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Aging: Connecting Retired Men in Nashville



Kimberly Demirjian and Diana Puglio

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May 27, 2020


According to the CDC, mental health issues are often implicated as a factor in cases of suicide. Older men have the highest suicide rate of any age group. Men aged 85 years or older have a suicide rate of 45.23 per 100,000, compared to an overall rate of 11.01 per 100,000 for all ages (1).

Dan Headshot Cropped
Dan

Dan Surface isn’t your average retiree. Dan is highly engaged in the community, has two published books of poetry and has started skydiving with other men over the age of 70. In May of 2019, he saw a need for retired men and their social connections. As a board member for Mental Health America of the MidSouth, and longtime friend of FiftyForward, Surface leveraged his connections to each agency to create a place where mental health is represented in aging men.

“A man used to a nine to five world has a difficult transition [when it comes to retirement]. It has a mental and physical health toll,” said Surface. “I sensed isolation for myself, and I realized other men have to have the same problem.”

After he saw a need, Surface started the Retired Men’s Group: Refining Your Life!, that partners with FiftyForward, the Nashville nonprofit that supports, champions, and enhances life for older adults. The goal of the group is to create a safe place for retired men to share their transition and everyday life as they navigate a newfound sense of time and freedom.

Nashville Public Television (NPT) took notice and asked Surface and the Retired Men’s Group: Refining Your Life! to be featured in Aging Matters: Companionship & Intimacy, a special NPT report. FiftyForward held a screening of the special and it aired December 19, 2019.

Dan Surface And Lynn At Npt Aging Luncheon At Fiftyforward 2
Dan and MHA Aging Services Coordinator, Lynn Wood, at the NPT Luncheon.

The Retired Men’s Group: Refining Your Life! meets, formally, every Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at FiftyForward’s Patricia Hart Building, 174 Rains Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203. That doesn’t mean the group is bound to that location. The group enjoys fishing, dinner and the casual skydiving event. If you are interested or know someone who might be interested, contact Surface at 615-476-6364 or dan@dansurface.me.

“We all have diverse backgrounds, but at the core, we are much more connected than we realize,” said Surface.

NOTE: As of March 2020, due to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the group has transitioned to meeting virtually. Please contact Surface for further information.

(1) https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/mental_health.pdf





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