As this blog progresses I hope to address the qualities of life, as well as money management, that allow me to learn from other’s mistakes and missteps as I age. One of the biggest challenges to the aging is becoming isolated. It is too easy to allow your world to shrink as you age. Disillusionment with life or the pressures of being a caregiver can develop qualities in a person that lead to paranoia or negative thinking. The death of friends and relatives can become overwhelming and lead to severe depression. Isolation is the enemy of the elderly and a situation that needs to be addressed for the overall health of an aging individual.
Relying on adult children and their families may work for some lucky individuals but keeping a network of friends and associates is always worth the effort. Pursuing interests with like-minded people is a great way to make new contacts and bat down loneliness and despair.
As an osteoporosis sufferer who has had to give up cyclocross and down hill skiing I have found a great low impact and low cost sport to become involved in and that is flat water kayaking. Tomorrow I leave on a seven day group kayaking trip called The Great River Rumble. The website of this trip, run by a non-profit called Midwest River Expeditions, Inc. is http://www.riverrumble.org. For a nominal fee of about $225 this group will truck your gear from site to site while you paddle and socialize with the 200 or so folks who are participating. If you do not own a kayak rentals are available. The trip leaders are safety conscious and never leave anyone behind or on their own. There are all ages of adults on the trip but trend towards those age 50 and above- some are in their 80’s! Participants can choose a segment of the trip or even take a rest day or days during the week and ride on the sag wagon to the next stop. It is truly a “no judgement” group of individuals who come from all kinds of backgrounds and come together to have fun and get to know each other. The rivers are chosen for their easy navigation and visual beauty.
I also belong to a local group called the NorthEast Wisconsin Paddlers, or NEWP, that sponsors trips, classes and activities throughout the year. Read about their organization at http://wisconsinpaddlers.org/. For those of you who live in other parts of the country check out the American Canoe Association. Visit their website at http://www.americancanoe.org/ for local paddling groups under the “Community” tab.
If you are not sure kayaking is for you many of these groups have introductory courses so you can “get your feet wet.” Hope to see you on the water!