Community Blog

Connect, Create and Contribute During Older Americans Month

By Debbie Humphrey

When I was a young girl in Ohio, I remember my parents telling my siblings and I to always respect our elders. There were many seniors in our church and our neighborhood, and I always tried to practice my manners and respond with “Sir” or “Ma’am” whenever they addressed me.

As I matured, I continued to treat seniors and the elderly with respect and dignity. After all, they’ve been around a lot longer than I have, so they’ve got lots of great stories to tell of “the good old days” and decades of life experiences to share.

Little did I know then that my future profession would involve in-home care for seniors in Florida! There is a huge population of aging adults who choose to retire here or return annually as “snowbirds.” Thankfully, my parents taught my siblings and me well – through their words and examples – how to properly speak and behave when in the presence of our elders.

May is Older Americans Month [OAM], and the theme is one I fully embrace: Connect, Create, Contribute.

For 56 years, the Administration for Community Living [ACL], has led Older Americans Month in an effort to raise awareness about all the contributions older Americans make to our communities. “Seniors serve as volunteers, employees, employers, educators, mentors, advocates and more,” and they bring experience and insight that benefit us all!

The Healthcare and Aging Network Leadership Council reports , “Each May, OAM provides resources to help older Americans stay healthy and independent, and resources to help communities support and celebrate their diversity.”

This year’s OAM theme, Connect, Create, Contribute, encourages older adults and their communities to:

  • Connect with friends, family, and local services and resources
  • Create through activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment
  • Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others

After all, HAN continued, “Social isolation has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a determinant of health impacting as many as 17% of older adults. Those who are isolated face poorer health and greater risk of early death.” That’s why it is vital that seniors stay active and engaged with others to avoid depression and other mental and emotional pitfalls.

I encourage you to honor our older Americans by:

  • Connecting with them and connecting them with people you know and love. Help them build mutually beneficial relationships with local groups and organizations.
  • Creating time to spend with aging adults to share in learning opportunities and fun activities for better health, personal growth and fulfillment for everyone.
  • Contributing time from your busy schedule to listen to the life experiences of mature adults, and help them make their own contributions toward helping others in the community.

Communities thrive when all citizens – including older Americans – engage with and support each other.

“By engaging and supporting all community members, we recognize that older adults play a key role in the vitality of our neighborhoods, networks and lives. Everyone benefits when everyone can participate,” according to the ACL.

It is very important we create awareness about Older Americans in the month of May, and all year-round, because there are more and more people reaching their golden years by simply living healthier lifestyles.

The compassionate caregivers at Home Helpers® are more than happy to help seniors with transportation assistance  to volunteer or participate in social activities and events. I am happy to offer a FREE Consultation to discuss ways we can enhance the lives of aging adults and improve their overall quality of life and level of enrichment.

We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award for 2017, 2018 & 2019. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠  727.942.2539

Sources:

Administration for Community Living [ACL]

American Society on Aging [ASA]