CREATE for Older Americans Month

by Keri Lipperini, Director, Office of Nutrition and Health Promotion Programs 

Older Americans have been creating inventions and works of art since our country’s inception. Benjamin Franklin invented the bifocal lens at 78. Actress Rita Moreno has had a career spanning seven decades and currently stars in a Netflix series at 87. Grandma Moses started painting at 76. Every day, older adults put their heads, hearts, and hands into activities that make our communities better places to live.

With a lifetime of skills to draw upon, interests to explore, and goals to achieve, older adults build stronger, more vital communities through their creations. That’s why Create is the central element in our three-part theme for Older Americans Month (OAM) 2019: Connect, Create, Contribute. Celebrated each May and led by ACL, OAM is a time to celebrate the valuable contributions of older adults in our communities.

ACL applauds older adults who continue to create—and who inspire others to invest time and talents. We encourage everyone to explore their creative side through a wide range of activities, including:

  • Exploring educational opportunities
  • Planting a personal or community garden
  • Learning to paint
  • Studying a new language
  • Attending a workshop on financial planning or personal computers
  • Starting a new exercise program or take dance lessons

Many opportunities like this are available at your local senior center, and may be offered at a free or reduced rate. Older adults can also create a healthier lifestyle by participating in an evidence-based program. ACL supports the delivery of these meaningful programs across the country, with topic areas that include chronic disease self-management, falls prevention, physical activity, and mental health. Participants set meaningful goals, engage with and learn from their peers, and benefit from proven results. Find a program near you at the Evidence-Based Leadership Council website.

In Salisbury, MD, Shashi Joslie is creating a healthier life for herself and those around her. She exercises at the wellness gym at her local Area Agency on Aging, and has participated in several evidence-based programs. Shashi has been instrumental in recruiting participants to attend a Diabetes Self-Management Program workshop at her Hindu temple, and is currently working on getting a Stepping On workshop up and running. ACL applauds Shashi and others throughout the nation who are not only creating a healthier life for themselves, but encouraging, inspiring, and motivating others to create.

Setting goals, making plans, and attending to personal projects improve our physical and cognitive health. So, let’s get creative!

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