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Older Americans Month: Communities of Strength

May 1, 2021 (Council Bluffs) In tough times, communities find strength in people—and people find strength in their communities. In the past year, we’ve seen this time and again throughout Iowa as friends, neighbors, and businesses have found new ways to support each other.

In our 20-county service area, older adults are a key source of this strength. Through their experiences, successes, and difficulties, they have built resilience that helps them to face new challenges. When communities tap into this, they become stronger too.

Each May, Connections Area Agency on Aging and the Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of Older Americans Month (OAM). This year’s theme is Communities of Strength, recognizing the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities. “This past year, our Older Iowans have had to pull from their reservoirs for strength. While isolated, many depended upon their communities of friends, family, and neighbors.” Said Kelly Butts, CEO at Connections Area Agency on Aging. She continued “They, like so many of us, have learned new ways to adapt by utilizing technology for medical appointments, to shop, and stay connected with loved ones – developing strong communities of their choosing within their towns and cities.”

Strength is built and shown not only by bold acts, but also small ones of day-to-day life—a conversation shared with a friend, working in the garden, trying a new recipe, or taking time for a cup of tea on a busy day. And when we share these activities with others—even virtually or by telling about the experience later—we help them build resilience too.

This year, Connections Area Agency on Aging will celebrate OAM by encouraging community members to share their experiences. Together, we can find strength—and create a stronger future.

Here are some ways to share and connect:

Watch our Facebook and Instagram pages for Strengthening Wisdom from Seniors: daily posts will share their wisdom and wit to get us through life and even hard times. Add your own tidbits of wisdom from an older person by commenting.

Join us in Sioux City for our May Shredtastic and in Council Bluffs’ Parking Lot Health Fair: This event helps seniors and their caregivers safely discard personal papers, helping to prevent identity theft. Safety precautions will be in place. For more details, give us at call.

Join us for Virtual Events: Watch our social media for announcements of topics, dates and time.

Look for joy in the everyday: Celebrate small moments and ordinary pleasures by taking time to recognize them. Start a gratitude journal and share it with others via social media, or call a friend or family member to share a happy moment or to say thank you.

Reach out to neighbors: Even if you can’t get together in person right now, you can still connect with your neighbors. Leave a small gift on their doorstep, offer to help with outdoor chores, or deliver a homecooked meal.

Build new skills: Learning something new allows us to practice overcoming challenges. Take an art course online or try a socially distanced outdoor movement class to enjoy learning with others in your community. Have a skill to share? Find an opportunity to teach someone, even casually.

Share your story: There’s a reason storytelling is a time-honored activity. Hearing how others experience the world helps us grow. Interviewing family, friends, and neighbors can open up new conversations and strengthen our connections.

When people of different ages, backgrounds, abilities, and talents share experiences—through action, story, or service—we help build strong communities. And that’s something to celebrate! Please join Connections Area Agency on Aging in strengthening our community.

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Connections Area Agency is one of six Area Agencies on Aging in Iowa, and part of a nationwide network. With a mission of enhancing the quality of life for elders in 20 counties through education, planning and coordination of services, Connections Area Agency on Aging is the premier agency for assisting elders, caregivers, and their families to access the information and services needed for independence and life transitions. Offices are located in Council Bluffs, Creston and Sioux City. For more information, contact Connections AAA at 800-432-9209 or at www.connectionsaaa.org

© 2021 Connections Area Agency on Aging

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