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It’s time to engage in a little reimagining

It’s time to engage in a little reimagining  deb-gardner-0812b.jpg
PRIME – November 2014 By Debbie Gardner debbieg@thereminder.com I’m always impressed when a local elder services expert thinks out of the box. For example, the West Springfield Council on Aging/Senior Center (COA), located on Park Street, has of late taken some big steps to increase its outreach, first by hosting a wildly popular job fair for workers 50 years of age and older this past May, then by welcoming the area’s first session of AARP’s new Life Reimagined checkup in September. The Center, I should also note, has a very active Facebook page, broadening the way it connects with its users. It’s no secret that people are living longer, and with this longevity has come a whole new set of concepts regarding what it means to be employed, how to think about retirement, what the purpose is behind volunteerism, and even what constitutes the process of aging. I applaud West Springfield COA Executive Director Laurie Cassidy for the steps she’s been taking to make certain her Center connects with the changing needs of today’s elders by offering services that individuals at various places along the aging continuum will find relevant and useful. I’m especially grateful that she was willing to let me attend the September session of Life Reimagined, not just as a reporter, but as a participant. I’ve written about the experience in this month’s feature story, and I don’t want to give away too much of what I learned during the two-hour workshop here. Let’s just say it was inspiring, motivating and enlightening. In fact, you’ll see some of the effects of that inspiration reflected in this issue of PRIME. We’ve given the publication a mini-makeover of sorts.I thought perhaps ,it was time. I’ve been watching the way other publications – newspapers, magazines, and especially, monthlies from across the country that target a similar readership – have been presenting material for several months now. I’ve seen a gradual shift in how stories are presented, how information is highlighted, even how some feature articles are crafted. Bottom line, there’s been a movement away from a traditional newspaper look – which we have maintained here at PRIME – toward products with a more visual appeal. I decided it was time we too, made some changes. So, this month I’m taking the first steps toward incorporating some of the new looks I’ve been noting into our publication. For example, you’ll see a few more images illustrating stories, used in place of the photos of columnists in some cases. You’ll also see a new column, called PRIME Conversations. I’m hoping that this new, additional short feature will give me the opportunity to highlight more local artist, authors, musicians, celebrities – and individuals who are making a difference in our communities – each month. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview renowned photojournalist Lionel Delevigne from Montague for the inaugural column. His work chronicling anti-nuclear activists and the effects of nuclear power on society are captured in graphic clarity in his new book, “To the Village Square: From Montague to Fukushima 1975-2014.” I’ve also decided it’s time to add a little punch to some of the important information we try to bring you, our readers, each month. To reflect this, I’ve launched another new monthly column, called PRIME Short Takes. Each month I hope to illustrate a timely topic in –uick bites of information that will be easy to read and remember. This month, we launch the new column with a look at why those of us 50 years old and older are easy targets for identity theft, (and thus, what we should look out for). I hope you enjoy these new additions to your monthly PRIME. Let me know what you think. You can email me at debbieg@thereminder.com, or drop me a line at PRIME Editor, 280 North Main St., East Longmeadow, MA. 01028. Bookmark and Share