May 2, 2019

Connect, Create and Contribute

By Becky Passman
Milestones AAA CEO

May is Older Americans Month, and each year the Administration for Community Living designates a theme for the celebration. This year’s theme is “Connect, Create, Contribute”. Let’s take a moment to unpack and think about those three words for a moment. Just as a wide array of services and programs constitute Milestones AAA (Area Agency on Aging), a dynamic prescription for living is packed into those three C’s.

CONNECT: Social isolation and/or loneliness have grown at an alarming rate among older adults, presenting huge risk factors for mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being. Among the many reasons for high risk among older adults are living alone (often in rural areas or non-pedestrian friendly neighborhoods); health problems/disability; hearing/sight loss; loss of support network: spouse, friends, relocated children/grandchildren, etc. The remedy? Connect.

If you’re mobile, get out and expand your network: join lunch at a congregate meal site; participate in one of the Milestones Evidence-based classes, such as Tai chi or Fresh Conversations, form a walking group. Reach out to bring those who are less mobile into your orbit with your physical presence and caring: stop by to say hello; offer to run an errand; play a game of cards; share hobby ideas; join or create a book club. The list of possibilities is as varied as each individual and any one can enrich all involved. If you’re not so mobile, reach out through social media, telephone, discussion groups; social media can be helpful and serve a purpose, particularly if loved ones live out-of-town, but there is no substitute for genuine human contact.

CREATE: Write, whether stories, poems, journaling, or a letter to the editor about an issue you care about. Practice (or acquire!) a skill or talent you enjoy – take a class in drawing, pottery, scrapbooking, cooking, woodwork, sculpture, playing an instrument or singing. Whatever you may choose to do, think of a way to try to include someone else, especially someone who may be lonely, shy, or more isolated than yourself.

CONTRIBUTE: There are so many ways to contribute, be it time, skills, or gifts. Of course we’re always grateful for monetary contributions, but as important is your time, talent, skill, expertise, or desire to reach out to others.

Connect, Create, and Contribute – call 855-410-6222 toll free if Milestones can help!