By Stephen Smith
Older adults are a vital part of our society. Since 1963, communities across the country have shown their gratitude by celebrating Older Americans Month each May. The theme of this year’s celebration is Get into the Act, to focus on how older adults are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others.
The theme also reflects on the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Older Americans Act into law in July 1965. Since that time, the Act has provided a nationwide aging services network and funding that helps older adults live with dignity in the communities of their choice for as long as possible. These services include home-delivered and congregate meals, caregiver support, community-based assistance, preventive health services, elder abuse prevention, and much more.
By promoting and engaging in activity, wellness, and inclusivity, more Americans than ever before can Get into the Act. While Best of Care provides home care services to older adults year-round, during Older Americans Month we want to provide resources that can help older adults access the home- and community-based services they need to live independently in their communities. It is also an occasion to highlight how older adults are engaging with and making a difference in those communities.
Today, the Internet offers resources to help seniors decide on where to live, how to live, who to connect with and how to spend their free time. From services that are provided within your home, to a range of independent/active or assisted living options, to social web sites that connect people with similar interests, our choices and opportunities to stay active and involved as we grow older are greater than ever before.
Regardless of whether you still live in your own home or in a senior community, there are many ways to connect, meet new people and contribute.
VolunteerMatch.org and the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative are great resources if you’re looking for volunteer opportunities. If you’re looking for a rewarding retirement career, the National Able Network helps seniors find fulfilling part or full time positions with employers, to senior-specific MeetUp groups to the, to volunteer legal service organizations such as the Senior Partners for Justice.
Are you looking for support that can help you or your elderly loved one get the services they need to remain healthy in their homes and engaged in their communities? A great place to start is the Massachusetts Office of Elder Affairs, which provides home care and other services to 45,000 elders each month. Twenty seven local Area Agencies on Aging and Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) provide interdisciplinary case management and contract with agencies and organizations to offer companion/homemaker, supportive day care, adult day health, home health aide, laundry, medication dispensation, transportation, grocery shopping and delivery and more.
Are you or your loved one seeking to move to a seniors community that offers an active lifestyle, wellness services and activities? Check out the variety of options on the Massachusetts pages of web sites such as the Village-to-Village Network, SeniorHomes.com, RetireNet.com, SeniorLiving.org and others.
Discover Older Americans Month! Visit http://acl.gov/olderamericansmonth
Contact your local Area Agency on Aging office by visiting http://www.eldercare.gov/ or calling 1-800- 677-1116 to find ongoing opportunities to celebrate and support older Americans.