Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Boomers and Beyond helps seniors ease transition into golden years

Planning for the senior years of one’s life brings together a desire for
fulfillment and adventure with the reality of the limitations that come with
age. The modern era has brought medical advances that allow people to live
longer, healthier lives and often remain active well into their 80s or beyond.

But, with age one will likely eventually face physical and/or mental limitations.
Families are often left unprepared to handle age-related crises before they
occur. This avoidance often leads to life-changing situations that are
overwhelming for seniors and their families, rather than manageable, planned
transitions.

The May 28 event “Boomers and Beyond,” hosted by North Heights Lutheran
Church (Independent) in Arden Hills, Minnesota, will help seniors and those
who love them prepare for the joys and challenges that come in the final
years of life. It will celebrate and honor seniors, as well as prepare families to
plan for the inevitable challenges that come with aging.

Supporting loved ones in their aging years is an aspect of a Christian’s
calling, a calling that Pastor Mindy Bak, who leads community care at North
Heights, lifts up in importance. “Welcoming and sitting with these voices of
wisdom is a gift I believe God intends us to receive,” she said.

These voices of wisdom often share their gifts and words through fellowship
opportunities and Christian mission. It is now common for retirees to actively
seek mission opportunities, take on retirement jobs, and take part in Bible
study groups, amongst other ways to actively serve God while in their golden
years.

Bak is glad to see the senior population remaining on the go. “My heart is to
see us move away from seeing retirement as finding soft slippers to as a time
to put on a new set of work boots,” she said. “The years over age 50 are the
wisdom years, the time to ask God to reveal His plans for the mission for your
life.”

But, while seniors now are busier than ever, they also face the reality that with
age comes disabilities. According to the 2000 Census, three-fourths of
people over the age of 75 will suffer from some form of a physical or mental
disability.

Despite the nearly guaranteed inevitability that an elderly family member will
face age-related disabilities, the majority of the U.S. population with aging
family members will turn a cheek to the issue, a trend that Bak said “makes
no sense.”

Boomers and Beyond will offer workshops, panel discussions, and a resource
fair that will help families discuss transition options together. The event will
help families take the important first step, which is often the hardest because
it can feel the most overwhelming.

Not avoiding from the difficult issues will help ease the transition, a message
that the Boomers and Beyond event hopes to bring to participants. While in
the midst of handling a diagnosis of an illness, the loss of a loved one, or
other crisis, discussing options for moving forward can feel overwhelming
and even devastating. Planning before the onset of a crisis can help ease the
transition for seniors and their families as they face major life changes.

Boomers and Beyond will take place at North Heights Lutheran Church Arden
Hills Campus in the Great Hall, 1700 West Highway 96, on May 28 from 3
p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the church or by calling 651/797-
7361. They are $2 in advance or $4 at the door. For more information
contact Mindy Bak at 651/797-7823 or e-mail Mindy.Bak@nhlc.org.

Boomers and Beyond is meant to be a fun, fact-filled fair that will help
seniors and their families learn what is available before the resources are
needed. Friends, family members, parents, and children are all encouraged to
come and discuss the great options that God has provided in the community
and beyond.

While dealing with aging may feel like an issue too tough to take on for many,
Bak offers the reminder that “the Bible tells us to ‘honor thy father and
mother’ and part of honoring one’s father and mother is not shying away
from the hard issues.”