Meet Constance – Older Adult Advocate and Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center Participant

Meet Constance – Older Adult Advocate and Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center Participant

Constance “Connie” Todd’s career was launched into the field of aging when she earned her nurse assistant certification while a junior in high school. Subsequently, her undergraduate and master’s degrees were grounded in program development for older adults. As a young professional, she became friends with peers who loved aging services as she did. Yet she had a few close contemporaries who struggled to understand her enthusiasm for working with older adults. She was advised to instead focus her talents and time on youth. Forty years later after a successful career as an aging services specialist on both national and local levels, she shares, “there is no moment I regret working with and for one of the nation’s most significant resources and fastest-growing population.” Now as an older adult herself, recently retired, Constance has a new appreciation for the services provided to older adults by organizations like Mary’s Center.

Over the past three years, Constance has become increasingly involved with Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center managed by Mary’s Center in DC’s Ward 4 and is extremely appreciative of all that it has to offer to her, and the thousands of individuals served each year. She was a Ward 4 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner when the plans for the Hattie Holmes Center were being legislated in the 90’s, and was formally introduced to the completed HHSWC when working as the Director of the National Institute of Senior Centers at the National Council on Aging, where the Hattie Holmes Center was praised for being exemplary. 

When she retired, Constance was eager to remain active and form a community in this new phase of life and explains that attending activities at Hattie Holmes “felt natural.” She now attends a variety of exercise classes, social hours, community service projects, and life skills workshops almost daily. In addition to the variety of activities, Constance explains that she finds value in the range of diversity present at Hattie Holmes. “I have met so many different people each from unique backgrounds and experiences. It’s refreshing to connect with my neighbors and meet people that I likely wouldn’t have connected with otherwise,” she said.

As an expert in aging services, especially in urban environments, Constance emphasizes the importance of places like Hattie Holmes for the benefit of the individual and the community. According to the State of Older Adults in the District of Columbia report, the population of older adults (anyone over the age of 65) in DC is expected to increase by 24.4% by 2030, making centers like Hattie Holmes and the services it provides even more important for this growing demographic. Through her professional work and now as an older adult herself, Constance reaffirms the need to pay attention to the issues that older adults face, such as increased social isolation and food insecurity. According to Constance, the Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center is essential to fighting those struggles faced by older adults and “provides a beacon of respite for us.”

Constance also extends her praise of Hattie Holmes by making an annual gift to support the center. She explains that her gift serves as an act of appreciation for Hattie Holmes and Mary’s Center, in thanking us for everything we’ve been able provide to her and other older adults in the community.