Happy New Year,

As always, the new year offers us a time for reflection and a chance to renew and reenergize ourselves for the coming year.  It is also a time to take down the Christmas decorations and to make (and often break) some new year’s resolutions.

It is always a good idea to plan for your own personal achievements like weight loss, increasing your exercise, learning a new skill or language, but I suggest that you might want to include in your annual plan, something you can do for others. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it can be a little act of kindness that would be appreciated by even one person, something that is neighborly, like carrying the newspaper from your neighbor’s driveway and putting it by their door, when you go out to get yours.  As we age in place here, bending over may not be as easy for some folks as it was when they arrived years ago.

If you know someone who lives alone, make a plan with that person to touch base every day.  Just a quick phone call, text or email message, or a personal visit. Some people living alone have experienced a fall or other medical condition that may prevent them from getting to a phone to call for help. Some have endured hours and even days on the floor, waiting for help. Some never recover. This simple routine could be a life saver.

But it can be even more involved, such as volunteering for the many worthwhile charities and community betterment groups we have in The Villages. It doesn’t even have to be a huge time commitment, just a few hours with a specific project would be a help. Of course, being a volunteer with The VHA would be a great idea. Working in these organizations obviously helps them to supply goods and services to the community, but this type of work can also benefit you more than you might think. You will feel the gratitude and the camaraderie from the folks you are working with, and you may also see the appreciation in the faces of those who receive the benefit of your efforts.

I suggest you start small and don’t over-commit. It is easy to do because of all the organizations we have in The Villages. But with The Villages population around 140,000, if we each take a little piece, we can make a big difference. The phrase “many hands make light work” originated in the early 1300’s but it is as true today as it was so many years ago.

Stay safe and healthy,
John Dean, Vice President