Each year, more and more older adults are making a positive impact in and around their community. Usually this contribution involves the encouragement and even logistics of a family caregiver.
Many older Americans who are family caregivers are themselves contributing to their community simply by caring for their own senior loved ones.
In addition, they act as volunteers, employees, employers, educators, mentors, advocates, and more which offers insight and experience that benefit the entire community.
That’s why Older Americans Month (OAM) has been recognizing the contributions of this growing population for 56 years when President John F. Kennedy designated May Older Americans Month.
At that time, the President felt it was time to begin to take the needs of the growing older American population. The goal was to recognize their many contributions to our country especially in defending it.
From then until now, led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) each May, OAM provides resources to help older Americans stay healthy and independent as a way to thank them for their gifts to society. They help communities support and celebrate their diversity.
Theme for OAM 2019
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.
Family caregivers can celebrate OAM by promoting ways that community members of all ages can take part in helping older adults in their community as well as their own senior loved one thrive.
Things to Do In Your Community
There will be many events going on in your senior’s community that will help family caregivers connect, create and contribute.
Here are a few you may want to join:
- Participate in your local senior center activities by attending classes on crafts, cooking, lines dancing, yoga, or educational topic.
- Volunteer for an organization you support such as the library, animal shelter, school mentorship, litter cleanup or church group.
- Attend a health fair and take charge of your health.
- Share your skills with others in your community who may need help.
- Help a meal delivery program deliver meals to people in your local area.
- Join a fall prevention program to build your own strength and balance while meeting new people.
- Attend a Senior Day event in your city.
- Find a class on technology to help your senior learn about ways to use technology to benefit them as they age in place. Attend the class together.
We encourage you to:
Connect: Encourage older adults and other storytellers to share their experiences
Create: Inspire older adults to express themselves through art, dance, exercise, gardening or other personal enrichment activities.
Contribute: Connect older adults with resources and each other
Things to Do At Home
Family caregivers can take action with their senior loved ones to celebrate OAM with them and other family and friends.
Here are some fun things you can do together:
- Have a family game night and play their favorites. Have lots of healthy snacks to keep the fun rolling!
- Take a nature walk with the grandkids. Explore plants and animals in nature, go on a scavenger hunt, share a picnic and watch the birds fly together. Sharing this with kids will benefit all generations.
- Look through family photo albums together and reminisce about family members who came before you. Discuss their jobs, their military service, where they lived and funny stories of shared hijinks! Maybe this could lead to a family reunion to meet new members and enjoy old members of the family.
- Store the photos and memories for the future, journal the family stories and create a family tree.
- Attend an event together. It could simply be the local Farmer’s Market or a fundraising event like a Fashion Show.
This is just a small start to all the places you could go and fun you can share with your senior loved one.
Time spent together is not only enriching for your relationship but also good for your senior’s health.
Physical activity and social engagement can make a positive impact on their quality of life.
These are all great reasons to find ways to celebrate OAM and your senior loved one today!
Here are some additional articles that you might find helpful when deciding how to share time with our senior loved during OAM and every day.
- Celebrate Older Americans Month with Senior Care Corner
- May is Older Americans Month – Engage at Any Age!
- Lifelong Learning Has Benefits for Students of All Ages — Are You One?
- Fitness Activities to Help Seniors Achieve Successful Aging in Place
- Getting and Staying Active are Keys to Healthy and Happy Aging
- Benefits of Reminiscing with Seniors Plus Some Story Starters