Nurturing Hope Through Older Americans Month

Hello friends and community,

I hope that this message finds you safe, sound and looking forward. I hope that you are making plans for the future, moving your body, and caring for yourself. I hope that you are nurturing hope in your life.

There’s so many lessons that I’ve been gifted from the many elders in my life, and nurturing hope is one that I hold close.

In the face of a lifetime of experiences, disappointments and stressors, there are elders in my life who still smile every day.  Elders who make time for rest, laughter, and connection with loved ones. 

I remember my clients who lived through the Great Depression and even though they struggled with anxiety and hoarding because when they were young there were times they didn’t have enough, they kept going and prioritized living this life. I think about the many clients we’ve served who lived through the height of the AIDS epidemic, who never thought that aging would happen for them, that it was a luxury not promised for everyone. 

I reflect on my grandparents who grew up poor and black in Oklahoma and Arkansas, how they have clung tight to ideals of justice and community engagement.  I see every day the impact of the way they’ve nurtured hope in their lives, raising children who would themselves become caring, intentional parents.  People who share their knowledge, perspective, and love with a wide network. 

We’ve lost much this year, and we’ve also gained much.  Older American’s Month for me is a time of personal reflection.  An opportunity to give thanks for the gift of our elders who have guided, supported, and been role models for what could be. An opportunity to grow closer in our relationships and not take each other for granted.  

Our stories as caregivers, LGBTQ+ people, and black and brown people navigating health and aging are stories of hope.

We are more than our tragedies, we are also our triumphs.

We are people who look out for others, who work to make the world a better place, who treasure our vulnerable and believe in wellness.  

As we turn towards spring, I’d like to encourage you to follow the lead of the older adults in your life and nurture hope.  Here’s some ideas for how to get started: 

  • Reach out to older adults in your life and spend meaningful time with them.  Ask to hear their stories and their perspective on the struggles you are having.  You may get just the reframe or comfort you’ve been needing. If you want to support an LGBTQ+ older adult, consider making a new friend through SAGEConnect
  • Take time for rest.  You’ve likely been keeping your normal pace in work and family obligations without enough time for rejuvenation.  Please take that vacation, turn your phone off, sleep well and often, and take moments throughout the day to breathe and get your needs met. If you struggle to rest, check out The Nap Ministry for inspiration. 
  • Grieve.  You may have grief from loss of loved ones, lack of normalcy or any of the million other ways life is different now.  Find a place for your grief, recognize it and move through it.  Grief and hope can co-exist, and we do ourselves a disservice when we ignore our sorrow. Here’s a blog on grief journaling from the Mindfulness and Grief Institute to get you started. 
  • Help someone!  This is the strategy I employ whenever I need a dose of hope.  I reach out to a friend, check in on an elder, volunteer, donate, and try to be of value.  It is incredibly effective in getting out of your own head and into a more light and productive space.  
  • Learn, stay curious about yourself and those around you. This is a time when many people are changing, making different decisions and exploring.  Nurturing hope reminds us that we can make decisions to live differently and try new things!

This Older Americans Month I invite you to live into the legacy of your elders. You are deserving of wellness, you are deserving of care. We’ve got a lot of ways to connect this month, and our weekly Instagram Lives at 5pm on Tuesdays are always a place for restoration and reflection, hope to see you there soon. 

If you want support to age well, or help a loved one to age well, please reach out to us here at The Care Plan.  We’re ready to explain your options, find resources, and help you claim quality of life.  Take good care of yourselves and each other and by all means - nurture hope in your life! 

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