Around the nation older adults make their marks every day as volunteers, employees, employers, parents, grandparents, mentors and advocates. They offer their time, talents and experience to the benefit of our communities.
For 57 years, Older Americans Month has been a special time to recognize these contributions. Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) each May, Older Americans Month also provides resources to help older Americans stay healthy and independent, and materials to help communities support and celebrate their citizens.
Locally, the Area Agency on Aging District 7 (AAA7) observes this special month along with local, state and national organizations. The AAA7 provides long-term care home and community-based services and resource options to help older adults and those with disabilities live safely and independently in their own homes and communities. The AAA7 covers 10 counties in southern Ohio including Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton.
Communities that support and include all their members are stronger. This year’s observations are a little altered throughout our district due to the coronavirus pandemic, but we can still celebrate and promote healthy and positive living.
This year’s Older Americans Month theme, Make Your Mark, highlights older adults’ unique and lasting contributions to their communities — everything from sharing a story with grandchildren to leaving a legacy of community action. In the spirit of this theme, here are a few ways older adults can make their mark all year long:
* Volunteer. There are always local groups and organizations that need volunteer support. Help a neighbor by prepping a meal or picking up groceries. Or, take time to pass on knowledge to a student who could use extra help in math, music, or science.
* Share Stories. There are so many ways to do this, from showing your grandkids around your old neighborhood to writing a book. Take up a new hobby. Or, assemble a photo album of important moments in your life.
* Get Involved. During social distancing guidelines, getting involved takes some creativity, but find ways to stay involved with community groups while maintaining a safe distance. Do small projects like planting flowers at home or finding an online exercise program.
“While we learn new ways to carry on with our daily lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vitally important that we continue to recognize opportunities to celebrate. Our older adults have made and will continue to ‘make their mark’ in our lives, our hearts, and our communities. Please take this special time to celebrate them!” said Nina R. Keller, executive director of the Area Agency on Aging District 7.
Your local Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. provides services on a non-discriminatory basis. These services are available to help older adults and those with disabilities live safely and independently in their own homes through services paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, other federal and state resources, as well as private pay. The AAA7’s Resource Center is also available to anyone in the community looking for information or assistance with long-term care options. Available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., the Resource Center is a valuable contact for learning more about options and what programs and services are available for assistance.
Submitted by Jenni Lewis, director of community outreach and training, Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc.