Older Americans Month 2017: Age Out Loud

Getting older doesn’t mean what it used to. For many aging Americans, it is a phase of life where interests, goals, and dreams can get a new or second start. Today, aging is about eliminating outdated perceptions and living the way that suits you best.

The theme of Older American’s month this year is “Age Out Loud.”  Elderbridge staff is honored to work alongside a pair of fellow staff members who exemplify the spirit of Older Americans Month, Janie Conn and Sandy Lockwood.

At 83 years old, Janie Conn considers being positive the way she “ages out loud.”

“I try to be a positive person that people want to be around.  I feel like if you have a smile on your face, other people feel better and maybe you are able to change their day. I’d say that’s aging out loud.”

Janie started working at Elderbridge in 1999, but her first job was as a waitress.

Janie and Sandy in Elderbridge's Mason City office.

“I would work before school and after school. I’ve always worked,” she said.

One of Janie’s most memorable jobs was at Farm Bureau.

“I had a boss who would let me take the day off from my regular duties to go pick up his mother!   I always thought that was crazy, but I did it, and she was very nice!”  Janie said.

She continues to work because it gives her purpose.

“I love working and I love being around people.  I’m able and my mind is still able,” she said.

At 16, Sandy Lockwood started working as a grocery checkout girl in Mason City. 60 years later, she’s still working at 76.

She blames her doctor.

“I’ve had the same doctor for 33 years and he doesn’t want to see me in his office every day,” said Sandy, “He says since I’m still in great health, I need to take advantage of that and just keep going.”

Sandy said her most exciting job was working at Piper Jaffary, sending stock market reports to the New York Stock Exchange.

“Piper Jaffary was my favorite, you didn’t have as many people there telling you what to do all of the time,” she said with a laugh.

Aging out loud to Sandy is all about providing a service to people.

“I help people every day.  I live in a retirement apartment place, and I even try to help out my neighbors.  If they have questions or fears about something, I just try to help them with what I know.  It’s a fun thing to help people out.”

One that thing both Sandy and Janie have in common, they’ve both seen many changes in the work place through the years.

“Of course, technology has changed,” said Janie and Sandy agreed, “Learning that has been a challenge at times, but we figure it out and move on.”

Elderbridge Agency on Aging will use OAM 2017 to focus on how older adults in our community are redefining aging—through work, family interests and by taking charge of their health and staying independent for as long as possible. We can also use this opportunity to continue learning from Janie and Sandy and to continue gaining wisdom from them.

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