In tough times, communities find strength in people—and people find strength in their communities. In the past year, we’ve seen this time and again in Ottawa County as friends, neighbors, and businesses have found new ways to support each other.
In our community, older adults are a key source of this strength. Through their experiences, successes, and difficulties, they have built resilience that helps them to face new challenges. When communities tap into this, they become stronger too.
Each May, the Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of Older Americans Month (OAM). This year’s theme is Communities of Strength, recognizing the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities.
Strength is built and shown not only by bold acts, but also small ones of day-to-day life—a conversation shared with a friend, working in the garden, trying a new recipe, or taking time for a cup of tea on a busy day. And when we share these activities with others, we help them build resilience too.
This year, Ottawa County Senior Resources will celebrate OAM by encouraging community members to share their experiences. Together, we can find strength—and create a stronger future.
Here are some ways to share and connect:
Look for joy in the everyday: Celebrate small moments and ordinary pleasures by taking time to recognize them. Start a gratitude journal, start by calling a friend or family member to share a happy moment or to say thank you.
Reach out to neighbors: Even if you can’t get together in person right now, you can still connect with your neighbors. Leave a small gift on their doorstep, offer to help with outdoor chores, or deliver a home-cooked meal.
Build new skills: Learning something new allows us to practice overcoming challenges. Have a skill to share? Find an opportunity to teach someone, even casually.
Share your story: There’s a reason storytelling is a time-honored activity. Hearing how others experience the world helps us grow. Checking in with family, friends, and neighbors can open up new conversations and strengthen our connections.