A Quick Connection and a Slow Grin


Rik Reuter of Rikki Laugh Entertainment brought smiles to the Songs and Sundaes Celebration


By: Leigh-Anne Lees, VPAS Community Relations Director

Last week a man making an animal balloon for a young guest at our 50th Anniversary Celebration looked up at me and asked if I had gotten caught in the rain.

“No,” I answered, perplexed. “Why?”

A slow grin stretched across his face. “Because you’re rusty.”

I am a lifelong redhead (going grey now), and I had never heard that joke. 

May is Older Americans Month. This year’s theme is Powered By Connection, which recognizes the profound impact that meaningful relationships and social connections have on our health and well-being. It’s easy to ignore a theme like that, feeling confident we are connected enough in our daily lives. 

But statistics are shifting, and they tell a different tale. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly a quarter of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially-isolated, increasing the risk of malnutrition, dementia, and other serious medical conditions. In fact, the National Institute on Aging says the health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Avoiding people can become too comfortable, especially if we have lost friends and family over the years or if a good percentage of our communication is in text bubbles on a tiny screen, deceiving us into thinking we have all the socialization we need.

I, for one, am very glad the balloon maker ventured out to our celebration and told me the redhead joke I had never heard before. Our short conversation made me smile all the way home.

Sometimes a good connection is as simple as that.

Find a gathering that interests you by visiting vpas.info/calendar or vpas.info/vpas-cafes