All across America, older adults are socially connected; growing and giving to their communities; and living happy, healthy lives through Shepherd’s Centers of America.
Executive Director, Shepherd’s Centers of America
More than 1 in 7 Americans are 65+, and this number is expected to double in the next decade. For the first time in history, there are more people over age 60 than under 15. Staying active into one’s 80s and 90s is no longer unusual; it is the norm.
Shepherd’s Centers of America understands aging is not about challenges but opportunities; not closure but new beginnings; not retirement but reinventing possibilities; not winding down but stepping up in service to others. With a focus on aging well in the community, Shepherd’s Centers offer enriching opportunities for lifelong learning, volunteer service, healthy living, and community connections — all the things that give life meaning.
On Tuesday mornings at 11 a.m., you can find Laura at yoga class. During the pandemic, the class was offered online, and now that it is back to in-person, Laura rides with three ladies — all friends who carpool faithfully.
Yoga goes beyond just fun times with friends for Laura. Ask and she’ll quickly tell you all about her improved health. She’s diabetic and, as a result of her commitment to yoga three times a week, line dance classes, and cooking and nutrition programs at Shepherd’s Center, Laura’s doctor has taken her off insulin. Her story is just one of thousands that highlight how Shepherd’s Centers change the lives of older adults.
The Shepherd’s Centers of America Network represent 55 affiliates in 17 states offering a continuum of life-enhancing services to more than 165,000 older adults and their families every year. With 50 years of experience, the SCA Network is helping older individuals live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives.
Shepherd’s Centers are different things to different people. For some, it is about the enjoyable educational classes. For others, it is about receiving a little help from volunteers. This help might be a ride to an appointment or a little help around the house. Since these support services are offered at no cost, older adults are better able to afford other basics, such as food, medicine, and housing.
Caring, trained volunteers help older adults overcome challenges such as transportation, home maintenance, and limited social interaction in order to enable them to remain in their homes, where they most want to be. The satisfaction that comes from giving their time is as rewarding and life-changing for volunteers as it is for those receiving a helping hand.
Among the many benefits of volunteering with Shepherd’s Centers is the lasting friendships that develop, the enjoyment of new and different experiences, and the physical and mental health advantages. Volunteering is an energizing way to do something worthwhile for someone else.
You never know how crucial transportation is until you lose the ability to drive. According to clinical studies, losing the ability to drive can be as overwhelming as losing a loved one. This happens to countless older adults across the nation every day, leaving them feeling stressed, concerned, and with low self-esteem.
For many, volunteer driver services are their only means of accessing medical care as well as getting groceries and prescriptions. Volunteers help riders get in and out of their homes, in and out of the car, and assist with packages or even walkers and wheelchairs. In addition, these services provide valuable socialization that might only occur when the older adult ventures out for these scheduled appointments.
Shepherd’s Centers offer a variety of social and educational services that build community connections and allow older adults to age in place with dignity. Experience any one of the in-person or online classes and it’s impossible not to see and feel the incredible enthusiasm for lifelong learning that participants share. Subjects cover a range of topics: computer and technology, literature, music and art appreciation, “how-to,” historical events and figures, and much more. The outstanding courses and topics, coupled with unforgettable camaraderie, keep attendees coming back year after year.
This high level of community engagement is one of the features that sets Shepherd’s Centers apart. Whether through stimulating physical and cognitive activities or social support to remain more independent in one’s own home, the outcome is increased connections to life-enhancing services and friendships for a higher quality of life. There are many ways you can support and get involved with the mission of aging with purpose and meaning. Volunteer as a driver, handy helper, or in another role of interest. Sign up for a class and make new friends. To learn more about Shepherd’s Centers of America and to find an affiliate near you, visit the website at: www.ShepherdCenters.org.