Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living
Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living

September is Healthy Aging Month! Every day we age regardless of what’s happening around us but aging well and living well requires a community of support. In the District, healthy aging means making sure that DC is a great place to live for people of all ages and at every stage of life. It means our seniors can live safely in the communities they know and love through initiatives like Safe at Home. It means having places to go like community dining sites and senior wellness centers where older adults can engage in fun programming and connect with friends. It means creating systems that combat senior isolation and decrease senior hunger. It means supporting you no matter where you are on the journey of life.

Brain health is critical to healthy aging, so I invite you to join us on September 21 as we host our 4th Annual Brain Games — our citywide, Jeopardy-style trivia competition where seniors represent all eight wards to compete for the title! On September 22, we’re celebrating both National Falls Prevention Awareness Day and National Centenarian Day.

Throughout the city, our team will be hosting a series of screenings for balance, vision, and blood pressure to help lower the risk of falls, which is a common fear the older we get. As we celebrate our centenarians, we want to remind people that the best chance all of us have to reach 100+ is to make sure we’re learning new things, staying connected to our community, and doing everything we can to prevent falls!

Just like last year, we’ll be hosting our virtual Centenarian Salute, celebrating the lives and legacies of our city’s oldest residents, age 100 years and older, through safely masked visits to each centenarian’s home! We identified more than 45 DC centenarians and we’re teaming up with the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs to celebrate their longevity, resiliency, and contributions that have made Washington, DC so special. You might not be a centenarian (yet!), but centenarians live in all eight wards, and there’s a good chance that one (or more!) is your neighbor. Knock on their door, check in on them, and find out the secrets to getting to 100!

No matter what age you are, I’d love to hear from you. What are the lessons you’ve learned as you aged? What are the things you wish you would have told your 20-year-old self? As we gear up for this month of celebration, I’ve been thinking about these questions a lot for myself and reflecting on the conversations I’ve been so privileged to have with so many of you. If I could tell my hard-headed 20-year-old self anything, I would tell her that nothing matters more than kindness and love. I’m so privileged to live in a city that reminds me of that every day.

I’d love to hear from you. Please email me at director.dacl@dc.gov or feel free to write me: Laura Newland, 500 K Street NE, Washington, DC 20002.

Here’s to healthy aging for all of us!

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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