Early in January, Monika and I attended the first of the regularly scheduled community forums held by Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb. The topic that evening was Aging in Oak Park. Joining the Mayor on the panel was Lydia Manning, PhD, associate professor of Gerontology at Concordia University Chicago Center on Gerontology and former Oak Park trustee and Wednesday Journal columnist Marc Blesoff.
Marc writes on the issues of aging for the Wednesday Journal & kicked off the forum conversation with a short video that we would like to share with you.
Among the many takeaways I had upon watching this video is that in the broadest sense for villages like Oak Park and concerned citizens groups within, there is an incredible opportunity to apply more diverse & creative thought processes to addressing the difficult issues that many elders and disabled individuals face as they look to remain actively engaged in their communities.
There's a quote widely attributed to Albert Einstein that I think is appropriate to this conversation, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Applying "different thinking" to the challenges of aging and for those living with disabilities in communities like Oak Park is a cornerstone of the services provided by Living Fully At Home. Recognizing this as an important initiative, we've volunteered our expertise and experience to assist the efforts of the Mayor and Oak Park Trustees with the Commission on Aging they're planning to launch in the near future. More on this later.
As the conversation progressed, another of the issues that stood out to me was the need to continually communicate the ready availability of relevant Township services to those individuals who would most benefit from them. There were stories shared by neighbors who didn't know about services like transportation and meal services offered by the Oak Park Township. In addition, the Township also offers a number of additional services including case management. If you live in Oak Park Township and are interested in learning more about the services it provides for Seniors, please click here. You can also inquire by phone at (708) 383-8005.
One more thing on thinking differently. It's important that we "think differently" especially when we're looking to solve problems because that's how we innovate. Thinking differently is really the definition of innovation. It will take innovative thinking to solve the problems facing those wishing to remain safe, active, and productive as they age or are presented with disability.
What do you think about the information shared in the video? I'm also interested in hearing ideas you might have on reaching Seniors with information like the services the Township provides. The individuals who participated in the Mayor's forum were likely "connected" in some way, shape or form, yet there were a significant number who had no idea the Township provided transportation or meal services. And this isn't meant as a criticism of the Township, but an opportunity to help find innovative ways to get the message of their services out in as effective a manner as possible because it's vitally important to the health and well-being of a number of seniors in our community.
Thanks very much for your time...