Fall Prevention and Changing with the Times

Vantage Point: When the Leaves Begin to Change

There is a line in the song “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock that always reminds me of this time of year, “Nothing seems as strange as when the leaves begin to change.”

For me, November is always a time for reflection, and as I transition from road warrior to spending more time in the office, what comes to mind is how my work in Medicare teaches me so much about staying young.

Last September, Karen Bruggman from Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP) kindly invited me to Tonasket to celebrate Geriatric Fall Prevention Week with Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL).

As I exercised with a group of 45 women, there was so much laughter that it reminded me of the circle of friends I ride horses with and gave me hope that you can find sisterhood at any age. After the class, the woman next to me, who could touch her toes when I could not, told me she was 92 years old and that doing SAIL for the last 6 years had kept her young.

At the Roaring ‘20s Dance, hosted by the Wenatchee Senior Activity Center, I sat next to a couple celebrating their one-year anniversary. It was their second chance at true love, and as they showed me wedding pictures from their iPhone, I couldn’t help but notice that the glow of their special day was just as youthful, beautiful, and poignant as my own son’s recent wedding.

While attending an open house at the Ephrata Senior Center (ESC), the room buzzed with purpose and excitement. The reinvented ESC and its members are busier than ever since they opened a catering company. Their creative marketing and energy helped renew my zest for my own work and showed me that at any period of life, opportunities are limitless.

Recently, while talking with a woman who proudly told me how healthy she was for being in her eighties, she also gave me a warning, “To become elderly falls as fast as night.”

This brought to mind another line from the song, “Or how we thought these days would never end.”

During this Thanksgiving, a big part of what I will be thankful for is my work in Medicare because it fills my heart with appreciation and teaches me to value what I have today and to be hopeful for what will come when the leaves of my own life begin to change.

Shannon Sims is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties in Washington. She has four sons and two grandsons. During her time off, she performs as part of a rodeo drill team on her horse, Skeeter.

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