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Family Living Focus: Make your mark – May is Older Americans Month

Every May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. The 2020 theme is “Make Your Mark. This theme was selected to encourage and celebrate countless contributions that older adults make to our communities. Their time, experience, and talents benefit family, peers, and neighbors every day. Communities, organizations, and individuals of all ages are also making their marks. This year’s theme highlights the difference everyone can make in the lives of older adults, in support of caregivers, and to strengthen communities.

Giving to the

Next Generation

From self-expression to self-direction, there are countless ways for older adults to stay engaged and give back to others at the same time. Some of the most rewarding ways to express yourself and contribute to your community involve passing on experiences, wisdom, and skills to the generations that follow.

Everyone has something to share, and these ideas can help get you started.

Mentor. Use professional or personal experiences to guide a child, young adult, or even a peer. Example: Become a foster grandparent.

Volunteer. Put skills to use while giving back to your community.

Example: Sign up to collect food/clothing donations, serve meals at a local soup kitchen, or help older friends with daily tasks at home such as paying bills.

Teach. Impart expertise via formal or informal education and tutoring opportunities.

Example: Check with local schools that may need reading, math, or science tutors.

Speak. Sign up for speaking engagements, paid or unpaid, as well as storytelling events.

Example: Open-mic events, often at theaters and libraries, welcome speakers of all ages.

Engage. Visit a senior center or organize a gathering focused on connecting with others.

Example: Book clubs attract participants of all ages and encourage the exchange of ideas.

Write. Pen an article, op-ed, or even a book to communicate wisdom and lessons learned. Example: Start with something you know the most about, such as a career, hobby, or historical event, and submit a column to your local newspaper.

Create. Pick a medium and use art to express yourself and share your perspective.

Example: Paint, draw, sculpt, play music, dance, make crafts or whatever suits you.

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Information adapted from article from the Administration for Community Living.

If you would like more information on “Make Your Mark – May is Older Americans Month” contact Gail Gilman, Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus University of Minnesota at waldn001@umn.edu. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus™ information in next week’s paper.

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