We traditionally celebrate Older Americans Month (OAM) each May. When OAM was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. By 2017, around 47 million had reached that milestone. Why not observe our older population with this year’s theme of “Make Your Mark.”

Around the nation, older adults make their marks every day as volunteers, employees, employers, parents, grandparents, mentors and advocates. They offer their time, talents and experience to the benefit of our communities.

There is a great website found at acl.gov/oam/2020/older-americans-month-2020 developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living that is dedicated to the celebration of OAM. There is also a phone number available at 202-401-4634 if unable to connect online. There are wonderful resources, ideas, activities and even marketing materials to use for this special month.

This year’s OAM theme, “Make Your Mark,” highlights older adults’ unique and lasting contributions to their communities – everything from sharing a story with grandchildren to leaving a legacy of community action. In the spirit of the theme, here are some suggestions from the Administration for Community Living to make your mark this May and all year long:

Volunteer your time: Local schools, shelters, food kitchens, food pantries and hospitals always need support. Help a neighbor by prepping a meal, picking up groceries or giving them a ride. Share your knowledge by tutoring a student who could use extra help in school.

Share your story: There are so many ways to do this, from showing your grandkids around your old neighborhood to writing your life stories. Take a class and learn how to express yourself with the arts, or assemble a photo album or scrapbook of important moments in your life.

Get involved in your neighborhood: Join a homeowner or resident association, organize a block party, or sign up for a book club or other social group. Do you have a green thumb? Small projects like planting flowers in your yard or cleaning up the community park have a big impact.

Communities that support and include all their members are stronger!

In regards to making your mark, Edgar Cayce said it well: “Make your world a better place because you have lived in it.”

Source: Administration for Community Living website – Older Americans Month 2020 acl.gov/oam/2020/older-americans-month-2020

Please be mindful of the health and safety requirements for COVID-19, if carrying out suggested activities listed in article.

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