Getting older but not feeling old

Jill Ballard of Randolph Township, a community of about 500 residents in southeast Minnesota, says one of the positives of aging is having the time to more fully embrace life. “Having time to explore new things, volunteer, enjoy my family and teach fifth-grade church school is the best part about getting older,” says Jill. “The children are motivating and amazing.”

Of course, aging does not come without challenges. For Jill, loss of loved ones is the hardest part about getting older. As a primary caregiver for her late husband, who died from Alzheimer’s, and a long-distance caregiver for her parents, Jill explained that, “Adjusting to losing those you love and finding your old self again after years of caregiving is challenging.” Today, Jill is a facilitator for an Alzheimer’s support group in honor of her husband.

Yet, elders should know that they don’t have to face these challenges alone. Jill believes that senior care issues should matter to all Minnesotans because we’re stronger as a society, and we all benefit when we help meet the needs of our oldest citizens and learn from them. “The loss of talent and their contributions will be lost to multiple generations if we don’t care and respect our aging population,” says Jill.

Jill does not want people to fear aging, saying, “You don’t feel old. Your soul and mind still feel like dancing! It is never too late to learn new things and help others on their life journeys!”

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