In tough times, communities find strength in people—and people find strength in their communities. In the past year, we’ve seen this time and again in our local communities as friends, neighbors, and businesses have found new ways to support each other.
In our community, older adults are a key source of this strength. Through their experiences, successes, and difficulties, they have built resilience that helps them to face new challenges. When communities tap into this, they become stronger too.
Each May, the Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of Older Americans Month (OAM). This year’s theme is Communities of Strength, recognizing the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities.
Strength is built and shown not only by bold acts, but also small ones of day-to-day life—a conversation shared with a friend, working in the garden, trying a new recipe, or taking time for a cup of tea on a busy day. And when we share these activities with others—even virtually or by telling about the experience later—we help them build resilience too.
This year, Heart ‘n Home Hospice will celebrate OAM by encouraging community members to share their experiences. We encourage you to take time to connect with the older Americans in your families, neighborhood, and community. Together, we can find strength—and create a stronger future.
Here are some ways to share and connect:
- Look for joy in the everyday: Celebrate small moments and ordinary pleasures by taking time to recognize them. Start a gratitude journal and share it with others via social media, or call a friend or family member to share a happy moment or to say thank you.
- Reach out to neighbors: Even if you can’t get together in person right now, you can still connect with your neighbors. Leave a small gift on their doorstep, offer to help with outdoor chores, or deliver a homecooked meal.
- Build new skills: Learning something new allows us to practice overcoming challenges. Take an art course online or try a socially distanced outdoor movement class to enjoy learning with others in your community. Have a skill to share? Find an opportunity to teach someone, even casually.
- Share your story: There’s a reason storytelling is a time-honored activity. Hearing how others experience the world helps us grow. Interviewing family, friends, and neighbors can open up new conversations and strengthen our connections.
- Volunteering: Volunteering is a great way to serve older Americans in your communities. As people age, they are not able to do all that they used to, and often they aren’t able to get out much. Volunteers help fill needs and offer companionship through personal visits. Heart ‘n Home has amazing Volunteers that help serve our patients and we are always looking for more Volunteers. (More info below.)
When people of different ages, backgrounds, abilities, and talents share experiences—through action, story, or service—we help build strong communities. And that’s something to celebrate! Please join Heart ‘n Home in strengthening our community by getting to know those around you…especially the older people in your communities. The lives they lived were so different than ours today. Get to know them. By doing so both of your lives will be enriched.
If you are a person who is interested in volunteering service to older Americans, Heart ‘n Home has a wonderful Volunteer program. To learn more visit our website by clicking here.