“Perspectives on Aging in the Valley,” the second outreach/inreach event in the Outreach, Integration and Retention Task Force’s One Night Stand series, was attended by 20 people in late October. The new director of Amherst Senior Services, Mary Beth Ogulewicz, JD, LCSW, shared her collaborative vision for the engagement of seniors in Amherst and the nearby area.
Drawing insights from her wide-ranging professional and personal experience, she offered a vision of program- ming and services that will continue to be robust in the Amherst Senior Center, but certainly extend beyond it, particularly to meet the needs of marginalized or under served communities.
Ogulewicz (pronounced oh-guh-LEV-its) agrees with author Louise Aronson, who coined the term “elderhood” to describe a time of life that may extend from age 55 to over 100 years, due to medical advances and healthier lifestyles—a much wider span than the other core sectors of a lifetime: infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. “The stereotypes of aging do not capture the possibilities inherent in elderhood, which may, of course, involve some serious losses,” she said, “but can also be a vibrant time of discovery, a deepening of connections, and spiritual and physical activity that support new paths of personal and social development.”
For many of the attendees, it was their first visit to the Meetinghouse, but evidently not their last. Interaction with Mary Beth and participants was lively and thought-provoking. A sizable number of visitors asked to be in- formed of future events at UUSA.
Ogulewicz also announced the town manager’s appointment of UUSA member Pat Rector to the Amherst Council on Aging (ACOA). Pat will serve a three-year term and welcomes seniors’ thoughts on how Amherst could better enrich the quality of life for this sector of its population.