This year’s theme for the month, which is observed all across our nation and state, is “Never Too Old to Play!” During this month, we join with our providers, local senior centers, and other important partners in the aging network, in paying homage to the many ways in which older adults bring inspiration and continuity to the fabric of our communities. This year’s theme also highlights the important role older adults play in sharing their experience, wisdom, and understanding, and passing that knowledge to other generations in a variety of significant ways.
As large numbers of baby-boomers reach retirement age, many communities have increased their efforts to provide meaningful opportunities for older adults - many of whom remain physically and socially active through their 80s and beyond. Current trends show that people over age 60 account for an ever-growing percentage of participants in community service positions, faith-based organizations, online social networking, as well as arts and recreational groups.
Lifelong participation in social, creative, and physical activities has proven health benefits, including retaining mobility, muscle mass, and cognitive abilities. But, older adults are not the only ones who benefit from their engagement in community life. Studies show their interactions with family, friends, and neighbors across generations enrich the lives of everyone involved. Young people who have significant relationships with a grandparent or elder report that these relationships helped shape their values, goals, and life choices, and gave them a sense of identity and roots.
We at the Area Agency on Aging District 7 are certainly proud of the opportunities we have had to provide services, supports and resources to older Americans year-round. The services and programs we can provide give us the opportunity to promote happy and productive lives for seniors and those with disabilities, allowing them to remain safe and independent in their home or community. If you’d like to learn more about resources that are available for you or your loved one, please call our Resource Center toll-free at 1-800-582-7277.
So, a happy Older Americans Month to all! Please take the time this month to recognize seniors throughout our ten counties and be sure to thank them for their important role in our communities.