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In Celebration of Older Americans Month: Empowering Older Adults to Age in Place

Each year, the nation takes a moment to honor older adults during Older Americans Month. Led by the Administration for Community Living, this celebration during the month of May recognizes that older adults play vital, positive roles in our communities as family members, friends, mentors, volunteers, civic leaders, members of the workforce, and more. This year’s theme—Age My Way—focuses on how we can best support older adults aging in community, many of whom are living independently and participating in meaningful ways.

Just as every person is unique, so too is how they age and how they choose to do so. There is no right or wrong way to age.

One thing we know is that most Americans wish to remain in their own homes and communities as they age. So, it is critical to increase access to services and supports that promote aging in place. Community Care Corps is a national program that funds local organizations to provide volunteer-delivered, non-medical services that encourage independence and respond to individual needs so that all Americans can age their way.

Community Care Corps grantees implement innovative volunteer models to fill local service gaps and promote healthy community living for older adults, adults with disabilities and family caregivers. Below are just a few examples of the services grantees offer their communities every day:

  • Social engagement: providing opportunities to engage in social activities and relationships that are critical to nurturing community connections and combatting isolation and loneliness.

  • Caregiver support: enabling and empowering family caregivers to take time to attend to their own needs and prioritize their mental, emotional and physical health.

  • Accessible transportation: facilitating access to key medical appointments, social activities and other vital resources.

  • Meal services: helping ensure that individuals have access to well-balanced, nutrient-rich meals that promote nutrition.

  • Technology assistance: bridging the digital divide and helping individuals maximize the benefits of telehealth services as well as virtual social participation.

  • Home modifications: helping foster safe physical environments that minimize hazards and promote mobility.

Because our nation’s older adults, adults with disabilities and family caregivers have such unique experiences, backgrounds and needs, volunteer models must be innovative in their approaches to service delivery. Community Care Corps grantees have not only embraced but have met this challenge! Although their approaches may differ, all grantees have demonstrated their commitment to providing appropriate supports that enable individuals to continue living at home in communities.

Ensuring that older adults, adults with disabilities and family caregivers remain involved and included in our communities for as long as possible benefits everyone. Please join us in strengthening communities. If you are developing or implementing an innovative volunteer model to creatively meet local needs, apply to be a Community Care Corps grantee today!

A full list of current Community Care Corps grantees can be found here. To read up on the impact of last year’s grantees, be sure to check out the 2020-2021 Grantee Snapshots publication.

For more information on Older Americans Month, visit the official OAM website, follow ACL on Twitter and Facebook, and join the conversation using #OlderAmericansMonth.

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