Each May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) ushers in the observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). For 2021, According to the ACL “Communities of Strength” is the theme. The Administration for Communities is a health care organization based in Washington, DC. Its purpose is to maximize “independence, well-being, and health of older adults, people with disabilities of all ages, their families and caregivers.”
For the past two centuries, older adults paved this path with their innovation, creativity, and community bonds. They built resilience and strength in their lives with stories about supporting and inspiring others. This OAM celebrates the strength of older adults with emphasis on the power of connection and engagement in building strong communities.
Communities of all sizes…. family, friends, neighbors or work colleagues, reach out to those less fortunate, tackle community needs, and look out for one another.
Senior power is alive and well serving communities daily with boundless commitment and resilience. How Seniors Are Saving the World , a 2020 publication (Rowman & Littlefield) by Thelma Reese is a classic example. This is the 3rd book by Thelma, age 88. She describes why Seniors do what they do and the urgency with which they take on their compelling endeavors. For example:
- As a response to a bus accident In Turkey resulting in 23 deaths, Association Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) was born. This non-profit works to ensure safer road travel worldwide.
- Neighbors formed non-profit Beacon Hill Village in Boston as a means to gather necessary services as they age in their own homes. Examples include arranging discounts, organizing transportation, scheduling deliveries and finding accessible products and services. An expanded village concept has grown to become Village to Village Network, a national movement.
- A group of activists work within the criminal justice system on prison reform to right wrongs, conduct expungement clinics, and work with established organizations such as ACLU.
Thelma Reese also publishes a blog www.ElderChicks.com
Over and over again, age and wisdom combine for the greater good across the country. Everyone need not look further than their own community to find solutions to problems and in doing so strengthen their neighborhoods.
Human connection is essential to happiness. If you look around your community, you will see opportunities to contribute to or support others.