Celebrating Older Americans Month: powered by connection


Established in 1963, Older Americans Month (OAM) is celebrated every May. Led by a federal agency, the Administration for Community Living (ACL), OAM is a time to recognize older Americans’ contributions, highlight aging trends, and reaffirm commitments to serving the older adults in our communities.

This year’s theme, “Powered by Connection,” focuses on the profound impact that meaningful connections have on the well-being and health of older adults — a relationship underscored by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community.

“It’s not just about having someone to chat with,” said Shelley Ratliff, Executive Director at the Preble County Council on Aging. “It’s about the transformative potential of community engagement in enhancing mental, physical, and emotional well-being.” According to Shelley, by recognizing and nurturing the role that connectedness plays, we can mitigate issues like loneliness, ultimately promoting healthy aging for more Americans.

How can community groups, businesses, and organizations mark OAM?

•Spread the word about the mental, physical, and emotional health benefits of social connection through professional and personal networks.

•Encourage social media followers to share their thoughts and stories of connection using hashtag #PoweredByConnection to inspire and uplift.

•Promote opportunities to engage, like cultural activities, recreational programs, and interactive virtual events.

•Connect older adults with local services, such as counseling, that can help them overcome obstacles to meaningful relationships and access to support systems.

•Host connection-centric events or programs where older adults can serve as mentors to peers, younger adults, or youths.

What can individuals do to connect?

•Invite more connection into your life by finding a new passion, joining a social club, taking a class, or trying new activities in your community.

•Stay engaged in your community by giving back through volunteering, working, teaching, or mentoring.

•Invest time with people to build new relationships and discover deeper connections with your family, friends, colleagues, or neighbors.

We are celebrating this theme at our Annual Senior Day & Annual Meeting event on Tuesday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., here at the center. It will take place in our Red Barn. We will have over 30 vendors, a live band, The Silvertones, food, refreshments, selfie station with FotoRN, coffee (Frontline Coffee), ice cream (Fat Daddyz Sweet Treats), and so much more!

We will also be announcing the Outstanding Senior of the Year. You must be nominated for this award and then each county has someone who is recognized to have made a difference in their communities after reaching age 60. Nominees must be at least 60 years of age, a legal resident of Ohio for at least five years, and have made significant contributions to the community. A husband and wife may receive the award jointly when both have been involved in community service. We will also hold our Annual Meeting, where we will have a speaker from the Ohio Attorney General’s office speak on Senior Scams and what to do if it happens to you. We will end the day with door prizes and to win these door prizes, you must be present to win. This event is sponsored in part by Reid Health Alliance and Reid Health. Please be patient with us, as construction will still be taking place. It will be a day of fun and did I mention completely free! You need to be there!

The center has plenty of opportunities available to you on just about anything. If there is a topic that you would like to hear about, please let us know and we will try our best to make that happen. We’d love to see you come on down to the Senior Center for some fun, food, and socialization. It’s a wonderful place where you can connect with someone or get involved with something. Don’t forget that you can become a member for just $10 a year and you will stay up to date with all of our events and happenings. Membership is valid from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. We are looking forward to seeing you visit us soon!

Preble County Council on Aging is located at 800 East St. Clair Street in Eaton. For more information, call 937-456-4947 or 1-800-238-5146, or email [email protected]. Preble County Transit can be reached at 937-456-9272.

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