Celebrating Older Americans Month: Powered by Connection

Celebrating Older Americans Month: Powered by Connection

By Pamela Austin

Established in 1963, Older Americans Month is celebrated every May. Led by a federal agency, the Administration for Community Living, OAM is a time to recognize older Americans’ contributions, highlight aging trends and reaffirm commitments to serving the older adults in our communities.

This year’s theme, “Powered by Connection,” focuses on the profound impact that meaningful connections have on the wellbeing and health of older adults. By recognizing and nurturing the role that connectedness plays, we can mitigate issues like loneliness, ultimately promoting healthy aging for more Americans.

Here are a few ways older adults can connect in the City of Alexandria.

Where to connect

• Attend a Community Cookout, which is hosted each week, now through July in various neighborhoods.

• Participate in the Senior Health and Fitness Fair on May 23 at the Lee Center, with discussions on maintaining good health, demonstrations, screenings and exercises will be available.

• Visit your local recreation center and review the 55 and older guide for adult programming.

• Join At Home in Alexandria’s social events, which happen almost daily.

• Senior centers offer a nutritious lunch and activities throughout the day.

• Contact Volunteer Alexandria and choose the opportunity best for you.

How to connect

• Invite more connections into your life by finding a new passion, joining a social club, taking a class or trying new activities in the community.

• Stay engaged in your community by giving back through volunteering, such as donating your time at the Alexandria Adult Day Services Center, providing Medicare counseling or becoming a volunteer guardian with the Division of Aging and Adult Services. You may also consider delivering meals, grocery shopping, or becoming a friendly visitor with Senior Services of Alexandria. Find more information on these opportunities at alexandriava. gov/Aging.

• Invest time with people to build new relationships and discover deeper connections with your family, friends, colleagues or neighbors.

How to celebrate OAM

• Spread the word about the mental, physical and emotional health benefits of social connection through professional and personal networks.

• Encourage social media followers to share their thoughts and stories of connection using hashtag #PoweredByConnection to inspire and uplift.

• Promote opportunities to engage, like cultural activities, recreational programs and interactive virtual events.

• Connect older adults with local services, such as counseling, that can help them overcome obstacles to meaningful relationships and access to support systems.

• Host connection-centric events or programs where older adults can serve as mentors to peers, younger adults or youths.

For more information on programming for older adults within the City of Alexandria, visit alexandriava.gov/Aging or call 703-746-5999.

The writer is an aging and disability resource coordinator for the city’s Division of Aging and Adult Services.