Dear Friends,

As we race past July 4th, which I always think marks mid-summer, we continue to be unsettled by the events in our country. It seems COVID-19 with the new Omicron BA.5 variant is still disrupting our lives as we weigh the risks and benefits of socialization, travel, and other things we always took for granted. And, as horrific violence continues to occur in all of America, not just in our big crowded urban areas, we question the safety of ourselves and our loved ones as we gather in various venues. We know that COVID-19 not only contributed to more than 1 million deaths in this country, but it has also taken a tremendous toll on mental health, particularly among our young and older people who missed usual patterns of socialization. We know violence is creating additional isolation for many people as they fear public transportation, large venues, and even busy sidewalks. As states across the country initiate Master Plans for Aging, they must consider the mitigation of factors that increase social isolation in older adults and create safe environments for older people to be an active part of their community with opportunities for socialization with people of all ages. These plans will be rolling out over the next few years in many states, and we all have an obligation to inform policymakers and ensure the plans do, in fact, lead to communities that embrace the aging population. Then, perhaps, we can celebrate "Age-Friendly Communities."  

Enjoy the rest of the summer!