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.
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 to make your mark this May and all year long:
Volunteer your time. Local schools, shelters, food kitchens, and hospitals always need support. Help a neighbor by prepping a meal, picking up groceries, or giving them a ride. Or, take time to pass on your knowledge. Why not tutor a student who could use extra help in math, music, or science?
Share your story. There are so many ways to do this, from showing your grandkids around your old neighborhood to writing a book. Take a class and learn how to express yourself with the arts! Or, assemble a photo album of important moments in your life.
Get involved in your neighborhood. Join a homeowner or resident association, organize a block party, or sign up for a book club or other social group. Have a green thumb? Small projects like planting flowers in your yard or cleaning up the community park have a big impact.
Heart ‘n Home is blessed to have many Volunteers who are retired and have flexible schedules that allow them to help others. Some of our Volunteers visit our patients; others help with yard work or pick up prescriptions. Some make flower arrangements and others deliver flowers to our patients. Some sew masks for our nursing staff or make fidget blankets for our dementia patients. Many have written cards and letters and made phone calls so that our patients don’t get lonely during this quarantine time. All of our Volunteers are wonderful and they bless our lives as well as the lives of our patients and their families.
If you are an older American who has some time to give, please consider volunteering with Heart ‘n Home or other organizations in your communities. Your talents and experience can make a difference in the lives of those around you. Communities that support and include all their members are stronger. At Heart ‘n Home, it is our pleasure to work with and to serve the older Americans who live in our communities!