Older inspires our community!

October 29, 2018

#OlderInspiresMe is a campaign to recognize and celebrate the many ways older adults contribute to our lives.

Older people are sometimes seen as out of touch with the times, boring, or useless. At Iona, we know that’s not true. Here, everyday our staff witnesses the vibrancy, creativity, curiosity, and agency of older adults.

In celebration of the many ways  older people make a difference in our communities,  we asked staff, volunteers, participants, and community members to share how #OlderInspiresMe.

Here are some community responses:

“Always give back. The leadership of my senior village demonstrates how valuable wisdom is and how important it is to always give back to others. They inspire me by showing what women in their 70’s and 80’s look like – strong, active, smart, and passionate.” – Denise S.

“Always keep seeking knowledge. My grandmother [was] orphaned by the Spanish flu. She raised two children alone after being widowed in the Great War. She only went to the sixth grade, but always revered learning. She told me when I was a child that I had to be educated.” – Carol M.

“To take care of our families. My grandmother watched over her daughter who was disabled all her life. Her daughter is living in a group home now where there is a church across the street. I think that would mean a lot to my grandmother.” – Kelly D.

“Stay active. My mother, born in 1931, who still enjoys line dancing almost as much as all-she-can-eat crab legs!” – Laree M.

“Keep striving + thriving. My neighbors ride bikes, do home improvements + are holding down jobs. I’m also inspired by the Back to Work 50+ Program.” – Carlyn C.

“Keep a sense of perspective and humor. [My friend], a retired teacher and former mentor, faces challenges with declining vision and mobility, but she never complains. She’s quick to share a joke, wry observation about politics, or a line from her favorite poet. [She] is a dear friend and inspiration.” – Chhaya R.

“To appreciate the many things they are. All older people inspire me. They are wise historians and preservers of the past. Teachers of the present. Guides to the future. I respect and admire all older people because of the many things they have and offer.” – Edda S.

“Record memories of my grandparents.” – Helene K.

“I am inspired by a fellow member of my congregation. She is a retired teacher/mother of 2 sons, and at least 3 foster children (that I know of), and a mother/grandmother figure to SO many of us in our congregation! Her careful, considered caring has touched all of our lives… with my own family, when my wife needed 2 operations, she insisted that she go and stay with her to convalesce, so that I did not have to miss work, as a sole proprietor. She observed our birthdays by having a “family dinner” at which she would serve the favorite menu of the birthday celebrant. She is a shrewd judge of determining what people need, and how she can reach out to them and care for them, in a mutually dignified manner. In short, she lives by the Golden Rule.” – Norman S.

“Take a step back and think. My mom inspired me to embrace novelty in food, food products, and utensils with caution. I was reading labels before it was fashionable, and careful with plastic containers before concerns were raised!” – Joana R.

“Keep being creative. I have had many older women in my life inspire my love of art and being creative. My mother was a wonderful knitter and used to make beautiful hooked rugs when I was little. My grandmother was a milliner and made my wedding veil.” – Jill T.

“Live in the moment and reach out to others. I’m inspired by everyone around me. I’m challenged to widen my head and heart to new ideas, to reach out to new friends and to remember longtime friends and family with more love, keeping in touch and smiles.” – Le R.

“Take chances. My grandmother graduated from Columbia Dental School in 1922 and then went on to become one of the first orthodontists. On the side she studied business law at night, got a degree in interior design and had four children!” – Wendy B.

“Go from aging to saging. Use the wisdom life lessons has taught you; share and embrace the friendships, aspire to always know more.” – Martha H.

“Be completely me.” – Linda J.

“Stay independent as long as I can. One of my all-time best friends was a woman 30 years older than I was. We were so much alike. When she told me about her life experiences, I felt as though I was looking into a crystal ball showing what my own future could be like if I could be as brave.” – Ann H.

“Be a angel to others. There is a senior neighbor who has cancer and he still wants to help others in any way he can.” – Cedric B.

“Follow your heart. My mother, “Age is only a number on the Calendar. You are as young as you dare to feel.” No wonder all her life people thought she was my sister.” – Raji T.

“Listen and be kind.” – Doug B.

“Soar. As a young social worker, my supervisor at my first very challenging job was an older, joyful woman with much wisdom. She was inspirational to me. I always found myself fascinated with the interesting stories and endless discussions of life and its turns.” – Kris L.

Add your voice

Want to join the movement? Tell us how an older person inspires you by filling out this form. We’ll print any responses, and post them in our lobby and online community in deep gratitude to the older people who have shaped our lives for the better.

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