Aging is something to be celebrated and respected. By joining with others in creating rich communities, older citizens have the chance to not only improve their own lives but also contribute to the lives of those around them. By connecting with friends, old and new, seniors activate their senses and promote a vibrant engagement with everyday life.
In 1963 President Kennedy designated May as Older Americans Month to acknowledge the contribution of older persons in our country. This year’s theme is “Communities of Strength,” which highlights the many ways older Americans have stayed connected even through the most trying times. From book clubs to neighborhood associations to civic participation, there is a steady increase in activities available for aging Americans.
Thriving communities boost aging American’s physical, mental, and social health and has proven to be essential for healthy aging. As older Americans find more ways to participate in the community around them, they also give back to future generations by creating a positive example of what it looks like to age actively.
Ways Older Adults Can Build Communities
Community engagement helps foster healthy relationships, reduces loneliness, and improves the health and quality of life among aging individuals. One way seniors can boost their personal engagement is through community centers, which offer a wealth of activities, including art classes, educational opportunities, health and wellness services, and recreational outlets. Research shows that those participating in activities provided by community and senior centers have a higher level of satisfaction with their life than their peers. For those unable to attend activities in person, there are many options for online groups with platforms such as Zoom. Older individuals who use Zoom as a resource say that having a sense of instant connection offers a lifeline to the world outside their homes.
Growing older doesn’t mean your community only involves your peers. Instead, it reaches beyond that and includes many generations of young men and women. For example, many seniors find connections through a variety of intergenerational programs. Being able to join with people of all ages encourages a sense of liveliness. It also gives a fresh perspective to daily activities. Engaging with younger people not only lifts the spirits of older individuals but also gives back a lot of joy to the younger participants.
We can learn so much from our older community members. Participating in activities like choirs, dance classes, or even just shared meals through programs such as Meals Together develops new connections that empower both older and younger generations.
Consider Volunteer Opportunities
Another way older Americans are creating thriving communities is by volunteering. A good place to begin the search for community volunteer opportunities is through organizations like:
- Community Theaters and Museums
- Youth Organizations and Sports Teams
- Wildlife Centers, Local Animal Shelters and Rescue Organizations
- Senior Centers
- Service Organizations (like the Rotary or Lions Club)
- Nationals Parks and Conservation Organizations
- Local Community Centers
Volunteering allows seniors to give back to the community through social engagement while also expanding their social networks. That’s because meeting new people and sharing in the experience of helping others is a healthy and nurturing way to form new relationships and increase self confidence. It also provides a framework for sharing stories and understanding the varied ways in which our culture shapes us. As a result, these newfound connections form the cornerstone of a community.
Social Isolation Increases with Age
People are social by nature and that does not change with age. However, being social does become more difficult to navigate. Older adults face challenges that can often make civic engagement and social interactions less accessible. It is not uncommon for aging people to find themselves disconnected from society. That because friends and family pass away, physical activities become harder, and access to technology and transportation can be challenging.
According to the CDC, social isolation associated with this disconnection leads to many health risks, including depression and an increased risk of dementia. This social isolation stems from the fact that many older adults live alone or have faced the loss of friends and family as they age. For these individuals, caregivers can provide the assistance necessary to engage with their community more easily.
If leaving the house poses too much of a risk, caregivers are there to provide valuable companionship and assistance with rapidly changing technology so that older adults can engage with a multitude of online classes and groups that enable seniors to stay in touch.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and more independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.