but they may also turn you on to a new genre of book that you’ve never read before, or a new hobby that you’ve never tried. We recently had a wire-working class offered in our library and the end products look amazing!
- County fairs. Throughout the country, county fairs take place. They are great ways to get out and find many new people and interests. Plan to walk around, but to take breaks at benches and picnic tables to rest. Eat some of the amazing food in the food trucks. Visit the various buildings. If they offer a list for open entries, take the list and look over it closely. Perhaps there are things listed that you could enter next year to win ribbons and money.
- Community education classes. Oftentimes communities will put out little booklets of classes that are offered throughout the year in their area. Some classes require payment for materials and some are free. All of them offer you a chance for interaction and to learn something new!
- Swimming or other exercise classes may be available in some areas at the local pool or fitness center. They often have fitness classes that are geared specifically for senior citizens.
- Art guilds will sometimes offer classes to beginners to get them interested in that particular type of handicraft.
- Church functions. These are an ongoing thing in most churches and there are almost always groups of older people within the congregation that will organize some of their own activities or even outings.
- Community theater. If you’re too shy to go onstage and audition, attending their performances will be a big boon to you and to the actor and actresses!
- Parades, block parties & special days. Many areas have different things that they celebrate within their community. If yours has these things, find ways that you can get involved. Tell your son that you want to take you antique car through at the next parade. Offer to sit at a table for promoting a certain business or cause that has one set up. You’ll meet many people in this way.
The things to do are almost endless, especially in summer. Winter-time events are a little sparser, but might also include holiday parties, fundraising events, indoor fairs, etc. Keep your eyes open all year long for things in which you could be involved. Think about how you could contribute your time to help.