Older Americans have built strength and resilience throughout their lives through successes, failures, joys, and hardships. May is Older Americans Month, where we recognize the contributions of older adults across the nations after many years of raising families and building careers. Older Americans give back to their communities in a variety of ways. The contributions and their stories help to support and inspire others. The 2021 theme for Older Americans Month is "Communities of Strength". Celebrating the strength of older adults, with special emphasis on the power of connection and engagement in building strong communities.
Our active adult programs went from busy schedules full of trips, games, classes, programs, and other group activities that brought them together regularly. When COVID regulations put restrictions on gatherings for safety, these amenities went away. While it was disappointing, the community of older Americans came together stronger, as we have seen time and time again here. As the Erie Community Center shut down, they rallied to meet virtually through ZOOM for various activities and programs. The group that painted twice a month began doing so through ZOOM; classes and coffee talks also happened virtually regularly to keep their community connected, engaged, and passionate.
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” - Helen Keller. The Active Adults community has always shined with strength and support from and to one another. When help is needed, they come together stronger, and COVID-19 did not change that. Through staying connected and continuing their communication, when one needed assistance, they were there to help, demonstrating how strong and resilient this community truly is. They would drop everything to take care of each other.
It is easy to have blinders on and have a different opinion of older Americans, including some negative stereotypes that underestimate their importance and experiences. When an individual needed help, it was amazing to see this community set up meal plans, cleaning schedules, and doing whatever else was needed to help the one in their struggle so that they could overcome it together. Their compassion, their knowledge, and their experiences have so much to offer. They show fun spirits through joy and excitement, despite having suffered through losses and other hardships. “They have so much experience and love to offer” - Cindy Hickman Recreation Coordinator - Active Adults.
“We don’t heal in isolation but in community,” a quote by S. Kelley Harrell that resonates with the times and struggles. In our older American community, we saw this time and time again as our Active Adults came together to engage with and support one another. Their community growing stronger and proving resilience through positive attitudes, smiles, laughter, passion, and love for one another. Whether it was through fun activities or supporting one of their own in need of that extra hand. The older American community is truly a gift that leads through experience with an optimistic and fun-loving nature.
Active Adult Programs and Resources