The theme for 2021 is Communities of Strength. Older residents are the backbone of our community and have helped shape where we are today. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience from which we can all learn. Taking the time to interact with this generation helps us continue to build our strong and resilient community.
The Administration for Community Living has released suggestions to help make connections during Older Americans Month:
- · 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 home cooked meal.
- · Build new skills: Learning something new allows us to practice overcoming challenges. You might take an art course online or try a socially distanced outdoor movement class. Have a skill to share? Find an opportunity to teach an older person how to use technology, or ask an older person to teach life skills, such as sewing a button or baking from scratch, to a younger community member.
- · 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.
Throughout the pandemic, Hopewell Valley Senior Services has explored different paths to stay connected with our older adults. The Senior Spirit newsletter has temporarily turned into an activity book with crossword puzzles and word finds in addition to local activities. Sadly, we were unable to host our 2020 Senior Picnic at Washington Crossing State Park. Instead, Senior Services partnered with different community organizations to register seniors and deliver boxes of cookies with gift bags to their homes. We were able to spend some quality time with these residents while bringing them sweet treats.
We worked with the Hopewell Valley Historical Society to create various puzzles, which can be found on the Senior Services webpage. We also co-hosted two different history walks that were so popular that we needed to repeat them. We will continue our partnership with more history walks in 2021. Watch the Senior Spirit newsletter for more details. And if you do not receive the Senior Spirit newsletter by mail or email, contact Randi Knechel at email@example.com or 609-537-0236.
Upcoming activities for 2021 include co-hosting monthly health presentations via Zoom with Capital Health on a variety of topics of interest to seniors. These exciting talks are always followed by a fun activity.
The Hopewell Township Recreation Department has some wonderful outdoor, in person, entertainment at Woolsey Park planned during May. A concert on May 5 will feature the instrumental and vocal talents of students from our area schools. And on May 20, International Magician Extraordinaire Will Fern will perform his magic show to dazzle our seniors.
Senior Services has been working diligently and collaboratively with Hopewell Township and Montgomery Health Departments to help our older adults in the Valley get vaccinated. We understand how frustrating this process has been for many of you and are doing what we can to assist in the process. If you are still in need of a vaccination, please contact Hopewell Valley Senior Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-537-0236. Our waiting list is coming to an end, and we are confident you will receive a vaccine within Mercer County.
We are so thrilled to be celebrating Older Americans Month in May!