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As we step into 2023, we’re thrilled to embark on another year of helping older adults and individuals with disabilities live independent, fulfilling, healthy lives. Through our services and programs, we can help you keep up with the new year’s momentum and start 2023 on the right foot.

Here are 5 small ways to kickstart your wellness with WMEC this year!

1. Check-in on your mental health

With darker days and colder nights, it can be hard to stay upbeat and motivated in the winter. An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a type of mood disorder associated with seasonal changes. This disorder is commonly seen as a depression that arises during the winter months due to a disturbance in the circadian system of the body.

WMEC recently launched a mental health outreach program to support older individuals who may experience feelings of depression and loneliness. Funded by a recent grant award, WMEC is now offering this mental health support to older adults in their homes and at community sites.

Through our partnerships with the Belchertown, Chicopee, Hadley, South Hadley, and Ware Councils on Aging, we coordinate prevention efforts, identify signs and symptoms, referrals, and collaborate with treatment providers. Learn more about the benefits of this program here.

2. Nourish your body

Start 2023 by nourishing your body with delicious meals by taking advantage of our nutrition services! WMEC can deliver lunch, dinner, and weekend meals on a daily or as-needed basis.

We also offer nutrition counseling by our registered dietician and can provide authentic Latino and vegetarian meals, as well as specialized therapeutic options such as cardiac, pureed, and renal meals. We know the positive effect that a healthy, nutrient-dense diet can have on both your body and mind, and we provide these every day.

Along with home-delivered meals, WMEC offers Community Table Programs with nutritionally balanced, hot meals for older adults at meal locations throughout our community, such as Senior Centers and housing sites. At both the Granby Council on Aging and the South Hadley Council on Aging, Community Table participants come together for not only a great meal but also to socialize and visit with one another.

3. Strengthen your financial fitness

We understand how daunting managing your money can be at any age. At WMEC, we offer Money Management services for low-income older adults and individuals with disabilities. If you or a loved one has unpaid bills scattered around the house, anxiety about paying bills, or their utilities shut off in the last 12 months, we can help.

Although we do not advise on investments and financial matters or provide banking services, our Money Management staff can help older adults or persons with disabilities continue their independence at-home by providing support with paying bills, writing checks, budgeting, and balancing their checkbook.

A recent study shows that 60% of surveyed Americans feel anxious when thinking about their personal finances, while 50% feel stressed when discussing their finances. Having help with your money and making sure that everything is taken care of on time can help you or your loved one breathe a sigh of relief and stop those negative feelings before they can even start.

4. Connect with others

The beginning of the year is a great time to reach out to old friends and look for opportunities to make new ones. Laughter and love are the perfect antidotes to anxiety and loneliness. Catch up over coffee, reach out to someone on the phone, or join a new club or social group.

At WMEC, several of our services and programs provide opportunities to socialize. In addition to our Community Table programs mentioned above, our Rainbow Social Club offers affirming and inclusive services for older adults in the LGBTQ community.  These include monthly coffee hours, film nights, shared meals, and more. Learn more here.

5. Learn more about the resources available to you

Perhaps the most important idea to remember at the start of this year is that you’re not alone. There are always resources available to you when you’re struggling, feeling isolated, or need guidance in getting the support you need

Whether you have big goals or small goals for the year, WMEC wants to assist in your growth. Take one small step toward bettering yourself or your loved ones and visit our website here to view all the programs and services we offer. Or give our friendly Community Resource Specialists a call at 413-538-9020. We look forward to helping you get 2023 off to a great start!

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