Courageous Aging Support Group has a lot to celebrate

Courageous Aging Support Group, adding comfort while creating a sense of community. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Abbot Public Library

The Abbot Public Library will host its second round of the courageous Aging Support Group on Friday, Jan. 6.

Carol O’Brien will facilitate. O’Brien holds a master’s degree in social work from Simmons College and says that the support group is there to celebrate seniors.

O’Brien was surprised at the success of the group’s first round. “I thought there will be about eight to 10 or 12 [participants], but the first week there were 21,” said O’Brien.

The purpose of the group is to create a space for like-minded people to discuss health, aging, ageism, relationships with adult children, living alone and losing loved ones, among other things.

“I think that people just want to gather with other people that have the same issues,” said O’Brien.

Most attendees are between the ages of 60 and 70, but a few 90-year-old participants have had no trouble expressing themselves and their needs. “They all speak their minds and speak about what they need, and it’s different for different people,” said O’Brien.

Twenty women and one man attended the first meeting — a very successful start —but O’Brien aims to have more men attend the support groups. “We’ve had a few men come recently in the last couple of weeks and they did seem to enjoy it, and they speak a lot, and they said they are coming back,” said O’Brien.

The support group also focuses on depression, a condition that can arise from loneliness — a concern many face as they age. O’Brien said, “I don’t know if you know the statistics about it, but more people die from that than they do from disease.”

O’Brien wants to direct her attention on aging courageously, with a positive outlook that encourages people to find ways to celebrate their current life stage, their conditions, their accomplishments, their passions, what makes them feel grateful and what to do moving forward.

The support group is not a therapeutic group but rather a place where people can express their concerns and receive encouragement, comfort, and advice — as well as meet new people and make new friends.

“In the first few weeks, I was astounded at how many people made friends with one another. Some did come with friends, and some didn’t. I was amazed, I was so impressed. They got up at the end and walked over to one another, that was amazing,” said O’Brien.

The first meeting of the new group starts Friday, Jan. 6 from 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. The group meets every Friday in January at the same time, in the Program Room at the Abbot Public Library at Eveleth School. No registration is required.

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