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Older Americans Month

Every May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). In 2022, ACL will be focusing on aging in place – how older adults can plan to stay in their homes and live independently in their communities for as long as possible. The 2022 theme is Age My Way, an opportunity for all of us to explore the many ways older adults can remain in and be involved with their communities.

We encourage you to consider the following ideas to help you plan May activities in and with your seniors. These ideas are equally applicable to supporting Older Americans year-round.

Stories

Stories build community and connect us (even if we can’t be physically together). Whether you’re a group of friends, a neighborhood community, or an organization, stories are a great way to learn about and engage with others. As you plan, remember that everyone has different interests, access to technology, and comfort levels. The best sharing activities are those where people feel encouraged and at ease.

Ideas to get you started:

  • Arrange for older adults to share or read stories.
  • Arrange for local school students to interview older adults in the community and write short biographies.
  • Use video chat technology to host a storytelling party.
  • Ask your social media followers to share their wisdom, tips, and stories online using a unique hashtag or by posting to a forum you manage.
  • Organize a selfie challenge on social media. Create a theme phrase (e.g., “Aging my way means…”) and use a related hashtag (e.g., #OlderAmericansMonth, #AgeMyWay).

Events

A special OAM event is a great way to celebrate, share resources, and connect with community members. There are countless approaches to this kind of activity, many of which can be done virtually. Always follow local health and safety guidelines for your event. No matter the size of your group or the style of your event, our event planning tips can help you think through the process.

Ideas to get you started:

  • Organize a game night.
  • Coordinate a musical event.
  • Coordinate a class, workshop, or lecture on topics relevant to older adults.
  • Host a fundraising event, like a community walk or bake-off, to benefit local programs or centers that serve older adults.

Group Project

Celebrate and engage with your community by organizing a project where members can contribute individually before their work is combined to create the final masterpiece. This is a great way to produce something to showcase, either in person or online. Before selecting a project, consider polling your participants to see where their talents and interests lie.

Ideas to get you started:

  • Make a physical or virtual bulletin board with photos, jokes, quotes, and/or good news.
  • Plant a community garden of flowers or produce.
  • Design a mosaic art project, painted rock garden, or mural where each participant gets a turn to add their own touch.

Coordinate one or a series of community betterment activities.

Contact me for more ideas on OAM activities; and if it’s time to start looking for living options outside the home, and can help with that as well!


PRO-TIP

For seniors, don’t underestimate the value of stretching your body and helping yourself to stay flexible. The main reason why people start to feel stiff and full of aches quite early on in life is often down to a lack of movement. This is particularly important if you spend most of the day sitting down or you suffer from joint pain. Gently stretching every morning is a habit that will help you in the long term.