Communities of Strength

Alicia Colombo

In tough times, communities find strength in people – and people find strength within their communities. In the past year, we’ve seen this in Philadelphia as friends, neighbors and businesses have found new ways to support each other.

Older adults are a key source of this strength. Through their experiences, successes and wisdom, they have built resilience that helps them to face new challenges. When communities tap into this resource, they become stronger, too.

Each May, the Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of Older Americans Month. This year’s theme, “Communities of Strength,” recognizes the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that builds strong, resilient communities.

Strength is built by bold acts, but also by the small acts of daily life: a conversation shared with a friend, working in the garden, trying a new recipe or enjoying a cup of tea on a busy day. When we share these activities with others – even virtually or by talking about the experience – we help them build resilience, too.

This year, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) will celebrate Older Americans Month by encouraging community members to share their experiences. (Email a brief essay to MilestonesNews@pcaCares.org with the subject “OAM.” Your story might be featured on PCA’s social media channels or in Milestones newspaper/e-news.)

Together, we can find strength – and create a stronger future. Here are some ideas:

  • Look for joy everyday: Celebrate small, ordinary pleasures by taking time to recognize them. Start a gratitude journal and share it with others via social media. You can also call a friend or family member to share a happy moment or just say thank you.
  • Reach out to neighbors: Even if you can’t get together in person, you can still connect with your neighbors. Leave a small gift on their doorstep, offer to help with outdoor chores or deliver a homecooked meal.
  • Build new skills: Learning helps you remain engaged and build resilience. Take an online course or try an outdoor class to enjoy learning with others. Have a skill to share? Find an opportunity to teach it to someone.
  • Share your story: Storytelling is a time-honored activity. Hearing how others experience the world helps us grow. Interviewing family, friends and neighbors can start new conversations and strengthen connections.

When people of different ages, backgrounds, abilities and talents share experiences – through action, story or service – we help build strong communities. Please join PCA in helping to strengthen Philadelphia’s older adult community.

Contact PCA for services or information to help older adults and people with disabilities in Philadelphia: 215-765-9040 (TDD for hearing impaired: 215-765-9041; toll-free outside Philadelphia: 888-482-9060) or pcaCares.org.


Source: Administration for Community Living

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