May is Older Americans Month and in leading the nation’s observance, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) has announced the theme this year is “Communities of Strength”.
This month, we celebrate the strength of older adults, which has been built over time through their experiences. By sharing their knowledge and stories, older adults not only provide support to others – they inspire others.
In Massachusetts, there are more residents who are 60 years or older than there are residents younger than 20 years old.1 Older adults are an incredible source of information and learned experiences. They are a link to our past and to history on the whole. It is to our benefit that older adults are so often willing to impart their stories of difficulties and successes along with the important lessons they have learned over the years.
Building on Strength
Connection and engagement are key in building strong communities. Our connection to older adults – parent, family member, friend, neighbor, teacher or colleague – is priceless. Whether older adults share their life-changing experiences or day-to-day stories, special recipes, car or home repair tips or insight about their profession, travel and more – their wisdom and connection to us helps to strengthen and better prepare us for the future.
Through their service, actions or stories, older adults continue to engage with and give back to the community. Many older adults connect with others by mentoring or through outreach with their church or another organization such as Old Colony Elder Services (OCES).
OCES, which is one of 25 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in Massachusetts, has many volunteers who generously give their time and effort to support those in need in the community. For example, with the help of over 400 nutrition program volunteers who perform many tasks, OCES serves 1,600 meals each weekday as part of its Meals on Wheels (MOW) Program. More than 60 Money Management Program (MMP) volunteers assist older adults and individuals with disabilities with bill paying, reconciling bank statements and balancing checkbooks. And, more than 200 Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteers help local agencies such as Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Plymouth and Brockton Public Schools Reading Programs, Food Banks including South Shore Community Action Council, Veterans Services and others provide services. Volunteers also serve on the OCES Board of Directors, and the MMP or the RSVP Community Advisory Council as well as many other important efforts.
Making the World a Better Place
OCES recognizes and celebrates the valuable contributions of older adults and the important role they have in all of our lives. By sharing their interests, experiences and engaging with people of all ages, older adults continue to build upon the power of connection and strengthen our communities.
To learn more about outreach opportunities through OCES and RSVP programs, visit ocesma.org.
1Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (2021.) Age-Friendly Massachusetts. https://www.mass.gov/service-details/age-friendly-massachusetts