By Blog Coordinator Meghan Randolph
Did you know that every May is Older Americans Month? It’s an awesome opportunity for extra celebration!
Founded by the Administration for Community Living, Older Americans Month takes place in May of each year. During this month, we recognize how older Americans influence and enhance their communities with their unique gifts, time, experiences, and love. Each year also comes with a theme. For 2020, it’s “Make Your Mark.”
Reading about Older Americans Month, I got to thinking about the incredible influence older Americans have had on my life. So many stories come to mind, but one sticks out in particular.
My parents both grew up in the small town of Marshall, Missouri, where my grandfather was the town veterinarian until he passed away. When I was about ten, we were visiting the town and my dad’s car needed an emergency repair. We arrived at the repair shop on a sunny afternoon, and my dad gave his name to the man who greeted us in the parking lot. “Randolph?” said the mechanic. “Are you related to Bob and Katie Randolph?”
“Yes,” my dad said. “They’re my parents.”
The mechanic got quiet for a second, then smiled at us. “About ten years ago, my dog was hurt. We took the dog to your Dad and he tried so hard to save him. We lost the dog, and a week or so later we got a card from your Mom, offering her condolences and saying she knew that animals were family.” The mechanic stopped for a second. “I never forgot that,” he said. “Your Dad was such a dedicated vet, and your Mom showed me so much kindness.” We were all very touched by the story.
When we went to pick up the car, the mechanic smiled and said “No charge.”
I have worn my grandmother’s ruby ring every day for fifteen years. (It’s actually taken on a really weird shape. Maybe I have a weird finger…) The compassion and kindness my grandparents exuded is remembered, and their dedication to their business and community struck me in my youth as an important example to follow. Older adults are so influential, often without even knowing it. (My grandmother didn’t remember that act of kindness, but that mechanic sure did!)
Older Americans Month is about finding those memories and reflecting on the ways that older adults make a difference in our world; past, present, and future. Here are a few ways to reflect and share:
Jumpstart the Memories
Discuss treasured memories with friends, or write about them. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What do you wish you could tell your 22-year-old self?
- What do you think your 22-year-old self would want to tell you?
- Was there a time an older adult helped you feel stronger?
- What’s your hidden talent?
- What are you most proud of?
Share your passions and experiences
Try the following suggestions for passing along the things you love in life! You can have your loved ones of any age do these things too.
- Pick a song you love and sing or play it for someone (or just for yourself!) See if you can articulate why you love it.
- Use your phone or computer to record a story. (Hint: Many phones come with a recorder or camera installed. You can also visit your phone’s App store and download one for free.) Share it with friends and loved ones. If you need help doing this, give SAIL a call!
- Read a favorite poem or book passage to a friend, loved one, or just to yourself. Reflect on why it means so much to you.
- Draw a picture or use another method of art to express a happy memory, and share the memory and art with a friend.
The official Older Americans Month website has many more suggestions for celebrating! Visit the links below for more.
SAIL knows about the incredible contributions that older Americans make to our society in a multitude of ways! We’re glad America recognizes those contributions too!
Activities for Older Americans Month
Older Americans Month social media graphics
“Engage Virtually” newsletter
Journaling and conversation questions
History of Older Americans Month