By Triciajean Jones
Contributing one’s time, talent and life experience to benefit others is an act of kindness that never gets old.
Whether living independently or in a senior living community, seniors enrich our lives and strengthen our community in so many ways. In honor of Older Americans Month, the life enrichment team at St. Ann’s Community invites us to recognize and nurture these contributions.
• Offer to listen. With age comes a deeper understanding and perspective on life, making seniors among the wisest people in our society. When someone needs to talk about life’s ups and downs and the emotions that arise, you can offer sage wisdom and model patience and empathy that younger people often can’t yet provide.
• Share your story. Your life story is more engaging to others than you may realize. Why not share memories from your childhood or assemble a photo album of important moments in your life? During their time apart from family and friends, residents at St. Ann’s Community are busy writing down their life stories to send to loved ones. Whether created by hand or with the help of online video and photo services, sharing your stories will build and strengthen your bonds with each other.
• Sow seeds of hope. Everyone needs reassurance, especially in uncertain times. Use social media to share your words of wisdom. Visit St. Ann’s Community on Facebook and Instagram to see photos and messages from its residents for inspiration!
• Celebrate life. Focusing on what’s right in the world is difficult right now, but a well-lived life offers many reasons for celebration. St. Ann’s Community uses video technology to celebrate birthdays and bring family and friends together, even if they live across the country. Annual community-wide celebrations will continue, too, including the Centenarian Salute to honor the community’s oldest residents, and Project Glory Home to thank residents and staff who served in the armed forces.
• Volunteer. Senior living communities and senior centers would welcome your involvement in their social and recreational programs. Opportunities that match you with an elder who shares your interests nurture more meaningful connections. Volunteers at St. Ann’s visit residents, provide musical entertainment, assist with events, tend bar for happy hour, and so much more.
Abilities change over time, so when it’s time to transition to a senior living community, choose one that nurtures resident engagement.
Many of the volunteers at St. Ann’s Community are also residents. They tend to the community in many ways, including staffing the gift shop and cafe, reading to others and planting gardens to beautify their surroundings and bring hope to their neighbors. Others participate in intergenerational school programs, bake cookies for local fire departments, and knit hats for the needy in Rochester.
Now more than ever, we need the wisdom of our elders to help us learn from the past and fuel hope for the future. Enriched and supported by their love and guidance, we’ll be able to meet whatever comes our way with confidence.