In previous columns, I have focused on the broad ways in which Senior Solutions responds to the needs of our growing senior population in Vermont. This month, I would like to highlight how just one person can make a powerful impact. Allow me to introduce you to Karen Walter, who received our 25th annual Successful Aging Award at our Annual Meeting on October 26.
Thirty-five years ago, Karen helped to found Westminster Cares. In those early days, Karen arranged rides to medical appointments and shopping trips for many older Vermonters and ensured that healthy aging cooking classes and exercise classes were offered to older Vermonters. Eventually she coordinated Senior Lunches and started the Meals on Wheels program—all as an unpaid volunteer.
Currently, Karen is a board member emerita and participates on the Programs & Services Committee. Over the years she created a walking group and trained to become a Living Strong Facilitator. She still teaches one of our Living Strong exercise classes. Karen has served on several town committees and represented the Town of Westminster on the Senior Solutions Advisory Council. In 2019, she was voted Westminster’s Citizen of the Year for her contributions to the community.
Health and wellness have always been an important aspect of Karen’s life. She embodies these values and stays active by spending time outdoors, hiking, biking, and walking, and doing Tai Chi. She takes time to visit many friends and enjoys going to plays, movies, music performances and travelling. Karen gives rides to friends and church members who are no longer able to drive.
Karen takes her spirituality seriously and has been a member and volunteer for the Walpole Unitarian Church in Walpole, NH for years. She has a curious mind with a love of learning and a strong sense of social justice. And she has spent many hours advocating and volunteering for environmental issues, senior housing, immigrant rights and women’s equality.
We are proud of Karen, and all of our seniors who contribute so critically to our Vermont communities.