I have a big favor to ask everyone. I want you to call an older adult in your life today. Let them know you care. Better yet, visit an older adult and give them a big hug. Tell them how much they mean to you.
May is one of the most important months of the year, because it’s Older Americans Month, and it’s a time when we need to give a little (really, a lot) of love to the older adults in our lives and community who have done so much for us.
They’ve raised us, hugged us when we were hurt or feeling down. They’ve fought wars and blazed trails to give us the life we enjoy. And it’s our responsibility to give back.
I try to call my aunts and uncles regularly, but this month, I’m making a special effort to carve out some time to give my 94-year-old uncle Bubba a call. Then I’m going to call my aunts Vicky and Shirley and also Uncle Wayne. I’m going to tell them I’m thinking of them, and I’m going to thank them for the influence they’ve had on my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
I wish they all lived closer so I could wrap my arms around them, like they used to do with me. But, since the miles separate us, I’m going to call (not send a text or message them on Facebook.) I want to make a call and have a real conversation.
It’s Time to Focus on Seniors’ Concerns
Too often seniors tell me that they feel forgotten and ignored. I understand where they are coming from. Issues garnering headlines, attention and philanthropic dollars are most often focused on early childhood education and family resources. These are very important issues, of course. However, older adults are important, too, and big concerns—such as affordable, safe houses for seniors, reliable transportation, food insecurity—don’t get enough attention or funding.
Nearly 17 percent of Indiana’s population is made up of people 65 and older, and that percentage is getting larger every year.
What’s also overlooked is that older adults continue to give back. Older Hoosiers contribute an estimated $5.4 billion a year to our economy in both paid and unpaid work, according to the 2021 CICOA Community Assessment Survey of Older Adults.
Yet, right here in Indiana, where Hoosier Hospitality runs deep, 40 percent of older adults say they feel lonely or isolated; 30 percent say they feel like they don’t fit in or don’t have family or friends around they can count on.
Those are sad facts.
Ways to Make Seniors Feel Special During Older Americans Month
We are focused on older adults at CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions every day, but we’re going to do even more this month. We’re going to bring some extra love to senior meal sites, and we’re asking our Senior Buddies to make an extra call or visit to homebound seniors. (If you want to be a Senior Buddy, click here to sign up.)
We’re just one organization, and we can’t reach the more than 1 million older adults who call Indiana home, so I’m asking you to help us. There are a lot of things you can do to make someone feel special. This month, I’m asking you to join me in showing some extra attention to older adults in your life.
- Take some time each week in the month of May to call an older adult in your life.
- If you live near an older adult, please visit.
- Take some flowers to an older adult in your neighborhood.
- Take an older adult in your life for lunch or coffee.
- Crack open a bottle of some sparkling juice and celebrate!
I’d love to know how it went, or what you did. Post a photo or a comment on social media and use #OlderAdultsMonth. Then, ask your family and friends to do the same.
Let’s let older adults know that we do care, that we appreciate them, and they matter.
GIVE BACK TO THOSE WHO RAISED US
Honor a senior with a gift today
As President and CEO, Tauhric Brown uses his strategic vision and experience in the elderly and disability service industry to expand CICOA services and collaborative partnerships to better meet the needs of the vulnerable populations we serve. Before joining CICOA, Brown served as the chief operating officer for Senior Services, Inc. in Kalamazoo, Mich. His career started in the U.S. Army, and then he became a successful owner/operator for a multi-carrier wireless retail company. Inspired by his family and upbringing, he made the switch to the nonprofit world to fulfill his dream of improving the lives of others.