ELIZABETH—Dr. Richard Stone, executive director of the Senior Citizens Council of Union County, recently shared his more than three decades of knowledge of senior health and societal issues with an audience at Trinitas Regional Medical Center during a program hosted by the hospital auxiliary. Stone, whose PhD is in lifespan developmental psychology from West Virginia University, informed the audience that there is increasing knowledge of older citizens thanks to a variety of factors, including the growing study of gerontology.
“Thirty or 40 years ago, there was plenty of information about young people but very little was known about the health and wellbeing of people as they aged,” Stone explained. “Better health care and better nutrition are helping people live longer now as we see growing numbers of people in their 80s and 90s and those who are 100 years old or older.”
It’s important to maintain a positive attitude towards aging. “Some people go into a panic when they see the first signs of aging and the health issues they may have as they get older,” the psychologist noted. “Simply put, life can be an adventure. As people get older they should never stop doing what they have done their whole lives simply because they are older.”
Stone cited the work of Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Gray Panthers in the 1970s, stressing, “She believed that too many people accepted stereotypes about what it meant to be ‘old.’ She worked hard to change that view and, decades later, we’re still reaping the benefits of her progressive thinking.”
Stone recommended that older people remain active, engage with younger people, keep up with lifelong hobbies and interests, and consider retiring to an area where public transportation, culture and entertainment are readily available instead of more remote suburbs. He further emphasized that society overall needs to refocus on the potential of aging, instead of the debilitating aspects of becoming older.
He reminded the audience that volunteering energizes older people. “It’s better to think about ‘giving back’ to society rather than concentrating on ‘getting’ services and entitlements.”
Continuing its tradition of volunteerism, community health education and commitment to the mission of Trinitas Regional Medical Center, the Auxiliary is a committed group of volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to a variety of events and programs. The Auxiliary of Trinitas Regional Medical Center fosters interest among its members and throughout the community in the work of Trinitas, provides and encourages volunteer service for and in the hospital, and sponsors and conducts fundraising activities for the benefit of the hospital. The auxiliary also offers educational programs on health-related subjects for the community. For more information about the auxiliary, its programs, and how to become a member, call 1-908-994-8988.
Sam Rodriguez of Elizabeth (left) spoke with Dr. Rick Stone following the psychologist’s talk at Trinitas Regional Medical Center. Stone accepted an invitation from the Auxiliary of Trinitas Regional Medical Center to address an audience about increasing societal awareness of senior health and life issues. (Photo courtesy of Trinitas)
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