Older Americans Month honors each unique life

COLUMBUS — May is Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate the lifelong contributions of America’s oldest citizens and their continued value to their communities.

It is also a time to thank the legions of area agency on aging and senior center staff, long-term care workers, family caregivers, advocates and volunteers that make up Ohio’s aging network. To learn about local celebrations or to access services and supports for a loved one, contact the Area Agency on Aging.

“We all have a role in ensuring that everyone has the ability to age with grace and dignity in the settings of our choosing, and with rich and meaningful opportunities to contribute and thrive,” said Ursel J. McElroy, director of the Ohio Department of Aging. “It’s not just about increasing the years we have, but also increasing the quality of those years. Ohio’s aging network works every day to help all Ohioans live healthier, more active lives.”

Each year, the U.S. Administration for Community Living establishes a theme for Older Americans Month. Recognizing that each person’s life is unique, the 2022 theme is “Age Your Way.” While the theme will be different for each person, here are some things that can be done to mark Older Americans Month:

• Plan: Think about personal needs and wants in the future, from home and community-based services to community activities that are of interest. Explore personal benefits that are available. Learn rights as a long-term care consumer.

• Engage: Remain involved and contribute to the local community through recreation, work, volunteer, or civic participation opportunities.

• Be safe at home: Make home improvements and modifications, use assistive technologies, access caregiver resources, and customize supports to help better aging in place.

• Stay healthy: Learn about and adopt lifestyle choices that enable good health, such as eating right, managing chronic health conditions, maintaining brain health, and preventing falls.

• Connect: Engage in social activities and relationships to combat social isolation and stay connected to the community.

Explore information to help accomplish all of these things on the Ohio Department of Aging’s website, www.aging.ohio.gov. Call 866-246-5678 to be connected to the area agency on aging serving locally to learn about resources and opportunities available.