SENIOR LIFESTYLES: Celebrating Older Americans Month

Established in 1963, Older Americans Month (OAM) is celebrated every May. Led by a federal agency, the Administration for Community Living (ACL), 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 impact that meaningful connections have on the well-being and health of older adults — a relationship underscored by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community.

“It’s not just about having someone to chat with,” said Pamela Sullivan, director of Stanly County Senior Services. “It’s about the transformative potential of community engagement in enhancing mental, physical, and emotional well-being.”

According to Sullivan, by recognizing and nurturing the role that connectedness plays, individuals can mitigate issues like loneliness, ultimately promoting healthy aging for more Americans.

How can community groups, businesses, and organizations mark 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.

What can individuals do to connect?

• Invite more connection into your life by finding a new passion, joining a social club, taking a class, or trying new activities at your Senior Center.

• Stay engaged in your community by giving back through volunteering, working, teaching or mentoring.

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

Stanly County Senior Services is at 283 N. 3rd St., Albemarle. Call 704-986-3769.