May marks Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate the many contributions of older Americans. This year’s theme: connect, create, and contribute encourages older adults and community members to:
- Connect with friends, family, and services that build community
- Engage in opportunities that promote your learning and health, and enrich your personal life, and
- Contribute your talents and wisdom from your life’s experience to benefit others.
Below are ideas to help you connect, create, and contribute through May and beyond.
There are endless ways to connect with others, so feel free to get creative. Check out these suggestions to get you started.
- Attend local events to grow your social networks and meet neighbors. Coming up on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, you can join Mayor Muriel Bowser’s 8th Annual Senior Symposium from 8:30 AM– 3:00 PM. This event will feature speakers and educational workshops. Topics include: healthcare, legislation, elder justice, fall prevention, arts in aging, nutrition, accessing government resources, and more. Attendance is free. Register here.
- Visit an art show or museum. At Iona, you can join us on Saturday, June 22, 2019, from 2:00-4:00 PM for our annual Participant Artists Reception. This reception celebrates the artistic achievements of participants in our Wellness & Arts Center. Join us at Iona at 4125 Albemarle Street NW, Washington, DC 20016. RSVP to Art Therapist Susan Lee: email@example.com, 202-895-9471. There will be light refreshments. If you can’t make the show, you can still enjoy the artworks on display June 5 through September 6.
- Join a program for a daily or more consistent dose of fitness, stimulating activity such as art making or gardening, and fun. For example, Iona’s Active Wellness Program at St. Alban’s is a great place to make new friends. Whether you enjoy dancing or knitting, poetry or piano, cooking or computers, writing or the study of history — the opportunity to expand your horizons is always available. And, of course, your ideas and contributions about programming are always welcome.
- Another idea to stay connected is to schedule monthly check-ins or meet-ups with friends and family. This can be a call, video conference, dinner, or fun day.
Create by participating in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment. You get the benefit of learning something new, as well as helping others learn and grow. Check out these options for learning that you can enjoy with or pass along to friends.
- Attend free workshops around the city on different topics. At Iona, you can attend our FREE Understanding Options to Pay for Long-Term Care presentation on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 from 4:00-6:00 PM. Bring a friend, and learn about ways you or a loved one can pay for long-term care. Learn more and register here.
- Learn how to stay digitally connected or catch up on new technology trends. Connect.DC offers ongoing workshops throughout the year. Topics include: Smartphone 101 Workshop, Social Media 101 Workshop, Internet Safety Workshop, Free tech support, and PC for Beginners. Visit Connect.DC – Digital Inclusion Initiative to learn more and sign up.
- Drop into a new fitness class. This opportunity actually relates to all three themes. You can connect with others, create a new routine for staying fit or improving your strength and agility, and pass down techniques that you may have already mastered to others. Iona offers a wide array of fitness classes that you can attend no matter your level of fitness.
- Look into free courses, webinars, or workshops—even Youtube videos—to increase your understanding in a desired area. Of course you can invite your friends to make it more fun. Check out AroundTownDC.org to locate learning opportunities, discussions, shows, and even more in your area.
- Look into brain exercises to keep your mind sharp. If you are a 60+ year old Ward 3 resident of DC, and you love trivia, sign up for the DC Department on Aging and Community Living’s 3rd Annual Brain Games competition. DC Brain Games is a city-wide, Jeopardy-style trivia competition that promotes brain health. The competition begins on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at Iona. Contact Ashlea Steiner at (202) 895-9442 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register as an individual, or as a team of three to four people. Registration closes June 21, 2019.
There are many ways you can contribute to your communities. Reflect on your own skills and expertise, and offer a fun way to share your knowledge or time with others. You can also find local forums to speak on.
- Organize a reading club to discuss and compare take-a-ways around your favorite reads. You can even conduct virtual gatherings or meetings via video conferencing, or social networks such as Facebook or Google Hangouts.
- Host a cooking class for quick meals, or even a knitting group for friends in the neighborhood.
- Volunteer with causes you care about. At Iona, we welcome people of all ages, skills and experiences. Learn more about volunteer opportunities here.
- Advocate for a social cause or group that is near and dear to you or your loved ones. If you have a passion for working for better and more just services for older adults in the District, you might consider joining the DC Coalition on Long Term Care, the DC Senior Advisory Coalition, or The DC Center (which advocates for LGBTQ people, including LGBTQ older adults). The DC Center’s Center Aging Advocacy Meeting hosts a meeting on the first Month of each month from 12:30-1:00 PM.
Remember, there is no one way to connect, create, or contribute. Whether you follow one of these ideas, or start something new, we encourage you to build friendships, learn, teach others, and create this May, and throughout the year. Happy Older Americans Month!