How you can be ‘Powered by Connection’

By Monica Cissell | May 1, 2024

The Central Plains Area Agency on Aging (CPAAA) celebrates the theme of this year’s Older Americans Month, “Powered by Connection,” by focusing on the impact that meaningful connections have on our well-being.

“It’s not only about having someone to chat with, it’s about the potential that connections have in enhancing mental, physical and emotional well-being,” said Annette Graham, Director for the Sedgwick County Department of Aging and Disabilities. Graham, who also oversees CPAAA, said, “By recognizing and nurturing the role that connectedness plays, we can promote healthy aging and help those we care about.”

Connection is a feeling of belonging or feeling at home with others. We have different levels of connection with different people. The closest inside ring includes our intimate and loyal friends. Further out we have a ring of good and dependable friends, followed by an outer ring of acquaintances.

As important as these relationships are, the most enduring relationship is the core of these circles: your connection with yourself.

Here are some things we can do to build connection:

Connection to self: Get to know your current self: what you like to do, what do you not like, what you value, etc. Be a friend to yourself in your actions and the words you use.

Connection to others: This includes neighbors, friends, past co-workers, family, even strangers. Reconnect with people you haven’t talked with recently. Strengthen current relationships. Get to know them; everyone is different, though we also have similarities that can bring us together. 

Connection to nature: Observing and experiencing the natural world is proven to have positive effects. Being in sunlight creates vitamin D in our bodies, which we need for good health.

Ways to stay connected: Phone/video calls; letters/cards/packages; support groups; volunteer; religious or civic organizations; join an exercise group.

Wellness in Park event

A fun and easy way to build your connections is by attending the Wellness in the Park event May 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Sedgwick County Park, Plum Shelter. 

 There will be information and activities inside and out. Learn about services offered by the Wichita Public Library, Sedgwick County Election Office and Dedicated Senior Medical Center. We’ll have folks on hand to answer questions about CPAAA’s Caregiver program, RSVP volunteer opportunities, Companion Pets, Medicare counseling opportunities and other CPAAA services. Diabetes Education and Wellness Coordinator Joe Samaniego will lead an On the Go with Joe exercise demonstration. 

Finally, the Irene Hart award will be presented to a person who has made an impact on the lives of older adults or the field of aging in Butler, Harvey or Sedgwick counties. 

Join the Central Plains Area Agency on Aging Facebook page to find out more information on this event, or call 855-200-2372 for information about our services.

Monica Cissell is director of information and community services for CPAAA.