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Older Americans Month: Communities of Strength

May 2021- Lisa Monroe, Director of the Tompkins County Office for the Aging

In tough times, communities find strength in people—and people find strength in their communities. In the past year, we’ve seen this time and again in Tompkins County as friends, neighbors, and businesses have found new ways to support each other.

In our community, older adults are a key source of this strength. Through their experiences, successes, and difficulties, they have built resilience that helps them to face new challenges. When communities tap into this, they become stronger too.

Each May, the Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of Older Americans Month (OAM). This year’s theme is Communities of Strength, recognizing the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities.

Strength is built and shown not only by bold acts, but also small ones of day-to-day life—a conversation shared with a friend, working in the garden, trying a new recipe, or taking time for a cup of tea on a busy day. And when we share these activities with others—even virtually or by telling about the experience later—we help them build resilience too.

This year, Tompkins County Office for the Aging and Lifelong will celebrate OAM by encouraging community members to share their experiences. Together, we can find strength—and create a stronger future.

Here are some ways to share and connect:

  • Look for joy in the everyday: Celebrate small moments and ordinary pleasures by taking time to recognize them. Start a gratitude journal and share it with others via social media or call a friend or family member to share a happy moment or to say thank you.
  • Reach out to neighbors: Even if you can’t get together in person right now, you can still connect with your neighbors. Leave a small gift on their doorstep, offer to help with outdoor chores, or deliver a homecooked meal.
  • Build new skills: Learning something new allows us to practice overcoming challenges. Take an art course online or try a socially distanced outdoor movement class to enjoy learning with others in your community. Have a skill to share? Find an opportunity to teach someone, even casually.
  • Share your story: There’s a reason storytelling is a time-honored activity. Hearing how others experience the world helps us grow. Interviewing family, friends, and neighbors can open up new conversations and strengthen our connections.

When people of different ages, backgrounds, abilities, and talents share experiences—through action, story, or service—we help build strong communities. And that’s something to celebrate! Please join us in strengthening our community- to tell us yours, you can email Caryn Bullis at cbullis@tompkins-co.org at the Office for the Aging or Tammy Dunn tdunn@tclifelong.org at Lifelong.

Also please see or websites and social media pages for updates, activities and announcements.

https://www2.tompkinscountyny.gov/cofa

https://www.facebook.com/tcofficefortheaging/

http://www.tclifelong.org/

https://www.facebook.com/lifelong.tcscc

We hope to share some of these connections and stories as part of our virtual celebration for our outstanding volunteer of the year award which will be postponed to September 2021 prior to NYSOFA’s state recognition event on October 1, 2021.

https://acl.gov/sites/default/files/oam/2021/OAMLogoRGB.jpg