Advice for Joyful Aging

NJHI 2018: Upstream Action Acceleration Mobilizing Just for the Health of It: Health Information Library on Wheels

Maxine is an iconic figure at the East Brunswick Public Library.

East Brunswick Public Library patron Maxine champions lifelong learning and joyful aging. As the librarians promote health literacy throughout Middlesex County, they see Maxine’s philosophy of healthy, active, and positive aging emerge as a common thread among seniors.

She is a lady of small stature with a passion for life as big as her contagious smile. At 87 years young, she is a lesson on living life to the fullest and how to age with boundless joy.

Maxine is one of the library’s biggest fans and never misses a chance to talk to the librarians when they visit her senior center. Maxine’s passion for making people smile, and what she refers to as the transformative power of lifelong relationships, the importance of human connections and community involvement, and her love for family and friends, is her secret sauce. She shares her mantra with the librarians: No Botox! No surgeries! No creams! A little Clinique and a good attitude is all you need! We should all heed Maxine’s words as she embodies today’s generation of empowered seniors.

As the librarians promote health literacy throughout the county, they see Maxine’s philosophy of healthy, active, and positive aging emerge as a common thread among seniors. Whether at a senior center, library, farmers’ market, or fair, our librarians are interacting with seniors who value access to health information as a necessary ingredient for quality living. They pick up articles from our librarians and submit requests for information about a diagnosis, medication or condition. The seniors say they use the information to practice better self-care in everyday living and to be more confident in speaking with their doctor.

We are grateful to New Jersey Health Initiatives for supporting efforts to enlighten this growing population of healthcare consumers through our outreach visits. The seniors love to interact with the librarians, gather information, and share their personal health stories. They view the ailments, bumps and bruises of their lives not as setbacks, but as personal triumphs. The seniors are teaching the librarians about how they take care of their own health so that they can enjoy each day to the fullest. Maxine sums it up very well, “The greatest gift you can give your children is to take care of yourself.”

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Karen Parry
East Brunswick Public Library