This month, as we recover from the madness of the holiday season, we’ve been taking time to reflect on our mission and what we want to focus on in this new year. This led us to the question, “What’s missing?” What’s missing from our programs here at AHH, what’s missing from our community, our culture, and the world? What would we do if we had unlimited resources and community support, and what’s our vision for the future?
What’s missing? All older adults and adults with disabilities feeling valued, being cared for, and fully participating in the community.
There’s no easy way to bring this about. Here are a few action steps that we’ve come up with:
- Volunteer! Your time and energy may be the most valuable thing you can donate. Find out ways you can volunteer to benefit older adults, and do it regularly.
- Increase the availability of reliable, accessible, and free transportation options. Transportation is central to anyone’s ability to participate in the world outside their home. Be an advocate for transportation options that work for everyone.
- Pay attention to local politics. Funding for affordable housing, senior centers, public transportation, and livable, accessible communities is often decided on the local level. Figure out if your local politicians are acting in the interest of older adults and adults with disabilities, and then vote.
- Build intergenerational friendships. Make a connection with someone who is 20 years older or younger than you. Changing our age-segregated and ageist society is a huge task, but personally getting to know someone from a different generation is one way to make a dent.
- Be an active member of your community. In caring for older adults, there’s no replacement for community. Introduce yourself to your neighbors, go to (or organize) your neighborhood potlucks and HOA meetings, join a local group or class, see what meetings are coming up at town hall, join your neighborhood list serv or social media group.
What do you think? How can we make this happen?